How to Be A Competitive Transfer Student


After making the decision to transfer from one college or university to another, students will likely want to know how to be a competitive transfer student in order to ensure they are accepted into the school they hope to attend. Below, a few steps are outlined that students can follow in order to improve their chances of success.

Step #1: Perform Well Academically & Demonstrate Interest in Desired Field of Study

While there are a number of reasons students may choose to transfer schools, it is essential that students maintain high grades and perform well in the courses at their first college to meet the admission standards of as many schools as possible. Some institutions may not accept transfer students as readily as others and thus may have even stricter academic requirements than they typically would have for an incoming freshman. In order to be a competitive transfer student, it is important that students have a high GPA at the first school they attended as a reflection of what could be expected if that student were to enroll at the new college. When applying to a new school, students will also generally need to ask former professors for letters of recommendation in which they will describe how the student performed in their class and give the transfer school an idea of the student's capabilities.

In addition to earning good grades, students may also want to be intentional about the types of activities they are involved in at their first school. For example, if a student is interested in a science-related field, they may want to join a science club or actively seek out research opportunities that are related to their field of interest. Transfer schools may look positively on these types of activities, as it will help demonstrate the prospective student's interests.

Step #2: Research Desired Transfer Schools

It is also critical that students do their research regarding the target school of transfer. Not only is this important for practical reasons, such as admission requirements and the location of the school, it also will help students more clearly articulate why they think the new school will be a better fit for them in comparison to other possible transfer options or the college they currently attend. For example, perhaps a student decides they wish to pursue a different career path or degree that is not offered at their current school. It is essential that they research other colleges that do offer this type of degree and avoid making any assumptions that are not based on facts.

Step #3: Write a Persuasive Essay

Once students identify their target schools, another key component of being competitive is effectively conveying to these colleges why they want to transfer. This is often done through a persuasive essay or personal statement. In this writing, students can provide information regarding why they want to transfer, specifically in regard to why a particular school is the best fit for them. Students who are able to write a compelling essay that is very specific to the school they hope to attend are likely to be more competitive than students who simply write a generic statement.

Step #4: Complete the Transfer Application

Transfer students will only be competitive and successful if they complete the entire transfer application process, which may vary to some extent depending on the school. In addition to the essay or personal statement mentioned above, students usually must also submit letters of recommendation from former professors, their academic transcripts, and a resume or CV, along with an application form. Students will also want to keep in mind that some schools may have other unique application components. For example, depending on the field of study, students may have to take various entrance exams in different subjects so that the new school can have an accurate gauge of the student's academic ability.

Some schools may also offer scholarships that are specifically designated for transfer students. If this is the case, students interested in such scholarships may need to apply for them during the application window.

Step #5: Transfer Previously Earned Credits

Another key part of being a competitive transfer student is to be knowledgeable about how credits earned at one college or university transfer to a new location. Students who know the details about how this process works may be able to make a more compelling case to an admissions committee regarding why they should be accepted at the new school. For example, if a student knows that few of their credits will transfer but is able to convince an admissions committee that this is inconsequential to them if they are given the opportunity to study a new field at the second institution, this may convey dedication and a true desire to attend the new school. Furthermore, students who do their research and discover that transferring credits will be quite easy can also make a case as to how this will help them transition more seamlessly into a new academic environment.

This process of transferring colleges is discussed in greater detail in the following course:

What are Credit Hours in College?

Students interested in learning about the concept of credit hours can read this article, which provides information about what college credit hours are, how they are earned, and a few different types of credit hours.

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