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Key points that every college transfer student should know – USA

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Everything you need to know about College Transfer in USA

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Did you know? Almost two in five students, who began their high school education during the early 2010s, have transferred from one college/university to another before securing their degree. Many famous personalities like Barack Obama, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg are all transfer students who swapped colleges and universities all along before settling on a concrete career. 

There might be various factors that impact a student’s journey toward earning a college degree from the same college. Some students enroll themselves into a community college, secure enough money or enhance their academic profile, and move to another college. Some students might switch from Full-time to Part-time, take breaks, and there might be a plethora of reasons. All that I’m saying is for many students college transfers are inevitable and the only way to move forward. So, don’t hesitate to consider transfer when there is a dire need. 

Here in this blog post, we have put together the most significant questions that every student hoping to transfer college will have in their mind. Also furnished are succinct answers that might help you. 

  1. Why transfer college/university?  
  2. Common transfer paths
  3. Initial steps
  4. Accreditation
  5. Credit transfer
  6. Next steps – the transfer
  7. Financial Aid
  8. Scholarships and grants

Why transfer college or university? 

The foremost question that you might wanna ask and answer yourself clearly is “Why should you transfer to college or university, in the first place? If there is an underpinning, legitimate reason like financial problems, break or moving away, change of academic preference, etc., then well and good. 

On the contrary, if you don’t have a solid, undeniable reason and you’re probably hoping to swap college because of a long-distance relationship or your dream for admission into an ivy league school, please park the idea. Concentrate on academics and continue wherever you are. 

Student College Transfers in USA Common transfer paths

Common transfer paths

The number of education options has increased drastically, thanks to the internet and the ubiquitously available information. Also, not to mention the demand and supply of colleges and students. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of 2019, there were 4,042 degree-granting institutions in the United States. This means there are more than thousands of options to consider and you need to burn the candles at both ends to research and understand the landscape. Listed below are the most common circumstances or pathways that students consider before transfer:

  1. Community college to a four-year university
  2. Seeking a better college for financial, personal, or academic reasons
  3. Transfer of International students

Initial steps

Now that you’ve decided to swap colleges, the next obvious question to ask yourself is “which college or university should I transfer to?”. My simple answer would be “Educate yourself”. Spend at least two or three weeks educating yourself in the entire transfer landscape. 

Review your high school and college transcripts, make a wish list or your wants and needs, and list down your prospective colleges or universities that suit your requirements. If you’re switching for academic or athletic reasons, please be extra careful when choosing the prospective schools/colleges.

Many schools/colleges are transparent about their acceptance criteria and admission time, so it should be pretty straightforward to find on the websites. Collate and have those for your reference. 


The next important thing is to confirm the accreditation of your current college or university and the ones you’re hoping to go to. Accreditation ensures a level of academic quality and public accountability for colleges. 

Please make sure each of your prospective schools/colleges is accredited, otherwise, you may face some serious repercussions, including but not limited to: 

  1. Difficulty in transferring academic credits or getting into graduate school
  2. Not being eligible for federal and other institutional aid
  3. Inability to obtain a professional license
  4. Inability to meet corporate meet requirements

Also, when looking for Accreditation, please make sure that the college/university is accredited by legitimate agencies. Here’s a link where you can access the database of all the universities and colleges accredited by a federal government-recognized legitimate agency. You can also check the databases from Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Credit transfer

A big lingering question from every transfer student that we came across is “Will all my credits transfer to the new college/university?”. The answer to the question is highly subjective and perplexing. Not all colleges and universities accept credits in the same way, so it’s key to select your prospective institutions based on Course equivalency, Course level, and Quarter vs Semester system. 

Course equivalency – It’s simple to transfer credits from lower-level, general classes. However, when it comes to upper-level, specialized classes, the credits transfer gets complicated because the prospective schools might not take the special classes in the same manner. 

Course level – Make sure the prospective colleges and universities accept if you’ve completed many upper-level courses. 

Having said that, transfer credits are at the sole discretion of the receiving college or university and if at all you were denied or given downgraded credits that you’ve earned previously, every college should have a credits appeal system and you can appeal there, provided you have the necessary documents like course materials, class descriptions, syllabi, examples of coursework, letters from the professor and other relevant authorities. 

Accreditation and Credit transfer are the most important factors that will certainly affect academics and in turn the employment/career opportunities in the future. For many, understanding the multitude of processes involved in accreditation and credits transfer will be a daunting one and we suggest reaching out to professional counselors, like University HUB,  and they will be able to guide you through the entire process and make you choose the right college for transfer.  

Next steps – The transfer

Once all the above pointers are assessed and confirmed, the next step is to begin with, the actual transfer process. 

  1. Discuss educational goals with an advisor at your current college
  2. Check for accreditation/articulation agreements and review application deadlines
  3. Consolidate all paperwork needed for transferring between colleges
  4. Connect with an admissions advisor at your prospective school
  5. Confirm transferable credits with the department offering your major and the admissions office
  6. Prepare and submit your application to the university/colleges

At times, it can be a tad intimidating to understand and execute all the steps involved in the college transfer. Here’s where University HUB has over a decade of expertise that you can certainly leverage to transfer to the college/university that best suits your needs and the changes anticipated. 

Student College Transfers in USA different culture

Financial aid from institutions and Federal Government

In some cases, if a student cannot complete the course on a given timeline due to the transfer, he/she might lose the financial aid from the providing institution. That said, with tedious planning and careful execution, students can stick to the original timeline and thereby the financial aid. 

Also, for students who receive financial aid through FAFSA, there should not be any problem because FAFSA will carry over the aid in most cases. That said, aids like Perkins loan and work-study funding are non-transferable.

When it comes to private or federal loans, you will lose certain perks due to the transfer. Federal loans are non-transferable and you gotta apply for a new one once you are admitted to the new college or university, and it’s subject to approval. In the case of private loans, you need to apply for deferment and join a new school within the next six months so you’ll still be in a grace period before you are asked to repay. 

Scholarships and Grants  

Some schools and private organizations provide scholarships and grants to students who transfer from community colleges to four-year colleges/universities. 

To secure a significant amount of scholarship, you need to excel in academics, athletics, or any deserving category. On the other hand, to receive grants from any federal government-recognized legitimate agencies you should prove that you are in dire financial need. Both scholarships and grants are provided to thousands of deserving students every year to reduce the burden of tuition fees. Listed below are a few scholarships available for transfer students to apply and earn: 

  1. Guistwhite Scholarship
  2. AICPA Foundation Two-Year Transfer School
  3. Tau Sigma Scholarships
  4. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship
  5. META Scholarships

Now that you have got a fair bit of understanding of the most important points you should know, try to reach out to counselors, seniors, and professors whenever needed. Experience always plays a key role in such complex procedures. Cheers!

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