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Want to transfer colleges? Explore these top considerations

This article was written by former Summer Bridge Member, and College Possible Texas student, Amunique Swan. Amunique is currently receiving her BBA in Economics and Public Policy at The George Washington University.

According to a 2017 Government Accountability study, 1 in 3 students transfer at some point in their higher education journey. Transferring can be somewhat of a tedious process, and depending on your motivation for leaving the school, it can be deterring. But whether you are trying to escape a hideous school mascot or trying to find more diversity, these steps will get you on the right track to transfer to the college that you desire.

I transferred during my second semester of college. I went to a school that I knew was not the right fit for me, but I was afraid to leave the state too soon, so I stayed in my home state for a semester. Throughout my first semester in college, I kept thinking about the school that I wanted to go to, and I decided to put a transfer plan in motion. Here are some tips I have based on my experience.


Confirm your decision

I decided pretty early on that I wanted to transfer. I knew that I wanted to attend college out of state. Because I decided quickly, I had more time to take the necessary steps for transferring. It is helpful to know when you want to transfer so that you have more time to plan, while still meeting your dream school’s transfer deadlines. The College Forward’s College Search Tool is a great place to compare schools.


Write down why you want to transfer

Initially, I attended a very small school, and the culture was very close-knit and high school-esque. While that suited me at the time, I knew that I would eventually want to attend a larger university with more diversity. In fact, a larger university was one of the top reasons I wanted to transfer.

Ask yourself questions like “Why do I want to transfer?” and “Is the school I want to transfer to the right fit for me. Ask yourself questions like “why do I want to transfer and is the school I want to transfer to the right fit for me.”er to the right fit for me.” College Forward covers how to find your best fit school in this resource. 

Taking the time to think through why you want to transfer will make it easier for you to pinpoint your next move. What you write down can also be a great motivator as you are completing your time at your current college/university. Personally, every time I felt down or out of it,  I kept daydreaming about what my time at my next school would be like.

But if the college that you transfer to will not take all of your credits, don’t be deterred. You can petition for the credit through the process that the school has laid out.


Research what classes will and won’t transfer

Suppose you’re looking to transfer between Texas schools. You can see what courses will transfer on this website; click the Texas Core Curriculum (TCC) tab, and it will take you to the list of classes that most Texas schools will take in transfer credits. Contact the school to ensure that your courses will transfer, as colleges may have different requirements. Ask if you should obtain a syllabus from the class or keep any of the work you submitted for the course so the school can ensure that it is up to their standards.


Take some of the general education classes that your current university offers

Usually, colleges require you to take classes that are a repeat of your last year of high school. These courses are to prepare you for the more specific ones in your degree program.

Once you’ve done your course transfer research, use that information to take the appropriate courses. Taking these courses at your current university could alleviate some problems for you (especially if classes are cheaper at your current school).

Students who transfer find that 40 percent of the credits they’ve accumulated at their first institution don’t count toward graduation at the transfer institution. Different schools have different requirements for the credits they accept, so it’s best to take similar courses across the board. But if the college that you transfer to will not take all of your credits, don’t be deterred. You can petition for the credit through the process that the school has laid out. You can do this by contacting the advising department at the school you wish to transfer.

Taking the time to think through why you want to transfer will make it easier for you to pinpoint your next move.


Choose a School That Has a Degree Program That Is Right for You/ Compare Potential Schools.

When you are transferring, it is imperative that you research programs that you are interested in pursuing. This is your second shot at choosing a college, and you want to make sure you are making a choice that will fit your interests. Each college has a unique spin on a program, and there are different requirements between each school.

Choosing a transfer school is similar to choosing your school right out of high school. I recommend researching the rigor that the program requires, the percentage of students who graduate from the program, and the internships/ study apprentice opportunities available.

This research should not seem like some impending doom looming over your head. In my opinion, this is one of the more fun parts; you get to look at different college programs, with a more focused lens now that you have more experience with the college process.

You also want to make sure the college is right for you on a more personal level. Try to follow the school’s Instagram to get a sense of what the school will be like when you get there. Be sure to look at some of the campus activities that the school offers, and look at the student body break down. Check out the school’s website for info on the number of students that are transfer students, the diversity breakdown, and the number of students that live on campus.


Some things I wish I’d done during my transfer process

I wish I had not underestimated the power of human resources; I mean like actual people with the answers. People are waiting by phones willing and ready to answer all your questions about any and everything. Sure, you may be put on hold for a couple of minutes, and you might have to suffer through a monotone greeting. Still, you will have fast access to answers rather than spending several Friday nights looking up information on a school website that you may not be familiar with.

I also wish I had used social media more. There are typically Facebook groups filled with students that attend the university that you are planning to attend. While you may not get the inside jokes yet, you may feel more comfortable with the student life if you get a glimpse of it before you step foot on campus.

This may be weird but look at the school’s Instagram, scroll through the following list, and look at some of the students that are already attending the university. Look at their smiling faces with the school mascot and get pumped.

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