The College Transfer Process
Transferring to another college is not like applying to college the first time. High school transcripts and test scores are less important, and are usually not even considered, than college transcripts; although some schools may ask for SAT or ACT scores as well. Getting good grades in college is the best way to prepare for transferring.
Colleges and universities have different policies for transfer students, but typically expect a minimum of credits. However, students with more than two years of college completed will not normally be able to transfer.
Transferring can impact intended graduation date or study abroad plans. Prospective transfers should be aware of a prospective transfer school’s rules which may vary. Not all classes or credits are transferable and some schools will not accept credit from a class with a grade below a C.
Recommendations from college professors are useful. Seek out professors with whom you have developed personal, positive relationships, especially ones within your academic discipline. If a professor agrees to your request for a letter of recommendation, it is a good idea to let him or her know how much it means. A thank-you note goes a long way towards making an overworked academic feel appreciated.
Be very careful with deadlines. Deadlines vary from school to school, though most applications need to be sent by March or April for transferring in the fall.
According to a 2010 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, about one third of college students, including those who start at community colleges, transfer to another school.
For the last semesters at the current institution students should select rigorous classes with serious academic content. Seminar-style courses with a small class size are ideal, so that good teacher relationships can be developed. The better a student knows a professors, the more personal and impactful that letter will be.
For those interested in transferring to the University of California, most transfer students come to UC from California community colleges. In fact, the University of California has admitted, on average, nearly 7 of every 10 California community college students who apply. The University of California works in partnership with the community colleges to make admission attainable for transfer students. UC gives California community college students priority over other transfer applicants, including those from four-year institutions and UC’s own intercampus transfers. It’s important that students are familiar with the minimum admission requirements and that students plan their community college program wisely by taking transferable courses and fulfilling general education requirements.
Students can use the Transfer Admission Planner to enter course work (completed and planned) from the beginning of their college careers, or at any point when they decide to transfer to a UC campus. The planner helps students track their progress toward meeting UC’s minimum requirements and allows UC staff to communicate important information to prospective transfer students. Students seeking a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) with one of the seven participating campuses (UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz) may apply using the online planner. Students must satisfactorily complete UC and campus-specific transfer admission requirements to be eligible for a TAG.