What Do Students Need to Know About Transferring Colleges?

Experts offer tips for how to navigate the college application process the second time around.

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Almost one in three students end up transferring colleges, so if the thought has crossed your mind, you're certainly not alone. One of the hardest parts, though, is finding helpful advice on how to change schools. This week, the Unigo Expert Network takes on the not-so-daunting (really!) task of transferring schools.

Q: What do students need to know about transferring colleges?

A: Transfer does not equal failure!


Nancy Meislahn, dean of admissions and financial aid, Wesleyan University The transfer process is an alternative route; not every successful student takes the same path to and through college. Institutional policies and deadlines vary, as do the points of entry. Some institutions matriculate transfers only in the fall; others in both fall and spring. Students need to do as much or maybe even more research the "second time around." And they will be expected to articulate motivation for the transfer and why they see the match with the transfer institution and/or major.

See all of Nancy's expert admissions advice.

[See more things to know for transfer students.]

A: Every case is unique, so pick up the phone.


Tony Bankston, dean of admissions, Illinois Wesleyan University While everyone would like transferring colleges to be a smooth transition, the very nature of the process almost always presents some challenges. Different institutions operate differently, so it will be difficult to find a "one size fits all" solution when it comes to things like credit transfers or financial aid. Every college in the country can work with transfer students, but because each case can be unique, pick up the phone and talk to someone about your needs and concerns. You may find that your transfer college search requires more personal attention than your initial college search.

See all of Tony's expert admissions advice.

[See which schools have the most transfer students.]

A: Transferring colleges: Here's some food for thought.


Maureen Lawler, college counselor, Bishop Kelley High School Transferring colleges isn't unusual. It happens even to the student who just knew that College A was the perfect place. If you elect to transfer, here are a couple of things to keep in mind: Always check to see if the courses you enrolled in at your previous college will transfer. You don't want to lose the credits. Check to see what scholarships are available. Oftentimes transfer scholarships are not as wonderful as the money you received as a freshman. Check to see what the housing situation is. You may still be required to live in college housing. Investigate thoroughly!

See all of Maureen's expert admissions advice.

[Follow 10 steps to picking the right college.]

Visit the Unigo Expert Network for 20 more expert answers about transferring colleges and to have your own questions answered.

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