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Student Guide for University Transfer Students

Written by K Fisher on July 3, 2022

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transfer students

Being a transfer student can feel like a daunting and unsure experience but it does not have to be. When it comes down to the necessary paperwork and official documents needed to help a student transfer to a new college or any higher education institution. There are a few important points and tips students should follow.

We will go through a general guideline that will contain the most needed documents such as transcripts and recent class rank to what items transfer students may be exempt from because they are considered a “new” student.

Table of Contents:

  • All Universities Follow the Same Method And College Credits
  • Transferring Colleges Can Add On More Years
  • Letter of Recommendation Matters
  • Scholarships for Transfer Students
  • Do Transfer Students Have A More Difficult Time Getting Into Universities?
  • How To Know You Are Eligible
  • Are There Certain Deadlines To Follow
  • What is the ‘Common Application’
  • Do Test Scores Matter?
  • Transfers Are Not Seen As Competitive
  • Research Colleges That Are Looking for Transfer Students
  • It Depends On What College a Student Wants to Transfer to, But Always Check What That University is Looking For In Their Academic Class
  • Always Plan Ahead
  • Last Note to Remember

There are a few facts that may not be known, but we will try to provide enough generalized information to help with any student who wants to transfer to a different college.

All Universities Follow the Same Method And College Credits

This is no joke, universities follow a method when it comes to admitting transfer students. The biggest requirement as well as question students should ask is what or how many of their credit college points will be able to transfer.

This is where the difference comes in. When a student transfers from say a community college to a higher end ivy league; students can be met with not being able to transfer over as many college credits as originally thought.

Now, universities have agreements with other higher education institutions when it comes to the college credit transfer. For example, in Canada most if not all of Ontatio has an agreement with it’s universities that all college credits can be transferred to another Ontario based college.

However, say a student has attended two to four years in the United States but they wish to be admitted to Oxford in the United Kingdom, this would be called foreign credits. And foreign credits may not hold as much merit with such a prestigious college as Oxford. The American student would need incredibly high grades, grade point average, and the similar skills that Oxford offers to their student population. Basically a place like Oxford only accepts college credits if they reflect that of the intended school that the student has decided to transfer to. This is where the issue with transfer credits comes in. 

When taking into account credits that are recognized by the college the student wants to transfer to? Because this highly matters. 

There are so many different policies that higher education institutions follow that the best step for students to follow is this:

  • Make sure that the college you want to transfer to, take similar classes that are needed at both colleges
  • Make sure to talk to one of the college’s advisors beforehand to see what college credits can be transferred and which ones will not be

Transferring Colleges Can Add On More Years

If a student transfers after having at least 2 years of studying or more accomplished at one university and the transfers… the student can expect to loose from college credit. Why? After the 2 year mark, this means that the student is out of the undergraduate realm and was already on their way studying their main subject field. And each university has different routes associated with classes and credits when it pertains to the 2 year undergraduate mark. This is just how it works.

Students should check the university website of their choice to see what options are available for transfer individuals.

Letter of Recommendation Matters

A letter of recommendation matters when a student is working towards college admissions, but a letter of recommendation is crucial for a transfer student. Preferably, a college professor should be the one behind the letter of recommendation, and it should be a professor where that student has taken that exact class. Why? Well the all admissions want to know that the student can sustain the workload that happens with projects, thesis, and homework. The more a professor has seen a student simply flourish in a college environment where the course work hasn’t bogged them down, will be come a real point of interest for any college admissions.

Scholarships for Transfer Students

Ten years ago transfer students did not have many scholarship options. That has changed with today’s world, instead students can go to a university website and find a link to transfer student scholarships.

A few scholarship options include but are not limited to:

  • $2,000 “No Essay” College Scholarship
  • “Tuition Solution” Scholarship for STEM Students
  • Tallo’s $1,000 “Launching Into Your Future” Scholarship
  • Future Designer Scholarship
  • Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship
  • $500 “A Bold Life” No-Essay Scholarship
  • $10,000 ScholarshipPoints Scholarship Program

Let’s take a closer look at the $5,000 Transfer Student Scholarship that is funded by IKB Canada. For this scholarship students must be a Canadian citizen and must be transferring to a college located in British Columbia. This one does look for an average B rated student that has not receive a lower grade than that on at least 30 college credits. However, students can still apply if they are still working on those 30 credits.

This is not a complete list of transfer student scholarship options.

Do Transfer Students Have A More Difficult Time Getting Into Universities?

Sadly the answer is yes. It comes down to what courses or programs has that student taken before transferring. There is so much information needed to access what level the student’s study abilities are at and what type of coursework that student was completing beforehand.

In Canada, there estimated rate for transfer students being accepted into a different university hovers around 60%. Which is significantly lower than a student sending in admissions to a college during their last year of high school.

As Essay’s Requirements Or Can They Be Exempt For Transfer Students

Luckily, essay’s can be exempt for transfer students. Since a certain question like “What do you intend to do while attending college” is a bit self explanatory when an individual is has already collected a few college credits. A student can be exempt from writing an essay when becoming a transfer student. This is a high advantage because it means that the judging panel or committee will not be judging based on character. Instead, the student will be judged on their grade point average and what programs they have already succeed at.

How To Know You Are Eligible

What makes a college student eligible as a transfer student? It does come down to the fact that the student must have completed at least one year of schooling elsewhere. This is hugely important because this will help toe stablish college credits. Each universities policies are a bit different but it doesn’t mean that some work together to ensure a high end transfer student guideline.

So yes, having at least one academic college year finished will make a student eligible for transfer options.

Are There Certain Deadlines To Follow

Absolutely! A lot of universities have a separate deadline issues out for transfer students and first-year admission students. However, there are a few universities that insist on a single deadline for both admission and transfer students. Anyone interested in transferring colleges should pay incredibly close attention to the academic calendar that each institution has available on their website.

What is the ‘Common Application’

There is a type of application that all transfer students will fill out called the Common Application. This is basically an application that will contain all viable knowledge for the universities to go through and affirm is the correct information from the student.

First the student will need to provide much needed personal information. This includes current address, citizenship, and name. This is important to give correct information, for example a student cannot give their nickname as their official legally registered name.

Secondly, students will need to provide all transcripts for their academic history. This involves a full year of grades, current class rank, and grade point average. This is needed to show the transfer college what classes or programs they have already taken and do not need to take again.

Third, what is supporting information? Well, students will need to provide an acutely aware experience section. This means any volunteer work or anything that has be done outside of school activities. While school activities can be included, this is the section where students can show who they are. How an individual spends their free time by helping the community or working with coding technology to further advance their own skills, should be expressed.

Lastly, students will need to provide program materials. Typically, this is where the big essay question comes in for first-year students. Yet, students may encounter a series for short questions that asks them to complete with a short answer as a response. These questions are their to help identify why the student is transferring and what they expect to receive out of their new college pick.

Do Test Scores Matter?

Many may be thinking of the standardized testing that is available in the United States. The SAT and other important tests that help to land a student with a scholarship or admission to the college of their dreams. The defining response is sometimes. Not all colleges require a transfer student to send over their standardized test scores. Since the student had already acquired at least a year minimum of college, then this states that the student has shared their test scores which advocated for their admission into the university.

Normally, if the transfer individual has the right amount of minimum college credits needed for the transfer, that university will not ask to see test scores.

Transfers Are Not Seen As Competitive

This may have been weighing on the minds of a few students. It would be easy to think that transferring to a different college could mean more competitive. However, that is simply not the case. Since transfer students will be going in as a Sophomore level or over, this means the transfer student has surpassed that first-year competitive spot.

Research Colleges That Are Looking for Transfer Students

There are multiple lists that a published each year that rate what colleges are a looking and creating scholarships solely for transfer students. Finding and researching these universities allows a student to successfully secure a quick access to a higher institution that maybe beforehand would have not chosen that student to be part of their academic population fits. That is, fitting the eligibility of that a single higher education institution is highly important.

It Depends On What College a Student Wants to Transfer to, But Always Check What That University is Looking For In Their Academic Class

This is one of the biggest points to remember. Researching what a university is looking for in the perfect academic candidate makes all the difference. For example, say Harvard University is your ideal transfer college. With that in mind, look up what does Harvard look for in academic students. Does the university prefer that the student has a 4.0 grade point average or instead show that the student has started to excel in their studies while they may not have beforehand. What about bringing experiences into the common application that stands out from many other applicants? These type of questions will help students to narrow down what it means to be eligible or the perfect candidate.

Always Plan Ahead

No one should attempt a quick transfer, instead a transfer option needs to be planned months if not a full year ahead. This type of planning requires the student to craft a thorough resource list of what advisors to contact. Why? Contacting advisors will help any student to navigate the tricky waters that include transfers. An advisor can help students to map out what their budget needs to look like (since colleges will ask if the student has enough funds to cover a year duration of tuition).

Reach out to 4-year institutions that fits within your transfer budget. A lot of individuals forget that 4-year instructions are incredibly more costly that community colleges. While that dream school may be within reach, will your bank account be able to suffice enough funds to secure tuition coverage? If not, this is where financial aid comes in.

Know your degree path – if you don’t it’s time to sit down and run through what type of major you want to pursue. Why? As a transfer student if you do not know what type of degree you intend to work towards, schools can deny your transfer if you are not clear about this subject. Because it will reflect as a “well this student is not serious about their college career so why should we be interested.” It’s quite incredible what aspects will provide enough information about the student that shows, just how well equipped and ready that student is to enter a tough 4-year academic career.

Last Note to Remember

Transferring colleges is really only for the students who are being serious about this option. There is a lot of information and documentation that will be needed to secure a spot within a high end 4-year university. This should not be taken lightly and should be figured out months in advance before applying for a transfer.

Here at Pick A Scholarship, we try to provide enough information for students looking for different options, scholarships, what universities are giving out funding opportunities to student guides. By providing valuable information, we aim to ensure all individuals have the access necessary for important resources.

Anyone can sign up to receive a university website newsletters to stay updated on the latest information, even when that student does not attend that university. This can give great access to the academic information that university is looking for in new students.

Any student that is unsure about the rules and guidelines that are meant to be followed when working towards a transfer option, should read through the university website. Normally, colleges provide enough information on their websites to help students out with what to look for, what to provide, and what questions will be asked that need quick and short answers.

We also suggest that all interested students should read through the information guideline page that is available through our website as well. This way the individual will be able to navigate the website correctly and identify what type of information that would like to read about.

We provide exact information for each article and provide much needed answers that are asked by the general public seeking to further their higher education.

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