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The College Transfer Process – A Four Step Guide

December 25, 2023 :: Admissionado Team

College Transfer Process | Admissionado

So college isn’t turning out exactly how you hoped, and you’re considering doing a college transfer. Maybe you thought you were a big city person, and it turns out you’re not. Maybe your college doesn’t have all the resources you need to achieve your new career goals. Maybe you’re just not gellin’ with the vibe at your current school.

There are lots of reasons why people choose to go through the college transfer process, but once you’ve made the decision to transfer, you’ve got quite a challenge ahead of you. Transferring isn’t easy, but we’ll walk you through everything you need to do to get you where you want to be.

Step 1 – The Decision to Transfer

Before you start that transfer application, make sure that you really want to transfer. Making the decision to transfer is not always easy. But here are three questions you can ask yourself to figure out if transferring is maybe the right way for you to go.

  1. What do I wish my current school had?
  2. Is there anything I thought I was going to love, but I actually hate?
  3. Have I given my school a fair chance?

Step 2 – The College Transfer Application

Once you’ve decided that you want to transfer, now you face the task of doing your college apps all over again. But also, transfer spots are even more competitive than freshman spots! But if you’re really committed to making the switch, not to worry. We’re going to break down this process, make it really easy to understand and throw in plenty of helpful tips along the way.

In this step we’ll talk about:

  • Making your school list
  • Putting together a timeline
  • The Application – transcripts and recommendations

The process of leaving your original university in between semesters or academic years shouldn’t be that difficult. Each university will have its own process, but a quick trip to the registrar’s office should provide you with the information that you need in order to get the process started. You may need to also contact your student loan provider to make sure they know that you’re transferring to a new university and not simply dropping out, to ensure that you don’t have to start making repayments. 

Additionally, it’s important to ask your school’s registrar what the process is for securing a certified or official transcript for the schools that you’ll be applying to as a transfer student. Sometimes obtaining an official transcript costs money, and some schools offer that service for free for up to a certain number of transcripts. 

Step 3 – The College Transfer Essay & Resume

After you’ve done your research and picked out a couple of schools and programs you’d like to target as a transfer student, it’s time to write your applications and your admissions essays. These will be the same essays that high school students are writing, save for what is known as the ‘Transfer Essay.’ Most major universities in the U.S. accept the Common Application or the Coalition Application, and both of those application systems are also used for transfer students. Both applications feature the same prompt for transfer students:

Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve. (650 words) 

This essay prompt can be tricky, and there’s a lot of pitfalls that transfer students can be tripped up on when addressing this prompt. These include being too negative about your previous school, not being honest about your reason for needing to transfer schools, and focusing too much on what you’ve done, instead of what you plan on doing in the future. The general outline of a good transfer essay will consist roughly of 25% of the essay focusing on an open and honest discussion of why you need to transfer to a new program, and 75% of the essay focusing on what your goals are for your new academic path, how you plan on achieving them, and how that academic path will lead you to success in your career goals. 

Three things we need to see in your college transfer essay:

  1. Positivity – Avoid negative sentences and take about what’s making you excited about applying to this new school rather than why you’re unhappy at your current school.
  2. Interests – Since you’ve had an entire semester of college to ponder this, the college transfer app is going to expect a much stronger stance on what you want to study.
  3. Show Your Growth – Recycling a freshman essay never works, no matter how good it was. The college transfer essay is all about what’s DIFFERENT between then and now.

Step 4 – After You Submit, What Now?

This video is going to talk about what happens after you’ve submitted all of those apps. You probably breathed a huge sigh of relief that all of that was done, but maybe you’re a little nervous to hear back from those schools. So let’s go over some questions you might be having right about now.

  • When will I hear back?
  • What if I didn’t get in?
  • Hey I got into some awesome schools. How do I decide which ones to go to?

We’ve talked a lot in these four videos about how the transfer process can sometimes seem even more overwhelming and stressful than the freshman process. As if that were possible, right? But no matter where you are, if you’re considering transferring or if you’ve already gone ahead and started the transfer common application, and you want a little help navigating the process, drop us a line, we’re around.

Happy Transferring!