by Kassidy Taylor
With the new year approaching, some college students may be considering a change of scenery for the spring semester. If you’re a student in that mindset, you’re certainly not alone: According to a study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), more than a third of college students transfer to another school.
Whether you’re considering a switch from a community college or a four-year university, here are some tips to help you navigate the transfer journey.
Colleges will generally look for transfer students who are more focused in their studies. Be sure to include courses or internship experiences that apply to your major when applying. More than half of students change their major at least once, so it’s not the end of the world if you’re undecided. In that case, focus on your general education requirements first.
When it comes to transfer students, admissions counselors care more about your academic performance in college than in high school—and they’ll particularly consider your grades in the courses you want to transfer credits from.
Some colleges are more transfer-friendly than others, so don’t forget to ask prospective schools about events and programs they offer to help transfer students adjust to the campus and community. Also, know your deadlines: Many colleges offer flexible or rolling deadlines for transfer students, but some do not.
Keep in mind that colleges have different policies for the number of transfer credits they’ll accept. Share your transcript with admissions counselors at the schools you want to apply to—they may be able to give you a sense of how your credits would transfer in. Transferring from a community college? Many community colleges have formal agreements with four-year universities that guarantee certain credits will transfer toward your major, so be sure to talk to your community college academic advisor about your options.
According to the NACAC study, 77 percent of colleges reported that they offer merit scholarships for transfer students. Talk to the financial aid offices at the schools you’re interested in—there may be other scholarships and financial aid options specific for transfer students.
Transferring can seem like a complicated process—but for students who aren’t happy at their university or are looking for new challenges and opportunities, it can be well worth it.
This article was orginially published in October 2016.
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