Transferring Schools

The United States’ education system is unusual in that allows students to transfer from one school to another.   Deciding to transfer is a very important decision to make during your college career.  For some students, it was always part of the plan.  This is especially so for students who attend community colleges the first couple of years of their college careers to keep costs down and others who were not happy with the standing of the colleges they had been admitted to at high school.  The most common reasons for transferring are:

    Moving from a two-year community college to a four-year college/university

      Many students, domestic and international, who want to purse a degree in the United States assume that they have to be admitted to a top university right out of high school.  Some students do not realize that they can attend a community college the first two years and then transfer to a university to finish off the remaining couple of years.  Others are aware but still do not believe that community colleges are real colleges.  However, attending a community college might be the most practical choice for some students.  The main advantages of community colleges are:

      (i)                 Reduced Cost

      Community colleges have far lower tuition costs than 4-year universities.  By attending a community college for the first two years of tertiary education, the student can save a significant amount of money.  So if the student is short on funding and does not have the test scores or grades to have been awarded a merit scholarship, community colleges might be a viable option.

      (ii)               Transferring to your dream school

      If a student does not have the GPA or standardized test scores to get into the desired four-year college, the student can use time at a community college to build up academic skills and prove that he or she is a serious student.  When the student applies for a transfer to a four-year school, the admissions offices of these schools will consider the community college grades more heavily than the student’s high school records.

      (iii)             Exploring majors

      Many students begin their tertiary education not knowing what they intend to major in.  Community colleges are the perfect place for such self-exploration because not only are they cheaper, they allow for students to take a far wider range of courses in different departments than do their four-year counterparts.  At big universities, classes in specific departments are often limited to students who have been accepted to a particular major.  This is never the case in community colleges.

        • Trying to get into a better school

          For those students who want a second try at their dream schools or for those who simply want to trade up, transferring after your freshman or sophomore year might be an option.  It is much easier to get into selective schools as a sophomore/junior than as a freshman, provided that you have the requisite college grades.  Now that you have a college record, colleges and universities will be far more interested in your college grades than your high school grades.  This is not to say that your high school grades and standardized test scores will not have to submitted, but their significance will be overshadowed by your undergraduate college performance.  Also, recommendations will be coming from professors at the college level and not from your high school teachers.  This means that you will have had to establish a good and deep relationship with two to three professors during the course of your one to two years at the first college or university.  This can sometimes be hard because many of the introductory college classes are taught in large groups and it can be difficult for students to create opportunities for one-on-one contact with the professors.  This means that the student will have to go the extra mile to engage the professor, either by speaking to the professor after class or during his or her office-hours, and seeking to work with the professor on a specific project in which there is substantial interaction between the professor and the student.

            • Finding a school that offers a major that is unavailable at your current school

              Given that US schools generally only require students to declare their majors in their sophomore year, sometimes students do not realize their preferred majors are unavailable at their schools until they have attended classes for a full year.  Students transferring for this reason are best advised to research which schools are highly respected in their preferred major before making their transfer choice.

                • The college you are attending is not a good match socially or academically

                  To avoid making this mistake again, it would be best that you follow the steps outlined in Chapter 5.  This time however, you would have had one or two years college experience under your belt and with added maturity, you will have an enhanced ability to discern what wrong premises and bases you took into account when you made your college choice a year or two ago.  Understanding those faults in your decision making process will allow you to better approach this round of decisions.

                  Transfer Essay/Personal Statement:

                  Apart from assessing your college performance so far and judging the level of extracurricular activity that you were engaged in, the other important piece of this puzzle would be the personal statement that you will have to write as part of the transfer application.  Like when you applied to college from high school, this needs to be an impactful and convincing piece of writing.    In fact, the college admissions dean will be expecting this piece of writing to be more mature and insightful as compared to a high school applicant.  In your personal statement, there are certain points that you must seek to cover and convey effectively to the admissions committee.

                  (a)    Why do you want to transfer?

                  (b)   Why do you want to transfer specifically to that school?

                  (c)    Why you have strong academic reasons to transfer?

                  (d)   What did you learn about yourself during those first few years of college?

                  (e)    How do you think you would be able to contribute to your new college?

                  Transferring Credits:

                  Keep in mind that some credits may not be transferable.  It is best for you to check with the school to assess how many of your completed “credits” can be transferred as this may influence your decision of whether or not to transfer.

                  If you are transferring from a two-year school to a four-year school, you may be required to retake courses that you have already completed at the community college. Furthermore, some schools require you to complete a minimum number of credits at your new school before you can graduate (usually 60 credits or 2 years of coursework). This may delay your graduation date.


                  1 Response to “Transferring Schools”

                  1. 1 SHANNON Trackback on July 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM

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