Top 10 Transfer Application Tips

The transfer application deadline for many highly selective colleges, including all of the Ivy League colleges, is either March 1st or March 15th. Brown, Columbia, DartmouthHarvard, Princeton, and Yale have March 1 deadlines, while Cornell and UPenn have March 15 deadlines. With odds lower than even the early or regular rounds, transferring schools can be a daunting process. Read on for our top tips to help make even the oftentimes stressful transfer application process more transparent!

Now, down to the nitty gritty…


1) Dig Deep and Ask Yourself WHY: Just throwing in a transfer application because you miss your girlfriend or you have to study way harder than you anticipated is not a compelling reason to transfer. Make a clear list, yes bring on a legal pad and pen, and be honest with yourself. This exercise has helped many students we’ve worked with decide to either make the most of where they are or pull it together and create a strong application elsewhere.

transfer application plan

2) Write a Compelling Essay: Show (don’t tell) why you are hoping to transfer. That’s the #1 question on an admissions officer’s mind, “Why is this applicant unhappy at his/her current college and what is it he/she can bring to our school?” Need help? We got you.

3) Do Your Research: Admit rates at very top colleges for transfer students are much lower than typical freshman acceptance rates. Think about it, students at Harvard aren’t typically interested in leaving which is why Harvard’s transfer rate is typically less than 1%.   University of Virginia, however, has more like 35-40% acceptance rate for transfer students. It varies a lot school by school but generally the very top schools are all near impossible.

4) Understand the Common Application: This isn’t going to help you this application round, but in August 2018 The Common App is rolling out a new application for transfer students. You will have to leverage the existing Common Application, so get to know it fast!

5) Will Your Credits Transfer: Each school makes their own decisions on which prior college credits they will honor. You may have to make a few phone calls to a specific school’s registrar’s office to find out if they will indeed take your accrued college credits. This might be a game changer for a specific school on your list. Knowledge is power so we recommend finding out before applying.

6) Major Considerations: Will the schools you are interested in transferring to have similar major requirements? Are there core requirements for that major that you don’t have? Again, knowledge is critical. Email the department administrator, for instance, if you want more specifics that aren’t readily available on the department’s website.

transfer application deadline

7) Educate Yourself: We have your back. Click and GO.

8) Community Impact: With super-low transfer admission rates, the admissions office will be very choosy and look for students who will add interesting dimensions to the student community. Even if you’re only part-way through your first year, show how you’ll contribute. Focus on your unique perspectives and experiences.

9) Recommendations Matter: It may be awkward to ask faculty members, advisors or deans for recommendations, especially since you are looking to transfer, but make time to talk to them and ask for a recommendation. You’re most likely to be asked why you want to transfer. Be sure you can answer this question in a thoughtful way.

10) Stay Engaged: With exceptionally low rates of admission for transfer students, you need to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities at your current institution in the event that your transfer application is not successful. Stay on top of all academic deadlines and requirements, seek out interesting organizations and activities, and get to know your faculty and classmates.

We are here to help you take a breath, gain important knowledge and create a transfer plan that works for you!

One Comment

  1. rohit aggarwal Says :

    Posted on July 15, 2019 at 2:18 am

    thanks for the information

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