How to Prepare for a Successful College Transfer

You may be surprised but the rates for incoming transfer students aren’t far off the number for incoming freshman at four-year institutions. Per the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the rates were 62.6% (transfer students) and 64.7% (incoming freshman) for the collegiate year 2012–2013. So, if you are currently in a two-year program and want to move to a four-year school that may have greater opportunity or want to change to a school that has a better program for your major, don’t worry. Opportunities are better than you think. Below are some tips that we believe will help you prepare for your transition.

  • Some schools are more attractive for specific majors. Look at U.S. News & World Report for schools that do well in your chosen major.
  • Don’t think a school is out of reach. The NACAC (2013) reports that approximately 58% of four-year schools depend on transfer students as part of their recruitment strategy.
  • The process to transfer may not be quick and simple. Don’t wait to start. Target your schools, reach out to the admissions office at these schools and then get help from an advisor or professor. Most school admissions will request recommendations and a current transcript.
  • Don’t think you won’t be able to pay for a four-year school. Scholarships and grants are available for transfer students. The Jack Kent Cook Foundation gives full scholarships to 85 transfer students a year. And a fair amount of schools, 53% (NACAC, 2013), have dedicated grants for transfer students. There are also private loans, like Sixup’s, available for students just like you to help fund your remaining financial gap.
  • Review your current school’s articulation agreement to make sure your classes from your community college will transfer to your new school.
  • Attend orientation at your new school. About 71.2% of four-year schools have a separate orientation for transfer students. These orientations are typically smaller and more personal so it’s a great way to meet other students like you, current students and faculty.
  • Try to live on campus and get involved. Living on campus is part of the experience. See if there is a dorm for transfer students or one that houses several. There’s also a world of knowledge waiting for you to absorb and participate in. Don’t waste your free time. Go to an on campus artistic event or watch a school sports game. There is probably a club or event on campus for any interest you have.
  • Go to the career center and get the resources you need to access your dream job. As a transfer student, you are likely closer to your career and more along your path than other incoming students. Build relationships with the career counselors who can help you land that special internship.
  • Lastly, have fun! This is one of the greatest periods of your life.
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