Transferring institutions involves many factors and procedures. Breaking down the college transfer process into small, manageable steps can make transferring easier and much less stressful.
1. Consider why you are transferring
Take time to write down factors that led to transferring. Are you needing to relocate? Have you completed a 2-year degree and are looking to continue your education? Does your current institution not fit your needs? Are there external factors requiring you to find another institution? Understanding and reflecting on why you are transferring and transitioning to a new campus can assist you in selecting the best fit.
2. Find colleges that align with your needs
Make a checklist using the factors you wrote down for why you are transferring. There are lots of resources, including articles in Transfer Times, that can assist you in finding the college(s) that fit your needs. Read through a list of factors to consider when selecting a transfer institution and/or check out how you can use social media to compare colleges.
3. Understand the admission guidelines
Admission guidelines are typically listed on the college’s Admissions Office webpage. These guidelines are important to know, as colleges vary in the minimum requirements for admission. Additionally, meeting the minimum requirements may not guarantee admission. Connect with an admission’s counselor to learn if you are a competitive candidate. If you do not meet a college’s requirements, ask how to become a stronger candidate for admission. The sooner you reach out to the Admissions Office, the more time you will have to make yourself more competitive.
4. Visit campus
Do not wait until after you apply to contact admissions or other resources at your prospective institutions. You may have gathered a lot of information online about your school of choice, but a campus visit can be very beneficial. As soon as you are considering transferring – reach out! Meet with an admissions counselor to learn more about the college. Some questions you might consider asking include:
- What are the guidelines to be considered for admission?
- If you do not meet the admission guidelines, what steps can you take to become eligible for admission?
- Will your credits transfer?
- If you are earning an associate’s degree, will it waive your general education requirements?
- When do applications open?
- Is there an application deadline?
5. Talk with an academic advisor
After learning more about the admission guidelines and timeline, talk with an academic advisor at institution to learn more about your academic program and/or academic opportunities. You can ask the advisor questions, such as:
- Are there classes you can take at your current institution that will count towards degree requirements?
- What are the graduation requirements for your intended program of study?
- What resources are available for exploring/undecided students?
- What would a sample degree plan look like based on the courses you have already completed?
6. Apply (EARLY!)
Find out when applications open and apply as early as possible. This will give you time to receive an admissions decision, and, if accepted, allow ample time to complete any other necessary steps, such as applying for available scholarships, registering for classes, signing up for housing, etc.
7. Read through your admissions materials
Most, if not all institutions, will send supplemental materials along with your admission letter. These may be mailed, emailed, or both. Keep an eye out for these mailings and read through the information thoroughly. Typically, these materials will give instructions on important next steps to take.
8. Talk with an academic advisor, again
Since you have been a college student before, the registration process will likely feel familiar. However, each institution operates differently. It is important to meet with an academic advisor to ensure you register for the appropriate coursework for your intended academic program.
9. Attend transfer orientation
Many institutions offer an orientation program for new transfer students. This is a great opportunity to meet with advisors and/or faculty, register for classes, and meet other students transferring to the institution. Starting at a new college can be a big adjustment. Connecting with other students to share this experience with can be beneficial and assist in a successful transition.
10. Arrive to your new campus for classes
Once you arrive to campus, take time to meet other students and get involved. Most importantly, though, be sure to take a moment to celebrate your success. You have accomplished a major milestone and are only a few steps away from another – a bachelor’s degree.