College Transfer Guide

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by Staff Writer
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A variety of factors impact a student's journey toward earning a college degree. Life events may require switching from full-time to part-time status, taking time off, or transferring to another school or program. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 38% of students transfer at least once during their first six years of college.

It's common for students to transfer from a two-year community college to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree. In fact, nearly 40% of transfer students come from community colleges. Two-year schools typically offer more opportunities for underserved groups and less expensive tuition rates.

Also, community colleges may work with local universities to ensure credits transfer, which can save students valuable time and money. On average, transfer students in the U.S. lose about 13 credits when transferring to a new school. Depending on the college, this means students could lose more than $10,000 in tuition costs.

Why Do Students Transfer?

Students choose to transfer schools for a variety of reasons, including the following:

true Financial Reasons Some students begin school and then struggle to afford unexpected costs. This struggle leads some students to seek a more affordable option.
Degree Changes While many students enter college with a particular major in mind, they may experience a change of heart. If this happens, students may need to find a new school offering a major that aligns with their career goals.
Moving Away If students must relocate due to work, family, or military obligations, they may decide to transfer to a local college and avoid out-of-state tuition costs.
Online or Distance Learning Students sometimes transfer to move their learning online. Switching to online learning typically offers more flexibility and convenience. Some schools offer better online degree options.

What Are Common Transfer Paths?

College students transfer between schools for a variety of reasons. Common motivators include moving from a two-year program to a four-year program, changing majors, and other more personal factors. Whatever the reason, the good news is that today's college students have more educational options than ever before.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2019, there were 4,042 degree-granting institutions in the United States. This variability is nice, but the large number of schools means you have to plan carefully when considering a move between institutions. Understanding the transfer landscape is paramount. A good place to start is to take a look at the most common circumstances under which students decide to transfer.

Transitioning From Community College to a Four-Year University

Transferring from a two-year school to a four-year school is a common path for students. According to a 2017 report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 49% of students who completed a four-year degree in 2016 had attended a two-year school at some point in the past 10 years.

Many students choose to begin their college careers at two-year schools to save money, get a taste of college life, and/or make a more informed decision about their prospective major. Planning ahead is the key to making this a successful transition. Select courses that are most likely to transfer and count toward your bachelor's degree.

Switching Colleges

The most common reasons for transferring from one four-year institution to another four-year school include switching majors, financial burdens, personal circumstances, and seeking a better fit with a different school — especially in terms of the size of the institution and the surrounding community.

Because institutional strengths and programs vary so much, a change in majors may necessitate a change in schools. Almost one-third of college students switch majors at least once within their first three years. Before changing your major and your school, be sure to discuss credit requirements with advisors from your old and new institutions.

Transferring in the Military

Moving and interruptions in routines and schedules are part of military life, so students in the military may find themselves transferring colleges frequently. The GI Bill® provides substantial educational benefits for service members. The bill also allows students using these military benefits to attend more than one college or university at a time.

However, the classes you take at these institutions must all count toward your degree. The school that ultimately grants the degree must also accept these credits from other institutions.

Transferring as an International Student

International transfer students face the same challenges as those switching schools within this country, plus a few more.

Students with either an F-1 or M-1 visa may only transfer to schools certified by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, and M-1 students must do so within six months of arriving. Students transferring to the U.S. from abroad should review degree requirements and international credit and degree transfers.

Going Back to School

Leaving school is a difficult decision to make, but sometimes emergencies, job opportunities, or financial concerns mean students must step away temporarily. About 40% of students end up dropping out of college, and 30% of students leave before their sophomore year.

Fortunately, you can re-enter college if you decide to change your path later. Roughly 13% of students who leave college without graduating return within five years. If you do change your mind, verify the prerequisites of potential programs and determine if qualifying work experience can be substituted for some coursework to save on tuition costs.

Degree Completion Programs

A degree completion program lets students who left school before finishing a bachelor's degree return and take their remaining courses to graduate. Many schools offer completion programs, but students must typically possess a certain amount of college credits to qualify.

One key benefit of completion programs is that many allow students to transfer a larger number of eligible college credits than traditional programs. This policy typically reduces the courses students need to complete, which can save on tuition costs. Overall, degree completion programs cater to students pursuing a major identical/similar to their original choice.

How Is COVID-19 Affecting Transfer Students?

COVID-19 is impacting all facets of life, including attending college. While some colleges have already resumed in-person learning, many students still feel unsure about returning to campus and risking their health. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, overall fall enrollment is down 3.0% compared to 2019. Some of this decrease may be explained by a decades-long trend, but schools worry the pandemic will further reduce their student populations.

The good news is that many colleges are adapting to retain students by offering hybrid, online, and/or in-person learning options at reduced capacity. Additional efforts to bolster enrollment include adjusting transfer policies and increasing the acceptance rate of transfer students. In fact, 78% of colleges say they plan to increase recruitment of transfer applicants.

However, attempts to attract transfer students may result in poaching learners from community colleges. Some students may consider moving to a more prestigious school due to changes in policies. Experts say that instead of working against each other, schools should continue strengthening their partnerships to give students the opportunity to complete programs at two-year institutions and then transfer seamlessly to a university.

Additional options include taking a gap year or a leave of absence. A gap year means waiting a year to enroll. If you are already enrolled, you should contact an advisor to discuss your options. Students who are already attending school may be interested in pausing their studies by taking a leave of absence.

Overall, 90% of current students say they plan to continue pursuing a college education. Additionally, about 10% say they may transfer schools, 9% plan to take a gap year, and 2% plan on dropping out.

Why Is Accreditation Important When Transferring?

Prior to making the decision to transfer, it's important to confirm the accreditation of your current and prospective schools. Accreditation ensures a level of academic quality and public accountability for colleges.

Students considering transferring colleges should make sure each of their prospective schools are accredited. There may be serious repercussions for attending an unaccredited school, including the following:

  • Difficulty in transferring academic credits or getting into graduate school
  • Ineligibility for federal financial aid
  • Inability to obtain professional licensure or meet employment requirements

Beyond checking for accreditation, look up the accrediting agency to make sure it's not part of an accreditation mill (illegitimate accreditors). Although the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) do not directly conduct accreditation reviews, they both maintain lists of agencies they recognize as reputable.

The ED maintains a database that lists schools and programs accredited by legitimate agencies the federal government recognizes when awarding financial aid. The CHEA also provides directories students can use to look up accredited programs and institutions. Use these resources before transferring to vet a prospective school or program.

How Do I Transfer Schools?

Analyze your decision to transfer and conduct extensive research on schools.

If you decide transferring colleges is the right move for achieving your goals, you should first determine the features you want from your new program. Some factors to consider include academic quality, school size, cost, campus environment, and available resources or support systems.

Next, you must learn how to transfer credits to another college. It's important to work with both your current and prospective school to determine how many credits transfer and whether the credits will count toward your major. If not, you may incur extra costs.

Discuss educational goals with an advisor at your current school.

If you think transferring is your best option for achieving your goals but aren't sure, you should contact an advisor at your current school. They can help you sort through your questions/concerns and offer suggestions.

Another benefit of reaching out to an advisor is learning how to transfer college credits. They can help you fill out the correct forms, request transcripts, and provide information about possible transfer agreements the school holds with other institutions. This process may help you narrow down school choices and find an option that fits both your budget and educational goals.

Check for accreditation/articulation agreements and review application deadlines.

Another thing to consider when researching transfer opportunities is accreditation and articulation agreements. Schools with accreditation meet strict quality and educational guidelines. Also, a degree from an accredited institution is more prestigious to potential employers.

An articulation agreement is a formal agreement between colleges or universities to make the transfer process more simple for students. These agreements typically mean that more/all of your credits can transfer, which saves time and money.

Compile all paperwork needed for transferring between colleges.

The application process for a transfer student typically differs from the application process for a first-time college student. Many schools don't require standardized test scores for transfer students. However, they focus more on academic performance on your previous college coursework.

Request transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Verify whether a prospective school requires official or unofficial transcripts. Also, you should gather letters of recommendation to submit along with your application.

Connect with an admissions advisor at your prospective school.

After you establish your current school's transfer policies, you should reach out to an advisor at your prospective school. This gives you the opportunity to show them your unofficial transcripts and get information on what credits can transfer.

If you're considering a few prospective schools, you should reach out to an advisor at each of them. Understanding each school's transfer policies will help you select the best option.

Confirm transferable credits with the department offering your major and the admissions office.

The final step in weighing your college transfer options is contacting the department offering your major and the admissions office at your prospective school. The main reason for doing this is to confirm your transferable college credits. This process saves you time in the long run and helps you keep both yourself and prospective institutions accountable.

Weigh the pros and cons of switching colleges.

It's important to fully understand the benefits and setbacks of switching colleges. Potential pros for transferring include more affordable tuition rates, the ability to live at home and save on living expenses, and finding a program that better aligns with your goals.

The major con to transferring colleges is that some of your credits might not count toward your degree. This loss might mean taking additional courses, which costs more money and lengthens your completion time. Transferring colleges may also involve extra fees.

Begin applying to the school you've decided upon.

Every school's application process differs, but most require you to provide contact information, educational history, and other personal information. Additionally, you must typically submit unofficial or official transcripts from previously attended colleges.

You should also prepare to include a resume, letters of recommendation, and essays with an application. Response times vary depending on a school's application process.

Submit your application.

Once you submit your application you should turn your attention to deadlines and researching scholarship and financial aid opportunities. Being aware of deadlines allows you to know when you should hear back from schools, which makes it easier to prepare for possible start dates.

Taking the time to explore financing opportunities allows you to select the best option for your budget and begin the application process. You should also check in with your prospective school's admissions office to ensure they received your transcripts.

College Transfer Checklist

Will My Credits Transfer?

The primary academic concern for any student considering a transfer between schools should be "will my credits transfer?" The answer to this question is highly variable, so research is key. In general, transferring credits is simplest between public schools within the same state. These schools often maintain articulation agreements, which facilitate credit transfer and may even guarantee admission to students meeting specific requirements.

For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison maintains transfer agreements with several in-state partner institutions. Additionally, the California State University System maintains a website to show students how credits earned at one state school can transfer to another.

Checking to see if the school you want to transfer to has an articulation agreement with your current school is a great first step in determining if your credits will transfer. Use online tools to search for transfer agreements.

Regardless of the relationship between schools, remember that the power to accept or reject transfer credits always lies with the credit-receiving institution. Be sure to look specifically at policies surrounding course equivalency, transfers between course levels, and transfers between quarter and semester systems.

How Will My Credits Transfer?

Not all schools accept courses and credits in the same way, so it's important to consider how your prospective school addresses the following factors.

Course Equivalency

Colleges may accept transfer credits if they are direct equivalents. For instance, one school may accept an English 101 class from another school in lieu of its own English 101 class.

Conversely, another school might accept your composition class, but only as a general elective that counts toward the total credits you need to graduate. It's often simpler to transfer credits from general, lower-level classes than it is for more specialized, upper-level courses.

Course Level

It is usually much easier to transfer credits for basic courses, such as 100- and 200-level courses, than it is to transfer upper-level courses. For basic courses, direct course equivalency is more common.

Your new school might accept the credits for your upper-level courses but not count them toward your major, so you may have to retake them. If you have already completed several upper-level courses, check with prospective schools to see if they will accept them.

Quarter Versus Semester

Another factor to consider is whether a school runs on a semester system or a quarter system. While it's best to speak with a transfer counselor at the receiving school, you can estimate the value of transfer credits with the following formulas:

  • Convert quarter credits to semester credits by dividing quarter credits by 1.5.
  • 3 quarter credits / 1.5 = 2 semester credits
  • Convert semester credits to quarter credits by multiplying semester credits by 1.5.
  • 3 semester credits x 1.5 = 4.5 quarter credit.

How Do I Appeal My Transfer Credits?

Transfer credits may be denied outright or downgraded to general elective credits, even if the courses seem equivalent to those required at your new institution. If this happens, you are entitled to appeal. Institutions approach the credit transfer appeals process in varying ways, as demonstrated by this example from the State University of New York system.

Generally, these appeals processes require evidence of equivalency to overturn the admissions office's first decision. You must provide, among other materials, the following items:

Course materials Class descriptions Syllabi Examples of coursework Letters from professors or other authorities on the subject matter

It's important to stay organized and maintain your own records and materials, as this process can take some time to complete.

What Are Academic Residency Requirements?

Academic residency requirements dictate the minimum number of credits students must take at a school to receive a degree from that school. In some cases, they also mandate a certain amount of continuous residency on campus before graduation.

Academic residency requirements vary considerably from school to school. Most institutions specify the number of credits that must be earned on campus. Some also specify how many must be upper-level courses and/or within a student's major. Additionally, schools may limit the number of transfer credits they will accept.

The list below provides a few examples of the minimum academic residency requirements for a bachelor's degree:

Academic Residency Requirement Examples

Georgia State University: 39 credits in courses numbered 3000 or above earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA, as well as half of the major courses (or at least 11 credits in the major), must be completed at Georgia State.

Saint John Fisher College: At least 30 of the final 36 credits — and at least half of the coursework required by your major — must be completed at Fisher.

Wright State University: A minimum of 30 credits must be earned at Wright State, and at least 20 of these must be in courses numbered 3000 or above.

Benefits of Online Programs

Academic residency requirements have prompted many students to consider continuing their studies online, which has contributed greatly to the rapid growth of online programs. Many online programs provide an easy, streamlined process to transfer students.

How Does Residency Affect Tuition?

Students seeking new educational opportunities may consider out-of-state schools, but out-of-state tuition is generally far more expensive at public institutions. According to the College Board, the average annual tuition at an in-state public four-year institution was $10,440 during the 2019-20 academic school year. Conversely, the national average for out-of-state tuition at these schools was $26,820.

One way to ease the burden of out-of-state tuition is to consider online programs; many of these programs charge all distance learners the same rate. Distance learning allows you to choose from schools across the country without worrying about commuting and finding housing. You may also be able to finish your degree faster, since online programs tend to offer more flexibility.

Alternatively, if you're drawn to a program or major only offered in another state, consider establishing residency there. According to FinAid, eligibility for in-state tuition usually requires at least one year of residency without taking any classes.

If you're a "dependent" student and receiving substantial financial support from your parents, at least one of your parents must have lived in that state for a year. To qualify as an "independent" student, you must demonstrate two years of self-sufficiency and state residency.

How Does Transferring Affect Financial Aid?

Transfer students have a number of concerns. They may worry about graduating on time or losing financial aid. However, with careful planning, transfer students can stick to their original graduation timeline while still pursuing financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of their education.

Unique Challenges

Transfer students often have problems transferring credits between universities, particularly when switching from a community college to an out-of-state four-year school. Still, students who make long-term education plans, earn transferable credits, and work diligently to pass each class can graduate on time.

Transfer students worried about whether their financial aid will carry over to their new school should also know that most students who receive aid through the FAFSA typically receive similar federal funding at their new college. However, individual scholarships and university-specific aid vary on a case-by-case basis.

FAFSA Renewal

You only need to complete one FAFSA per year. If you transfer during the spring semester, the information you list still applies for your new college. If you transfer during the fall, you need to fill out a new FAFSA form.

Your new school calculates your student aid qualifications based on your FAFSA results and may award a similar financial aid package as your previous college. Some forms of aid, such as work-study funding and Perkins Loans, are nontransferable. Your aid may also change based on what you received during the previous semester or if your new school is substantially less expensive than your previous college.

Your portion of college costs remains the same regardless of changes in your aid. If you lose aid as a transfer student, you may need to pay the difference. To update your FAFSA during a spring transfer, simply change the federal school code on your form.


One prominent source of stress for transfer students is their loans and how they are affected by a transfer. Federal student loans do not transfer directly between colleges.

You may lose certain loans that you received at your previous school, such as Perkins Loans. Additionally, if you move from a four-year school to a two-year program, your eligibility for subsidized Stafford Loans may decrease substantially. If you receive private loans, you may need to fill out deferment forms or school certifications to continue receiving those funds.

When you leave a college, some of your outstanding student loans may enter a "grace period." Occasionally, you might be required to start paying those loans back quite soon — sometimes within six months. Fortunately, if you immediately transfer to a new college, you may be eligible to apply for an in-school loan deferment. This deferment allows you to delay all loan repayments until you leave school.

Scholarships and Grants for Transfer Students

Transfer students may lose some of their scholarships if they switch schools. Notably, school-specific scholarships cannot shift to your new college. If you received your scholarship from an outside foundation or community group, you may be able to transfer those awards to your new college.

That said, there are many scholarships available to transfer students. Most scholarship applications require you to submit an essay and your school transcripts. Some may require you to demonstrate financial need, while others may ask you to highlight your achievements in art, sports, leadership, and/or public service. Many scholarships also require a letter of recommendation from an advisor or mentor.

College grants are funds that students receive free of charge, with no condition of repayment. To receive college grants from the government, students must apply by submitting the FAFSA. Grants are not scholarships.

While scholarships are typically awarded based on academics, athletics, or some form of achievement, grants are dispensed based primarily on financial need. Grants are also available to students participating in military-sponsored programs and students in STEM and healthcare fields.

Students are not limited to the grants provided by the government. Many colleges, businesses, and other private and public organizations offer grants to reduce the burden of tuition.

The list below describes a few of the scholarships available to transfer students. Learners should check with their transfer schools and local organizations to find additional scholarship and grant opportunities.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Applicants must be current students at an accredited US community college or other two-year institution with plans to enroll full time in a baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university the following year. Students must also have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale, and need to demonstrate significant unmet financial need. They cannot have previously enrolled at or attended a four-year institution.

Award Amount: up to $40,000 per year

View Scholarship

Tau Sigma Scholarships

Who's Eligible? Available to transfer students who join Tau Sigma, a fraternity specifically for college students who transfer to a four-year college. Students can join Tau Sigma if they display exemplary academic performance in their first semester at their transfer school. Students can apply for the scholarship in the fall, after joining Tau Sigma. Each Tau Sigma chapter selects a member to nominate for the award.

Award Amount: $500 - $3500

View Scholarship

AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer School

Who's Eligible? Students who have completed an associate degree in business, accounting, finance, or economics and who plan to major in accounting at a four-year college are eligible. Applicants must have earned a 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale.

Award Amount: $5,000

View Scholarship

New York Transfer and Articulation Association Transfer Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Students who earned an associate degree at any NYSTAA two-year college, with a 3.5 GPA or better, are eligible.

Award Amount: $1,000

View Scholarship

Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Applicants must be enrolled at a two-year college and have completed two courses in geography. They must also plan to attend a four-year school as a geography major.

Award Amount: $1,500

View Scholarship

Guistwhite Scholarship

Who's Eligible? To be eligible, students must be active members of Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honor society for two-year college students. They must have completed 30 semester college level credits at a junior college in the past five years, with a GPA exceeding 3.5. Only prospective transfer students are eligible.

Award Amount: $5,000

View Scholarship

Priscilla Carney Jones Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Applicants must be transferring to a four-year college as a junior or senior; the award is for students planning to major in chemistry or a related field. Only students with a GPA above 3.25 will be considered.

Award Amount: $1,500

View Scholarship

New England Transfer Association Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Students must be on track to earn an associate degree from an NETA 2-year school with at least a 3.25 GPA. They must also plan to transfer to an NETA-affiliated four-year college.

Award Amount: $1,000

View Scholarship

Scholarships for Community College Transfers

META Scholarships

Who's Eligible? Students enrolled in two-year colleges are eligible if they plan to pursue a bachelor's degree from a four-year university. Applicants must be U.S. Citizens of Hispanic origin, and have earned a 3.00 GPA or better.

Award Amount: $500 to $7,500

View Scholarship

Hites Transfer Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Students must be part of Phi Theta Kappa and be planning to transfer to a four-year college. Applicants need a 3.5 GPA or better and must be enrolled in a community college.

Award Amount: $7,500

View Scholarship

The Community College Graduate Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Community college students who can demonstrate financial need are encouraged to apply. Applicants must have earned an associate degree from a community college with a 2.5 GPA or better.

Award Amount: Up to $25,000

View Scholarship

Other Ways to Save

Be Careful About Timing

Timing your transfer properly can help ensure that all of your credits transfer successfully. Some programs may require transfer students to bring in a minimum number of credits — usually 2-3 years' worth. Alternatively, because most schools put a limit on the number of credits you can transfer, transferring too late may mean that you cannot transfer all of your hard-earned credits.

Articulation Agreements

Find out if your current school maintains transfer articulation agreements with any colleges that might be a good fit. Transfer articulation agreements guarantee that students can transfer credits between schools. Attending one of these schools ensures that you won't lose credits you've already paid for.

Pick a Major

Before you transfer, choose your major. Transferring requires careful planning, and you should map out your long-term plans before you switch schools. It's difficult to make these kinds of plans when you don't know what degree you want. If you go into your transfer school without a defined plan, you may prolong your timeline to graduation.

Skip Pricey Dorm Living

Transfer students can save money by avoiding dorms and cafeteria meal plans. Living with family can be a huge relief to your finances. If you are looking for off-campus housing, start your apartment hunt early to maximize your chances of finding economical housing nearby.

Stay Aware of Timelines

Many federal and state financial aid programs have strict time limits for eligibility. For example, Pell Grants only provide aid for 12 semesters of college. Stay mindful of these time limits and be sure to take as many credits as you can within your period of eligibility.

Interview With an Admissions Counselor

Diane Kahle earned her BS in communication from Clarion University in 1992. She has been an admissions counselor since 1999. Diane has been working with the transfer student population since 2002. Diane travels around Pennsylvania to visit community colleges and has been a member of the Western Pennsylvania Transfer Advisory Council since its inception. The Advisory Council is made up of transfer counselors from the western Pennsylvania state schools and community colleges.

How has the coronavirus impacted transfer students? Is your school taking any action in response to this?

What we've seen at Clarion University is that our applications have decreased through the pandemic. In talking with my colleagues at the community colleges, they have found that their students who were ready to move on to four-year schools have pulled back a little due to the pandemic. When they normally would have applied to a number of schools, they ended up looking at only the "safe" one close to home.

One step that we took here at Clarion in response to that was to look at the students who had withdrawn their files for the 2020 academic year. We reached out to those who lived an hour away from our location with information about reactivating their original application to allow them to transfer back closer to home.

In general, do you see more transfer students coming in from two-year colleges or other four-year universities?

Keeping in mind that our closest community college is one hour away, we see 40% of our transfer students coming from two-year schools and 60% coming from four-year schools.

Does your school have a limit on how many transfer students are accepted each year? How selective is admission for transfer students?

There is no limit to the number of transfer students that we can admit with the exception of our nursing programs, of course.

Do transfer students still graduate on time?

Yes. Our transfer students have success with graduating on time.

What are students' main concerns when it comes to transferring colleges?

When I speak with them, I find their main concern is, "will my credits transfer?" I try to educate them to ask, "how will my transfer credits apply to my degree?" instead, since that is the real question that they should be asking.

What are the first steps you recommend a student take who is planning to transfer schools?

Having been a transfer student myself many, many years ago, I tell those who are thinking of transferring to reach out to the schools that they are interested in to inquire about a preliminary evaluation of credits.

Basically, I think these students should "shop" their colleges to see how their credits would be received and even just simply how the staff treats them through the shopping process. After all, how you are treated as a shopper provides insight into how you'll be treated as a matriculant.

Is it expensive to transfer colleges? Are there financial aid options specifically for transfer students?

No. I don't think it has to be expensive to transfer. If a student does some legwork with requesting preliminary evaluations then, when the time comes, they only need to apply to one school paying one application fee.

Financial aid options like grants and loans are standard for the transfer student. Some schools like Clarion can also offer transfer student scholarships to help cover costs. Again, students shopping for a new school can learn who has scholarships available, and this can become part of the decision of where to ultimately apply.

What mistakes do you see students make when transferring schools?

As I mentioned above, I see them asking if their credits will transfer. That isn't really what they need to know, though, because the credits may all end up as free electives. They need to ask how the credits will apply to the degree that they seek.

Is it easy to appeal transfer credits and how often are appeals accepted?

At Clarion, the appeals process is very easy. Students just need to reach out to the dean of their college to get the process started. Typically, the faculty want to see a syllabus for additional information about the topics covered in the course in question and then reevaluate.

Anything else students should know about transferring colleges?

I think it is important for these students to make a physical visit to campuses to help find their fit.

More Frequently Asked Questions

I've taken time off. Am I still considered a transfer student?

That depends on whether you plan to enroll at a school you have previously attended. Often, when students have taken time off from college and then start taking classes again, they are considered "returning" students, particularly if they go back to the same institution.

"Transfer students" are students who have previously attended a different college or university and hope to attend a new school.

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Requirements for transfer students and declaring a major vary between institutions. For example, the University of California, Santa Cruz requires junior students to declare their majors by the second quarter, while the University of Florida requires students to declare a major when they apply.

Is it easier to transfer to a school than be admitted right out of high school?

There is a great deal of similarity between the application process for transfer students and incoming first-year students. However, since transfer students have already been through the process at least once, they may be more comfortable with it.

Some schools may require a lower grade point average for students who are switching colleges than they do for those right out of high school. However, some schools accept a lower percentage of transfer student applicants than first-year applicants.

Do schools only accept a certain amount of transfer students a quarter/semester/year?

It is possible to transfer schools midyear, but to do so you need to start the process in October. However, most students transfer schools at the beginning of the year.

Are there prerequisites for transfer students?

All colleges and universities maintain their own standards and prerequisites for accepting students who are transferring colleges. You should review the admission requirements at all the schools you're considering.

I previously applied to the school I want to transfer to. Do I need to apply again?

When you're transferring colleges and applying to different schools, you need to follow each school's application process exactly. This rule also applies when sending documents and letters of recommendation.

Is standardized testing required for transfer students?

The more college courses you've completed successfully, the less interest a prospective school will take in your standardized test scores. Some schools may request your ACT or SAT scores in addition to your college grades, but your grades are more important.

If I don't meet all of the requirements for transfer, should I bother?

College admissions officers consider many different variables when evaluating potential students, including an applicant's standardized test scores, GPA, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and demographic factors.

Some colleges and universities offer special programs for students who do not meet their standard admission requirements. Additionally, many community colleges offer remedial programs to help improve students' ability to handle college coursework and improve their GPAs.

Additional Resources


he transfer guidebook provided by the NCAA offers vital information for college athletes who want to transfer.


CollegeBoard offers a great guide for students transferring from a two-year school to a four-year college, complete with informational videos.


This website allows you to map out possible degree-completion routes to determine the feasibility, convenience, and price of different options.


Transferology helps students determine how many credits they can transfer to a new school. It also helps students find replacement courses they can take to earn the credits they need.


Transferweb is an online hub for students looking to share and receive advice and feedback about every stage of the transfer process.


This site hosts a collection of blog articles written by transfer students recounting their experiences and offering advice to other students who are considering a transfer.

Many community college students plan to transfer to a four-year college, but few succeed. Closing the transfer gap is critical to closing opportunity gaps. If you are enrolled in college or trade school and looking to transfer, read this guide to determine the best way to transfer credits. Prospective students and their parents need manageable college savings plans. Learn more about your options when it comes to funding your education. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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