Whether you are a high school student planning on transferring in the future, or a current college student looking to change your experience, there are things every student should know before beginning the transfer process. College admissions can seem daunting, but when you are prepared for your transfer process, you can navigate and build your college experience to suit your own needs. Here is some information on how to be prepared for the application process, take two!
1. You’re in Good Company!
If you feel alone in the need to change schools, you should know that thousands of students transfer institutions every year. If you search the web for statistics on how many students in the U.S. choose to transfer, you will be surprised to know that it is not unusual to switch schools for various reasons. I have met with many students who are distressed that their first choice of school did not work out, and then seen these same students become successful student leaders who participate in clubs, activities, and internships in their new environment.
2. Take Ownership!
If you are choosing to transfer schools, take ownership of the process to find out which schools and majors best fit your needs. Be sure to research and contact schools for transfer requirements and deadlines, write your own emails, and craft your application from your experiences. Seek out help and advice and always have a proof-reader available – but remember education is a personal process, so own it! Use your experiences thus far to know what you are looking for in a school. One size does not fit all in education, so be your own advocate.
3. Find Out About Transfer Credit Early On.
This is one of the most important pieces of the transfer process. Do your best not to “just take a few classes” and assume they will meet another college’s degree requirements. Your top choice school may have specific courses required for their students. Transfer articulation information can often be found online through an institution’s website or resources like PA TRAC or NJ Transfer which can help you know ahead of time what your courses will equal at a new institution. When in doubt, contact the school directly. Remember, you are paying for each course you take; maximize your investment by doing your research ahead of time.
4. Community College, Articulation Agreements, and Transfer Relationships.
Going to a community college can be an excellent way to start your college career. You can always contact a two-year or four-year institution to see what relationships exist, which credits will transfer, and if there is scholarship money to be awarded! You can take advantage of existing relationships established between partnership schools, and the resources of both institutions. This option is an excellent financial and academic choice for any student. Check out SJU’s Articulation Agreement partners!
5. Keep Finances in Mind!
Know that as a transfer student, there are often scholarships and financial assistance available. Seek out this information through contact with the schools you are applying to, searching resources in your community, and also by keeping your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) up-to-date. Regardless of family income, it is encouraged for students to file the FAFSA in order to make sure you are doing all you can to finance your education. Make sure you pay attention to how many courses and credits have transferred, how your FAFSA and scholarships are helping your cost of attendance, and how much time it will take you to complete your degree after transferring institutions.
Remember, many colleges have Transfer Counselors who are dedicated to advising students and guiding them based on their specific experiences and goals. There are resources at your current school, community colleges, and the schools on your wish list. We are here to help guide you, so seek us out!
Melissa English is an Associate Director of Admission at Saint Joseph’s University. She graduated from Saint Joseph’s in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree and in 2010 with a Masters of Science. Melissa has worked at Saint Joseph’s for nine years with freshman and transfer students.