How does the college transfer process work?

Transferring between colleges is a decision that many students face at some point in their academic career. In fact, about 37.2 percent of college students transfer at least once within six years. The reasons why students transfer colleges vary based on the student’s situation. 

Before you transfer schools, you should understand how the process works. Regardless of your current situation, this article will guide you through the college transfer process. 

You can transfer between colleges in a few easy steps:

  • Identify why you want to transfer
  • Discuss your plans with your academic advisor
  • Determine if all your credits are transferable
  • Start the college search (again)
  • Figure out the financial implications of going to another school
  • Gather all required information for your new college application
  • Apply
  • Keep your grades up
  • Confirm your spot

Identify why you want to transfer colleges

Before you decide to change schools, make sure to identify the reasons you should transfer. We know that transitioning into college life can be a bit intimidating. It takes some time to adjust, which is why many students prefer to do junior college first. Be sure to identify good reasons as to why you should transfer. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider transferring:

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  • Financial difficulties
  • Accelerated graduation
  • Trouble adjusting to the college life 
  • Difficult courses 
  • Saving on college tuition

Discuss your plans with your academic advisor

Most colleges have transfer advisors to help you through the process. They go over what classes you need to transfer and which ones will be transferable to your next school.

Some colleges work together, and sometimes, a lot of the courses are transferable between colleges. This is an excellent time to review your graduation readiness and determine what courses you need to graduate on time.

Determine if all your credits will transfer

Each university and college has its own rules about which credits are transferable. Usually, students can determine what credits will transfer by talking to their new school’s admissions or registrar’s office. Additionally, suppose you were already assigned an academic advisor. In that case, you can ask them if the classes that you took at another institution are transferable. 

Start the college search (again)

Searching for college may not be an exciting thing, but it will give you an idea of how you should base your search. Narrow down your search to schools that best reflect your areas of interest-based on the reasons you want to transfer.

Figure out the financial implications of going to another school

Go to the school’s website and find the tuition price. Most schools give tuition prices for transfer students. However, it’s important to note that your new school might come with additional costs — such as paying out of state tuition versus paying in-state tuition. When selecting a college, pay attention to what might change for you outside of your transfer credits. 

Gather all required information for your new college application

Schools will ask for a series of documents to determine if you’re a good fit for their institution. You may need to provide the following:

  • Most current and official academic transcript 
  • FAFSA information
  • Copy of legal documents (Social security and photo identification)
  • List of extracurricular activities

You can find out what sorts of documents you’ll need on the school’s admission page. Also, you can contact the school’s registrar or admissions office to learn more. Knowing what the school needs will help organize and speed up your college transfer process. 


Applying for college can be one of the most exciting and scariest things to do. Once you have completed all the steps, it’s time to apply. After you submit your college application, all there’s left to do is wait. 

Keep up your grades up

It’s crucial to maintain good academic standing while you wait for your college acceptance letter. Even if you know you’re transferring, it’s vital to keep your grades up. Your transcript will play an essential role in your application process. Therefore we need your classes to reflect your best effort. 

Confirm your spot

Congrats on getting accepted! It’s time to put down your deposit, confirming a spot in the new college. If you can’t afford the deposit fee, try reaching out to the school’s admission office. They may be able to waive the deposit fee if you can demonstrate the need for financial assistance. 

The transferring process is often tedious, especially between classes, so it’s essential to be patient. If you take all the necessary steps, everything will be just fine. Good luck on this new exciting journey!