To Transfer, or Not to Transfer?


At this time of year, many students who are dissatisfied with their current college approach us for help with transferring to a school that is a better fit. For many, the process can be confusing and daunting, as it differs substantially from the regular college application process.

At what point in the college career can students transfer?

Students can transfer during their freshman or sophomore years. It is important to know that your college record matters much more than your high school record. Sometimes it might make sense for a freshman who wants to transfer to wait for a semester or two to build up the high GPA and extracurricular activities that will make him or her more appealing to targeted transfer schools, rather than try to apply based on high school grades and a single semester’s worth of college grades and accomplishments.

When is the time to start preparing?

Now! Transfer applications are due in March and April, and they will require letters of recommendation, high school and college transcripts, essays, and other documents that you will have to produce and organize. Colleges are seeking smart, purposeful students who will be a good fit for their campus environment, so it is essential to prepare thoughtful essays explaining your reasons for transferring and why you would excel at the new college.

How is transferring different from my college application process?

Transfer admissions are in many ways more difficult than the regular college admissions process. You need to make a compelling case as to why the transfer school would be a better fit while remaining upbeat and positive about your college experience to date. Additionally, transfer will place much more weight on your classes and grades from college, and less on your high school grades, so your more recent academic record needs to be as good or better than your high school one. Finally, you will need strong letters of recommendation from professors at your current school, so going to office hours and building relationships with faculty will be important.

Ivy Link advises students on transfer admissions, including helping with strategy and all aspects of the application process. To set up a consultation, please e-mail or call 1-888-844-4439.

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