Students often come to us asking, “Is transferring colleges hard?” This is not surprising. Transferring colleges can be an intimidating process for many first-time college students. It can involve a lot of paperwork, for example, and time to acclimate to changes in schedules, scenery, and social circles. As with any change, transferring colleges requires adjustment. However, it can be an incredible move for students who are unhappy or unable to continue in their current school.
Transferring colleges is a major decision, but it is not uncommon. According to one national survey, 38 percent of first-time college students transfer schools within their first six years. The U.S. Department of Education also reports that, among students enrolled in four-year institutions, one-quarter will transfer at some point during their college career. It may sound farfetched to you, but it happens all the time! Barack Obama, Warren Buffet, and George Lucas all transferred colleges, too, and found great success after making this choice. Just because something sounds hard, doesn’t mean it should hold you back—especially on a change that could pave the way to a bright future ahead.
Transferring colleges can be a hard adjustment, but it does not have to be. As you consider making the switch to a new college or university, there are ways to ease the process and make the most of the transfer experience. Here is what you should know about the transfer process for college students.
7 Tips for Transferring Colleges with Ease
- Stay focused as you wrap up your current coursework.
On average in the United States, the acceptance rate for transfer students in 66%, compared to 62% for first-time college students. Some schools will even actively seek out transfer students. However, you can boost your chance of acceptance even further by ensuring that you stay focused in your current classes. Even though you are planning to transfer, your grades still matter. In fact, the most important factors for transfer student admission are overall GPA (at your current school) and average grades in any transferable courses.
- Before choosing a college, make sure your credits will transfer.
Before finalizing your decision to transfer colleges, be sure to ask your prospective school about their transfer equivalencies. You will want to go in knowing that some of your previous education – and investment – will carry over to your new program. This can help lessen the overall time you’ll need to spend in the new school, and help you to complete your degree even faster.
Transfer processes and equivalencies vary by institution. At Goodwin University, most of your prior credits will never expire. We want you to get the most out of your investment in school, so many of your fundamental math, English, and communications classes can be applied to your new course of study, as long as they were completed with a grade of ‘C’ or higher. Possible exceptions to this include some science and technology courses, as those fields are constantly evolving. Note that Goodwin also accepts transfer credits from other, college-level learning experiences such as professional development and training settings, as well as job and volunteer pursuits.
- Check off any general education requirements ahead of time.
Knowing that many of your current courses will carry over to your new school, take advantage of your time there by completing any remaining general education requirements. These courses will most often transfer to your college of choice, and will allow you to enter your new school with a newfound career-focus. You will have completed your general prerequisites, and will be ready to take on career- and degree-focused coursework that is directly applicable to your major. This can also cut down the time needed to complete your degree.
If you are close to obtaining an associate degree, consider finishing that program before transferring to another college, too. As quoted by U.S. News, “It’s always advisable to complete the (Associate of Arts or Associate of Science) prior to transfer so that you obtain the degree and credentials to advance to the next level… By completing the AA, general education requirements are met which may also help to reduce excess hours and provide a more seamless pathway to a bachelor’s degree.”
- Research application requirements for the school and the degree program of interest.
Many students assume that being admitted into a college, and admitted into a degree program, are one in the same. The truth is, there are certain programs that require their own application processes or prerequisites. This is especially common for health and science fields. As you research prospective schools, ask about their admissions process and about your program of interest. Are there separate requirements you must fulfill for each? Is there room in your program of interest, or a waitlist for enrollment? Asking these questions ahead of time can help save you time and frustration after the transfer decision is made.
- Choose a college that has experience with transfer students.
While transferring colleges can be challenging, the right school will make the process as seamless as possible for you. Colleges and universities with a high population of transfer students are more likely to have a smooth transfer process, simply due to their experience over the years. At Goodwin, for example, more than half of our student body has transferred here from other schools. With this, we are well-versed in transferring credits, reviewing transcripts, evaluating prior experiences, and aiding students through the entire transfer process.
You can find information for our transfer students here.
- Ask about scholarships.
As a transfer student, you may still be eligible for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. Certain foundations and organizations, in fact, offer scholarships for transfer students specifically. Institutional aid, from your college of choice, may also be available. Be sure to chat with a financial aid counselor about your options and ways to offset the cost of tuition. You can learn about financial aid at Goodwin University here.
- Get involved with your college of choice.
Once you decide which school is the right one for you, make an effort to get involved in some way. Whether you’re living on campus or enrolled in a fully online program, there are ways you can get involved with your new school. For example, don’t hesitate to get involved in internships or experiential learning opportunities. Join study groups or network with other students in your cohort. Ask your professors or academic counselor about ways to enhance your new college experience, so that you can integrate socially as well as academically.
Does It Take Long to Transfer Colleges?
While the transfer process can be intimidating, it does not need to take long. At Goodwin University, we can evaluate your prior learning typically in less than one business day. Simply send an unofficial copy of your transcript to our admissions team. We will then schedule a face-to-face review of your prior learning, give you an idea of which credits will transfer, and help you apply if and when you’re ready. Your unofficial transcript is sufficient for you to enroll and register for your first semester courses. However, you mut provide an official transcript from your prior college in order to officially transfer credits into Goodwin.
Once you are enrolled and your credits are officially transferred, you will be on your way to completing your desired degree! Transfer students do have the ability to complete their bachelor’s degree within four years, though this ultimately depends on each student’s individual learning experience. At Goodwin, we offer three semesters per year, allowing students for even faster degree completion.
Are you ready to get started? Find out why Goodwin University is a top destination for transfer students seeking a career-focused education. Contact us at 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.