student speaking with counselor to find out how transferring colleges works

How does transferring colleges work?

Maybe you’ve decided to turn your two-year community college experience into a full bachelor’s degree. Maybe you’ve discovered your perfect career path but your current school doesn’t offer a compatible major. Maybe you’ve planned from the start to knock out core curriculum requirements at a less expensive community college before moving on to your more specialized coursework elsewhere. Whatever the reason you’re considering a college transfer, it’s important to understand how transferring colleges work.

Fortunately, you have numerous resources to help you along the way. While each student’s transfer experience will be unique to their circumstances, the general process will look similar to these steps.

3 Steps to Understand How Transferring Colleges Work

Determine Where You’re Going

Switching schools is not a casual decision. It will impact your time, your relationships, and your finances. It’s critical that you have a clear understanding of why you want to transfer and what it will do to advance your career after graduation. As you map out your goals and how you’ll reach them, you will determine many things that form the basis of your transfer process – which school is right for you? What degree program will you pursue? Will this cost more, the same, or maybe even less than your current tuition?

Do Your Research

Launching beyond your initial goal-setting steps, the bulk of the transfer process is a fact-finding and relationship-building endeavor. You’ve identified where you would like to finish your degree, and now it’s time to set the stage for transferring. Reach out to an admissions counselor and begin asking questions. Find out what their articulation agreements look like – if they do have an agreement with your current institution, it will make the rest of the process far easier. Ask if transfer students need an SAT score or ACT score as part of your application. Start discussing which college credits are transferable. The more you understand their admissions process and the required paperwork, the easier it will be to complete the transfer. Check out our Transfer Credit Guide to help determine what your coursework will likely transfer

Prepare to Transfer

Transfer applications are often quite different than what you completed when you first enrolled in college. You’ll have transcripts to gather and letters of recommendation to request. You may even need to fill out detailed syllabus reports on your completed course work to ensure you receive full credit, especially for more advanced or specialized courses. During all of this, you’ll likely need to complete financial paperwork and determine your housing options. The relationships you built with the admissions office will become important as you navigate these more technical aspects of the transfer process. Use your resources early and often.

Whatever your reason for transferring colleges, it’s a decision that thousands of other students make each year alongside you. There are plenty of online resources, but the most important tools you will find are the ones you develop for yourself. Developing a community of advocates who will help you and your transfer can be an exciting milestone in your journey instead of a stressful burden. After all, the goals and dreams you identified at the start of this process are worth the work it takes to achieve them.

When you’re ready, fill out this form and one of our Enrollment Advisors will help guide you through the transfer process.