12 Steps for Transferring Universities

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Illustration of a young woman imagining graduating wearing different coloured robes

Students transfer universities and colleges for a diverse array of reasons. From choosing to be closer to home to changing majors, transferring schools might seem like a headache, but a lot of young people have justification for going to a different postsecondary institution.

It’s an arduous process, but it’s worth it for students who are seeking their undergraduate degrees and want a new environment. At a time when pupils are learning virtually, the migration is more common than ever before, and this is even leading to higher acceptance rates.

But how do you begin the process of transferring universities? Indeed, there are various things to consider, from the requirements to the paperwork. It’s not as easy flipping on a light switch, but because you’re a model student who the school salivates over, your chances of admission will be high. Who wouldn’t want you inside the classroom?

We’ve compiled a breakdown on how to transfer universities and the various tips to employ.

1. Determine why you want to transfer

What is your motive for transferring universities? Students have all sorts of reasons for making the giant leap, but whatever the case is, be sure that it justifies your choice to relocate. So, why would students in their first or second year suddenly change their mind? Here are a few points:

  • Affordability: Tuition rates are going through the roof, but in today's chaotic times, students might be finding discounts at different universities, especially if they’re learning online.
  • Location: You want to be closer to home, you want to be near a city with the best [insert here] industry or you want to move somewhere else.
  • Prestige: Some schools are better than others. That's a basic fact. You notice that your grades are higher-than-average, and you could successfully be approved at a more prestigious institution. So, why not apply?
  • Majors: You have chosen to change majors, but your college does not have the greatest of courses and staff to facilitate your adjustment. The only solution is to switch schools.
  • Infrastructure: Whether it’s due to lack of funding or incompetent management, the university's infrastructure is breaking down. Faculty has a poor reputation, the internet system is disappointing, and the amenities are subpar.

In some instances, students may desire a fresh start, a chance to start over a disastrous several months.

2. Make a list of universities you want to transfer to

Before you enrolled in your current university, what were your dream schools? Harvard, Oxford or the University of Toronto – young people have all sorts of desires when they’re finishing high school and looking at life after secondary school. Now that you’ve decided on transferring universities, you need to produce a list of schools you’re interested in attending, from the dream to the conservative.

3. Book an appointment with your advisor

Administrations and advisors are here to help you. They have the knowledge, the resources and connections to guide you through this rigorous process. You should immediately book an appointment and start going through what to consider, what you need to know and what course you need to embark upon during the transition. Who knows? An advisor might even convince you to stay!

4. Consider reasonable university alternatives

Your list of dream schools may not be attainable. Therefore, with new information at your disposal, your dreams may not come to reality. So, that said, you need to begin considering reasonable university alternatives that would:

  • Meet your financial objectives
  • Possess the new courses you wish to study
  • Satisfy your demand for a better infrastructure
  • Offer affordable living arrangements – both at the school and in the city

5. Learn what credits you can transfer

In some instances, you could transfer college credits from your current school to the next university you are considering enrolling. You can find out by sending a transcript to the university you hope to attend and learn which of your credits to transfer.

You need to be ready to accept the fact that there some entities that will not accept transfer credits. Unfortunately, you might need to start fresh, which can be devastating after all the work you put in.

6. Maintain your GPA at or above the average of the target school

Whether the university is comparable to your present one or it is an advanced system, it would always be best to maintain a GPA that is similar or better than what the university possesses. Put simply, it’s critical to keep the status quo and strive to achieve academic success.

7. Adjust your course selection with the transfer application

You may need to alter your course selection when transferring universities. This will either be accomplished through a transfer credit assessment or by meeting minimum admission criteria. Remember: there’s no guarantee that you’ll able to transfer courses in the school year. Therefore, be ready to have second or third options.

8. Gather information for your application

Today, you need to begin gathering all the components related to your application. You can peruse the school's website, communicate with an admissions officer and check out other school forums. In addition to a college transcript, the transfer would also involve being interviewed by an admissions officer, penning an essay (see below) and gathering recommendations from your current professors.

9. Compose a superb essay

While you do not need to be obsequious and profess your love for greener pastures, you’ll more than likely compose an essay that explains your justification for changing schools, why you would be a great fit and what your objectives are by attending this new university. Essentially, the essay should be comparable to the essay you wrote when you applied for your first college.

10. Submit your application

You have the application filled out, you have the deadlines and you have the money to pay the fees. The final step? Send in your application for a mid-year transfer or the next semester. You should have a response within a couple of weeks.

11. Crunch the numbers regarding financial aid

Student loans and the overall money factor will play a critical role in your ability to transfer schools. This is an imperative part of the transfer process, so you need to make sure that you have highlighted this aspect in your conversations with a financial administrator at both your current school and the university you wish to enrol in. Ultimately, you’ll need to complete forms, answer every question from a financial aid administrator and provide your financial information.

12. Secure your spot at the university

Here comes the most rewarding part: securing your spot!

You’ve been given the nod of approval to transfer, making it official. The next step is to commit to your new university by turning in deposits, letting the staff know of housing preferences and choosing what opportunities you wish to take.

Leaving your current school can be difficult. You’ve made connections, gotten accustomed to the setting and already made a little bit of a name for yourself. You’ve now made the decision to move on, testing your intelligence at the hardest schools or bringing your talent to the best universities in the world.

Are you prepared to make that dramatic change in your life? It starts by selecting the right postsecondary institutions, initiating the process and making the trek across the country. Now go change the world.

Are you considering transferring universities, or have you already made the change? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below!