What’s The Deal With Transfer Admissions?

What’s The Deal With Transfer Admissions?

Time for a change of scenery? There are a variety of reasons why a student may be applying to a college or university. Perhaps the four-year college the student chose after high school has not met their needs, or perhaps their needs have changed. Many students, especially in California where state public four-year institutions have strong articulation agreements with community colleges, opt to go to a two-year college after high school graduation with the intention of applying to transfer after one or two years. This route can be an effective financial decision for saving money on the total cost of an undergraduate degree and/or offer the student more options for colleges by giving them time to improve their grades from high school.

No matter the reason, students seeking to transfer face a similar admission process to the first-year one, including their fair share of essay writing; however, the pools are significantly smaller and the timelines can vary widely. While it’s true that on the whole, the transfer process is less competitive than the first-year admissions with higher acceptance rates and generally lacking the tireless exercise of standardized testing, it’s important for students to pay careful attention to the variable deadlines and requirements by major. Many schools, such as the UC system, have firm policies about the courses a student must have taken to be admitted to their intended major and transfers to most colleges are generally expected to select a major, especially if they will be entering as junior. Transfer students are also expected to have a clearer sense of what they are looking for in a college and should be prepared to speak about their journey towards transferring in their application.

With the global pandemic raging on, transfer admission too faces uncertainties. Many schools already have a limited number of seats for transfer students and prioritize them differently by institution and major, which could be positively or negatively impacted by how this unpredictable year has gone for the Fall 2020 class and students who will be joining the community next fall after spending this year on a gap year. As universities continue to try to figure out the best way to reopen and when, transfers will also have to decide if they still wish to try to start in the spring 2021 term for those schools who welcome spring transfers. 

So what can students do in the meantime? Stay the course! Students should continue to exhibit their best work in their college courses, engage in their communities through activities, work and/or service, and build connections they can use for letters of recommendations if they are considering private colleges. Most importantly, pay attention to what’s going on at the colleges you are considering, and follow their deadlines and requirements carefully. 

Each transfer journey is unique, so be sure to seek out the best counseling to support your unique process!

Written By: Gabrielle Dorsey, Executive Director

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