10 Things You Need to Know Before You Transfer to a New College

College can be love at first sight… or hate at first sight. For many students, transferring to a new school is the only way to ensure their ultimate college success. If you find yourself daydreaming about other campuses, consider these 10 things in making your decision to become a transfer student:

1. You’re in good company.

According to a study released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) in 2010, about one in three students who enroll in either a two- or four-year college will transfer colleges at some point. It’s proof that college transfers are on the rise – more than half the colleges surveyed saw transfer enrollment increases, including 72 percent of public schools and 45 percent of private schools.

2. You can be selective.
In today’s economy, colleges want your business. Because of this, you have the freedom to apply to multiple schools and compare credit transfer policies and costs. And although community college students have typically transferred to public universities, private schools are now recruiting community college transfer students as well. The overall average acceptance rate for transfer students is 64 percent.

3. You can reapply.
You may be able to gain acceptance to a school even if you were rejected for freshman admission. Some schools may have even held on to your freshman application, which means you won’t need to resubmit documents like high school transcripts and test scores. On the flip side, having been accepted for freshman admission does not guarantee that you’ll be accepted as a transfer student.

4. College grades matter more than your high school grades.
According to the NACAC survey, grades in prior college courses are the most important factor in transfer admissions decisions at both public and private schools. Of course, your grades in transferable courses matter most.

5. You must be proactive about securing transfer credits.
Some schools make themselves attractive by maximizing the transfer credits they accept. You may even be able to submit your transcripts before you apply and to get a sense of how many of your credits will transfer, and how they will transfer to a particular degree program.

6. The timing of your application may be flexible.
Most students apply for transfer admission in March and enroll in the fall of their sophomore or junior year. And many schools require that transfer students be enrolled in their institution for at least two years and obtain a minimum number of credits there (e.g., 60) to receive a degree.

7. You may be eligible for a transfer admission guarantee.
The University of California (UC), for example, offers a transfer admission guarantee (also known as articulation agreement) to California community college students who meet specific requirements for entry into one of the four-year UC campuses. In fact, this is the case with many state schools across the country. If your school does not offer a transfer admission guarantee, ask if it maintains any transfer admission agreements, which community colleges regularly sign with four-year schools.

8. You may be eligible for a transfer scholarship.
According to the NACAC survey, 77 percent of colleges reported that they provide merit scholarships for transfer students. The smallest institutions were more likely than medium and large schools to offer scholarships.

9. Some schools help to ease the transition more than others.
Western Illinois University, for example, developed a Transfer Year Experience (TYE) to help transfer students adjust to a new school and connect to the community. Each month, TYE students at the Macomb, IL school can take part in educational sessions as well as community-building activities such as movie and game nights, social justice programming, and recreational activities.

10. A college transfer should not hurt your job prospects.
Most employment applications focus on your ultimate school; you don’t even need to mention your original school on your resume if you don’t want to. The college where you earned your degree is the one that matters most. Best of luck in your college transfer!