The Best 4-Year Colleges for Transfer Students

As a transfer student, entering a new college might be difficult for you. You'll have to get used to new friends, new places and teachers. Plus there's all the hoops you have to jump through to get your credits to transfer. Which aspects of a 4-year college help you get through that transition and give you the best opportunities as a transfer student?

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By Laura Allan

tips for transfer students

Lets You Transfer Gen Eds

Sometimes the fullest classes are general education classes. This is because colleges usually have a certain list of courses you have to take in order to graduate and they're usually ones that are pretty generic. Some teach you things like how to eat right in college or how to write a paper without failing miserably. No one wants to retake these courses and you shouldn't have to just because you're a transfer student. Look for schools that will allow you to transfer over courses you took at your old school to fulfill general education requirements. You'll still get credits that go towards your graduation and won't have to waste time on classes that tend to be crowded, boring and pointless to your major.

In State

Trying to go to college someplace exotic might be tempting, but it's better to transfer to a school that is in the same state as your old college. The reason for this is that credits will probably transfer easier. Colleges within the same state are more likely to have similar requirements for gen eds, as well as similar classes themselves. Many schools even set up a system that allows students to study at nearby colleges to fill requirements if classes are full, so transferring to a nearby college might put you on even better ground. Because of these similarities, you'll have more credits that will go towards your major and graduation, ensuring you'll get out on time.

Lots of Classes in Your Major

One thing to consider when selecting any college is if they cater well to your personal interests. Because you're not new to the whole college thing, you probably have a better grip now on what you want to study than when you first started. Look into colleges that specialize in your intended or declared major, that way you'll be sure they have plenty of classes for you to take. More classes means that it will be easier for you to take what you need to fulfill your major requirements, and that you'll be less likely have to choose boring classes to do so.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Willing to Let you Take Online Classes or Independent Study

No matter what you do, you'll probably still have to play catch up in some areas of study. It could be that not all your credits will transfer, which will probably put you a little behind people in your same year. One way to combat this is with independent study or online classes. See if the school you want to go to will allow you to sign up for either of those options. If you are able to do the extra work on your own time outside of scheduled classes, you are more likely to make up for anything you lost in the transfer. You're also less likely to spend mountains of money on textbooks and class expenses.

Tutors Readily Available

Each teacher runs their class a little differently. Teachers within the same school often coordinate with each other so that as you move up to higher-level courses, you'll be relating directly back to prerequisites. If you went to a different college before taking these higher-level courses, this might not work for you. A school that has tutors readily available makes it easier for transfer students like you to figure out what was missed by not taking courses from that school and fill in any information gaps you might have.

Easy Social Atmosphere to Adapt To

Arguably, the most important thing to consider is how you will deal with moving to this new location. It's hard being the new kid in school, especially when most fellow students have already been in classes together and been bonding for a while. Your school might have a ton of new rules, new customs and new expenses that your old one didn't. The learning curve might be more difficult and the grading scale could be harder too. It's important to visit any college you consider going to so you can get a feel for exactly where you're going. It may not directly help your GPA all the time, but being mentally and emotionally healthy in college is key to having a happy and productive experience there.

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