Top Tips Transfer Admissions

Transfer Tips: Make the Most of Freshman Year

Are you working on your college transfer applications, or considering the transfer process? If so, you are not alone, and it’s not too late! Roughly 4 in 10 college students will transfer schools, sometimes more than once, in order to find the best fit. As March transfer deadlines rapidly approach, it’s important to stay organized as you tackle the many components of these applications (are your scores up to date? Have you created a transfer account with the Common App? Do you know how to request your transcripts?). As a potential transfer student, you won’t get the same benefit of the doubt as you did when you applied to college while in high school. Admissions officers want to see concrete evidence that you have made meaningful contributions to your current college and that you are working towards clear academic goals. With this in mind, here are 5 tips to ensure you’re making the most of freshman year to be a competitive transfer applicant!


  1. Go to Office Hours

If you’re currently enrolled in large, introductory classes, it may feel intimidating to visit your professor’s office. The best way to secure a glowing recommendation on your transfer applications, however, is to ensure your professors know who you are and can speak to the ways you’ve made an effort in their class, regardless of your current performance. Additionally, most professors include class participation/attendance as a percentage of your final grade, and a few visits to office hours is a great (and easy) way to boost this score. If your professor has office hours by appointment only, don’t hesitate to reach out and coordinate a convenient time to stop by and introduce yourself. You can think of a specific question about an assignment or simply continue a conversation that began in class. Whatever you do, do not use office hours to argue your grade or ask your professor why you didn’t earn an A. Your interactions with faculty should, above all, demonstrate your love of learning and not come across as grade grubbing.

TTA Tip: Not sure what to say during your meeting or how to begin your conversation? Do a quick Google search to find a recent article that relates to topics you’ve covered in class and bring it with you. Professors love to see how you’re making connections between their lectures and the “real world.”

  1. Stay Involved

After four years of high school, where you were kept busy with countless extracurricular activities and an overbooked class schedule, college may feel like the time to sit back and enjoy your free time. If you are unhappy at your current school and know you want to transfer, it may be especially difficult to motivate to join the community in a meaningful way. As part of your transfer application, however, you need to make the case that you have taken advantage of every opportunity available at your current institution. If possible, find ways to demonstrate leadership freshman year through academic clubs and research opportunities. The more you can do now to prove you’re a serious student on a specific academic path, the better!

  1. Seek Out Enrichment

Maybe you’re looking to transfer because your current college lacks the major that interests you most. Instead of giving up, or holding out for a new curriculum at a new school, use this winter to sign up for an online course. This demonstrates your academic commitment, your scholarly aptitude, and your willingness to find enrichment opportunities even when they’re not readily accessible on campus. Not sure where to start? We love Coursera, Yale Open Courseware, and the Great Courses.

  1. Don’t Forget the Paperwork

Most colleges accept the Common App for Transfer, which includes a number of forms you will need to complete as part of your application. Other schools (like Columbia) only take the Coalition Application and some schools (like Georgetown) use their own application portal. Be sure to plan accordingly and create accounts for these platforms. In terms of paperwork, some forms will need to be signed by college official(s) who have access to your academic and disciplinary records. This can take time, so don’t delay!

Double check each college’s transfer webpage for an exact list of application requirements, but you can anticipate needing to submit the following items:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official high school transcript
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Two instructor evaluations from faculty who have taught you at your current college
  • The College Report
    • Once you fill out your section of this report, you need to give the form to a dean, advisor, or other college official and ask them to complete the academic portion of the form.
  • The Midterm Report
    • After you complete all the relevant questions, you will need to give this form to instructors whose courses you are enrolled in at the time you file your application and ask them to provide a general indication of your performance, including your current grade and (if they wish) additional comments.
  1. Write Compelling Essays

Finally, after your scores and grades put you in range, your essays will set your application apart and improve your odds of admission. For transfer applicants, the essays play a particularly important role since they help demonstrate how serious you are about a particular school and the concrete ways you would contribute to a new college community. In other words, admissions officers want to know you would hit the ground running if they were to accept you.

TTA Tip: Our College Transfer Essay Program, works well for students who want to focus on the essays themselves. This package includes 5 or 10 hours of essay guidance with our Transfer Specialist.


Interested in transfer guidance? Not sure where to start? We would be happy to help you identify schools in range and guide you through the essay process. The Transfer Analysis and Guidance package includes an assessment of your admissions chances, a list of target schools, a personalized transfer report, a one-hour phone consultation, 3 hours of essay guidance, and the Top Tier Admissions Transfer e-Guide.

Questions? Contact us today!

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