Top Ranked Colleges That Accept Transfer Students

If you are considering transferring to a top ranked college, it is a good idea to look into eligibility and application requirements. Look below for some helpful information to assist you in your search.

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Transferring to a top ranked college while pursuing an undergraduate degree can be an exciting decision. If this is something a student is considering, it is helpful to be aware of the facts. Keep reading to find out more about some of the colleges on the U.S. News & World Report 2018 Best National Universities list that accept transfer students, including specifics ranging from tuition to application requirements.

Top Ranked Colleges that Accept Transfer Students

School Location Undergraduate Tuition (2017-2018)* U.S. News & World Report Ranking** Some Transfer Requirements***
University of Chicago Chicago, IL $56,034 #3 (tied with Yale University) No Minimum GPA, Two Teacher Evaluations, College Transcripts
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD $52,170 #11 (tied with Dartmouth College and Northwestern University) 3.0 Cumulative GPA, Professor or Instructor Recommendation, Transcripts
Northwestern University Evanston, IL $52,678 #11 (tied with Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University) Overall B Grade Average (preferred), Standardized Test Scores, Transcripts
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN $51,505 #18 (tied with Washington University in St. Louis) Typical GPA of 3.7, Standardized Test and Advanced Placement Scores, Transcripts

*Sources: NCES, **U.S. News & World Report (2018), ***School websites

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Transfer Eligibility

To be eligible to transfer to most top ranked colleges, students typically need to have completed one full year of undergraduate coursework as a freshman. Some schools may allow students to transfer as second-semester freshman, but this is often limited. At Northwestern, for example, only students applying to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences can transfer during the freshman year. Most top ranked schools require that transfer students apply for the upcoming fall semester and typically do not admit students during the spring, summer, or winter terms. Students may not transfer to most top ranked colleges if they have already obtained a bachelor's degree.

Transfer Requirements

Once a student has confirmed they are eligible to transfer to a top ranked college, it is important to ensure they gather and complete all required elements in order to transfer. Students will need items like the following to transfer to a top ranked college:

  • Application (whether common or transfer) and application fee or waiver
  • Transcripts, both high school and college
  • Standardized test scores
  • College report from the student's prior school

Some universities may require items beyond this, such as compiling and submitting individual course syllabi at Notre Dame. Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago require some type of academic evaluation or recommendation, typically from former teachers or professors. At Northwestern, students transferring to their school of music must also audition.

Unique Transfer Situations

There are unique situations available at top-ranked universities as a transfer student. For example, at the University of Chicago, there is a position available called 'student-at-large' which allows undergraduate students to remain there for a year or less. At Notre Dame, transfer students must remain in the college they originally apply to for their first year after transferring, and each Notre Dame college (School of Architecture, College of Arts and Letters, and so on) has its own list of requirements for transfer students.

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