Tips for the Transfer Admissions Process
Nearly one in three college students transfer at some point in their college career. If you’ve thought about your reasons for transferring and are still sold on the idea, here are some tips from our experts.
Research (and Soul Search)
Just as we encourage students applying to college for the first time to conduct extensive research on every school to which they are applying, research can be even more important for transfer students. Students who are embarking on the college admissions process must be able to convey why they want to attend a particular school. In addition to this, transfer students must stress the reasons why they want to transfer. You’ve already gone through this process once (and you don’t want to go through it again). Use your experiences at your current school to identify what you want (or don’t want) in your next school. Find out about the academic and social life. Research as much as possible, and try to visit if you can. It is highly unlikely you’ll be able to transfer again, so spend some serious time reflecting on how you feel about the schools to which you are applying.
Academics and Extracurriculars
With their eye on a new school, students who want to transfer may not feel motivated to keep up their grades and participation at their current school. It is imperative to get the best grades possible and maintain a consistently high level of participation in extracurricular activities and community service organizations! For the last semester(s) at your current institution pick rigorous classes with serious academic content (not “Juggling 101”). Try to select seminar-style courses with a small class size, so that you can develop good teacher relationships. You will need to ask at least one professor for a recommendation and the better you know him or her, the more personal and impactful that letter will be.
Your personal statement is vital to your transfer candidacy. It is critical that the admission officer knows that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve intellectually and socially and what makes their school the perfect match for you. Keep your tone upbeat and enthusiastic, which means focusing on what you love about the school you’re applying to. DON’T write about the things you dislike at your current school in the personal statement.
Many students inquiring about transfer admissions want to know if it is easier to be accepted as a transfer student than as a freshman. The rules and regulations pertaining to transfer applicants differ from college to college (and sometimes, from year to year), but it is usually a difficult process. Harvard University for instance, resumed its acceptance of transfer applicants in 2010 after a two-year hiatus. Yale University, one of the most selective schools in the country with an undergraduate acceptance rate of 7.35% last year, accepts even fewer students in the transfer pool (2-3%). Additionally, it is more likely that you will be able to transfer as a sophomore than as a junior or senior. Luckily, transfer applications are not usually due until March, so you have more time than a senior in high school.