Not everyone chooses the best fit right off the bat when they start college. Luckily, you can transfer to a new college where you feel more comfortable or have more opportunities. However, know that there are multiple items to consider and plan for when deciding whether you should transfer to a new college.
What are good reasons for transferring to a new college?
You might realize another institution has better opportunities for your specific major or interests. This is especially important to consider if you changed your major. Cost is a good reason for transferring too, because scholarships and aid can vary between institutions.
Athletic opportunities, student life opportunities, community involvement and location are all additional reasons you might want to transfer schools.
If you are currently attending a two-year institution but plan to earn your bachelor’s degree, you will need to transfer colleges. If this is the case, you should focus on finding a four-year partner school that will allow you to complete your degree seamlessly.
What should I consider before I transfer?
- Before transferring, consider how many of your academic credits will transfer to the new college. Most schools have a minimum credit requirement that will determine whether you are eligible to enroll as a transfer student. In addition, you should make sure that you also meet their GPA, financial and other requirements.
- Consider how long it will take you to graduate after transferring. You will need to decide if you are okay with the new timeline, and if it is worth it to make the switch. The new school should provide a written plan of study that will list the classes you need to take and how many semesters until you graduate.
- Take into consideration costs and scholarships. Making sure that your FASFA is up to date will help you with this step. Financial aid could be higher, lower or even the same when you transfer to a different institution.
If I am already an upperclassman is it too late to transfer?
No, but there is more to consider when you are a junior or senior. You will need to ensure you can complete your degree in a reasonable amount of time. Most schools require that you complete a certain number of credit hours at their institution before they will grant you a degree. Therefore, if you have already received the majority of your credits, a new institution might require you to take more courses to meet this requirement.
What about athletic eligibility?
Additional steps will need to be taken if you are a student-athlete and plan to compete in NCAA athletics at your new school. The NCAA provides guidelines for transferring from a 2-year to a 4-year institution. Transferring from one 4-year school to another is more complicated and includes a “permission to contact” form. NCAA 4-4 transfer rules >
Will my credits and GPA transfer to another college?
Colleges all have a minimum GPA requirement to transfer, as well as requirements for what classes they accept. The earlier you connect with a college the earlier you will receive a plan of study. This plan will outline the rest of your college career and help you to decide whether or not you are on board with your new graduation timeline. Communication and planning ahead are key when transferring.
What happens to my scholarships and financial aid if I transfer?
To determine whether or not your financial aid transfers you will need to update your FASFA for the next academic year. When updating your FASFA make sure to list the school you will be transferring to. As soon as you are accepted, you will receive a financial aid package outlining the various scholarships you are eligible for. Most schools offer a True Cost Calculator on their website for transfer students. This will give you a projection of costs and aid.
When do I have to let my current college know I’m transferring?
As soon as you apply to another school. Most schools will require a recommendation form from your current college. This form will clear you from any academic or financial barrier to transferring schools.
When should transfer students apply?
As soon as possible! If you decide that you would like to transfer schools before the applications are open you should still reach out and let them know you are interested. Staying in contact with admissions counselors from the transfer school will keep you on their radar.
If you go to a two-year institution and know that you will want to transfer to a four-year institution it is best to contact them at the start of your second year. Some two-year and four-year schools will have an articulation agreement identifying which classes at the two-year college will meet requirements at the four-year institution. Examples of articulation agreements to Bluffton University >
Regardless of your situation, you should apply early the semester before you are ready to transfer. After applying make sure your admissions counselor knows which classes you are currently enrolled in. This will allow them to maximize your transfer credits, and reduce the possibility of taking extra classes.
At Bluffton University
In addition to traditional transfer students, Bluffton University offers degree completion programs in accounting and organizational management for working adults. There is also an RN to BSN program available. Whether you plan to join the Bluffton community as a traditional transfer student or in a degree-completion program, our admissions counselors will work with you to make the process as seamless as possible.
Written by Bluffton University senior Beth Weigandt.