How to prepare for a college transfer

Making a transfer from one college to another may seem like a daunting task. Whether you are graduating from a two-year college and moving onto the next level of study or you’ve simply decided to change to another school, the procedure will require a lot of planning and organization.

The best course of action is to simplify the process as much as you can. By breaking down the necessary requirements into manageable increments, these suggestions may help you transition smoothly the switch from one university to another.

Research colleges well in advance

As soon as you decide you’ll be transferring universities, hit the Internet and start seeking colleges that offer your curriculum program. This will be important for several reasons, but the most significant one is that you want to make sure you can continue in your desired area of study. Once you select a school, call and speak to an admissions counselor, who will help outline everything you will need to do.

Examine the likelihood of transferring credits

Once you’ve narrowed down a school that offers your degree program, speak with a college representative who is able to evaluate transcripts. This step ensures whether or not the credits you’ve taken are comparable and if they’ll accept credits you’ve already earned.

Chances are very good you will be able to bring most, if not all, of your credits with you, but it is not a given. If you start college with the intention of being a transfer student, you will have had the advantage of careful course selection, but with an unexpected transfer, unfortunately, you may find some courses won’t transfer and won’t apply to your new degree program.

Complete some English and math credits

Complete some English and math credits, if time permits, before you transfer. If you are leaving a college prior to completion of your degree program, try to finish a course in each of these subjects prior to transfer. Most colleges require an assessment test (often referred to as a placement test), and if you’ve taken the test at your original college, if you haven’t completed any math or English, you’ll most likely have to take the test again even you’ve already completed pre-requisite courses.

Unfortunately, most colleges don’t accept pre-requisite courses for transfer, but will most likely accept completed English 101 or first level math courses. Having worked in admissions/registrar previously, this is a common situation to observe, and it’s frustrating for a transfer student to have to repeat skill-building courses they have already taken.

Have admissions paperwork ready as soon as possible

This paperwork includes application, residency documentation (if needed), essays, and recommendation letters. The faster you have your proverbial ducks in a row, the earlier you can complete the transfer process which will free you up to take care of other business.

This includes official transcripts. It is a good idea to request official transcripts sooner than later, this is an important detail to remember. Once you’ve completed your application package and have it ready to go, make a formal request to your current school to send your future college a copy of your official transcripts. Most universities process this request quickly, but don’t leave it to the last minute – just in case. Remember, these need to stay sealed.

Get financial aid paperwork in order

If you already have financial aid for the year, don’t forget to fill out the required paperwork that allows you to transfer your grants to your new college, or if you are starting a brand new term, fill out the paperwork as quickly as possible to get the ball rolling. Financial aid can be a slow and tedious procedure, and it is not uncommon to hit some road bumps in this process.

It’s a good idea to talk to counselors at both schools to obtain all the information needed to ensure you don’t miss any required information. Transferring colleges takes a bit of organization, but by breaking it down in steps and double checking to make sure all of your “i’s are dotted and “t’s” are crossed, the transition will go much more easily.