A Guide to Transferring Colleges

At some point some students may find themselves facing minor or major doubts about the school that they are currently attending. Maybe it just wasn’t what you envisioned it being or your major isn’t that appealing anymore. If you find yourself thinking you may want to transfer colleges, Abby, Amy and your Upward Bound advisers are here to help. But before you completely commit to a change, read some of these tips and take time to evaluate your decision. Some students transfer for the wrong reasons, such as:

  • Remember that you’re not in high school anymore. Your classes will be very different and at times difficult. Some students struggle to find their footing in the new, less structured environment. If you are finding college overwhelming or even too easy an academic advisor on campus can help you manage your courses.

  • School Reputation: If your current college is not your first choice and you are concerned that your degree will be considered less prestigious by future employers, keep in mind that you are in control of your post-secondary education. Take advantages of the opportunities that are gifted to you to boost your resume and make you far more valuable to employers.

  • Financial Aid: Very few colleges offer financial aid for transfer students, so if you are looking to transfer to receive more aid and scholarships, be warned that this may not be the best decision. Talk to a financial aid officer at your current school and ask about more ways to get aid. Some departments offer need-based scholarships that aren’t awarded during the initial financial aid period. You can also appeal to update your FAFSA if there has been some sort of unexpected change in income. Don’t forget about outside scholarships and grants. Check out websites like Fastweb and Scholarships.com.

If it is your time to move on from a community college or you have made your mind up to transfer to a different university then this will take you some preparation and time management. If you follow these steps, you can make the transition a smooth one.

  1. Figure out why you want to transfer. Moving schools to continue your education may be a reason why you need to transfer. There are good and bad reasons but no matter what you need to explore what’s behind your desire to transfer. Speak with your academic advisor, family, friends and even your Upward Bound adviser about whether or not it’s the best move for you.

  2. Begin your college search again. Make a list of what you do and don’t want in a college. Look for colleges that have your major, desired location and social environment.

  3. Meet with your college academic adviser. If you haven’t already done so, speak to this person about transferring. They will know the proper advice to give you about who to talk to in the registrar, admissions and financial aid offices. They should also be able to give you an idea of which credits transfer.

  4. Check out which credits transfer. In some cases, you will be able to transfer college credits from your current school to your future school. Send a transcript to the university you hope to attend, and find out which credits will transfer. There may be some schools, however, that will not accept transfer credits. If that is the case, then you have to decide whether starting totally fresh will be worth it.

  5. Have a very long conversation with the financial aid offices. Financial aid is a critical stage in this process. If not careful, you could lose all aid forever. Make sure that you speak with financial aid at your current school about you wanting to transfer. Also speak to the financial aid office at your future school to get a clear picture of your financial aid. Fill out any forms that they may require you to fill out as soon as possible; and always fill out the FAFSA every year.

  6. Collect all components of your application. Check out the school’s website and talk with an admissions counselor about everything you need for your application. You will need your college transcript, possibly write an essay and submit your high school transcript with your ACT scores.

  7. . Pay attention to the deadlines of the school that you wish to transfer to.

  8. Secure your spot. Turn in your deposits, housing preferences and any other forms you need to complete in order to commit to your new college.

  9. You did it. Now get ready for new adventures, challenges, friends, and opportunities at your new school!


Upward Bound is funded by the U.S. Department of Education & sponsored by Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority Inc.