Alternative Pathway to Get into Your Dream College
by Sara Chan | Education Consultant & Admissions Counselor
Choosing a college for the freshman year is especially difficult these years and a backup plan may certainly make students feel less nervous about the admissions. The pandemic has brought intensified anxiety to the college applicants. The SAT, ACT test dates have been canceled, most of the top colleges have changed to test-optional, high school graduates decided to take a gap year in 2020 and defer their application, the knock-on-effect may change the admissions in a couple of years. Do you have a backup plan if you do not get accepted into your ideal college? A 2+2 transfer plan might be an option for students who couldn’t get an offer or being deferred from the Early Decision (ED) and don’t have an absolute confidence on being admitted by those ideal colleges from your school list.
Are Transfers common?
Transfers are more common than you might think. According to the research Transfer & Mobility – 2015 reported by National System Clearinghouse Research Center, “[…] over one third (37.2 percent) transferred to a different institution at least once […]before receiving a bachelor’s degree. […] Counting multiple moves, the students made 2.4 million transitions from one institution to another from 2008 to 2014”. Furthermore, UC Berkeley did a survey, The Success and Satisfaction of Community College Transfer Students at UC Berkeley back in 2010, showing every year almost ⅓ of the college students newly enrolled undergraduates at UC Berkeley are transfer students, so you would not be the first one who makes this decision.
When should students transfer & What should students be aware of?
The four years spent as an undergraduate at a university are typically known as the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. Students who wish to transfer would apply for another university at the beginning of the sophomore year and transfer in their Junior year. Here are some tips for those of you who perhaps did not receive acceptance from your ideal school or program and would like to take this route as a second attempt at entering your ideal schools.
- Check whether your prospective school accepts transfer students
Not all schools have room for transfer students due to the campus’s capacity or policies. Columbia University’s transfer rate is usually fewer than 10% each year, however, state universities are often more equipped to accept large numbers of transfer applicants. UCLA, for instance, accepted 6,306 transfer students in 2020 and the transfer rate is 24%.
- Old GPA does not transfer but a strong GPA is still required to get into your ideal school
Students will need to get the transcript from the current college and send it to the prospective transfer schools. Therefore, students need to maintain a good grade & GPA over the 2 years and fulfill all the application requirements. For UCs, one of the minimum requirements is an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 in all transferable college-level coursework.
- Students are required to have a minimum number of transferable credits before transferring
To become a qualified transfer student, students are required to have a minimum of transferable credits. Be aware of the policies at your prospective transfer school, not all classes/credits are transferable, and some schools would not accept credit from a class if you earned below a C. For instance, UCs require a minimum of 60 UC-transferable semester units (90 UC-transferable quarter units), and Columbia University requires students must have completed or be registered for 24 points of credit before transferring. The requirement, tuition fee, and deadline, etc. For students who are transferring from out of state might be slightly different than in-state. Hence, students should be familiar with all the transfer requirements from your prospective transfer schools.
As the college admissions trends and the pandemic have heightened uncertainty, transferring is one of your best options as a backup plan. In any case, transferring can offer you an opportunity to find your dream school and you could find yourself in a field that is better for your future career aspirations. It is not about planning to fail, it’s about planning an alternate path to success. Therefore, with proper research, preparation, and consideration of the pros and cons, transferring could be a right decision for you and set you up for your future success.
Ms. Sara Chan
Admissions Counselor / Education Consultant
Member of NACAC
BA in Communication Studies, UC San Diego
- A passionate carer to students
- Easy to understand the difficulties facing by the students and families with different backgrounds
- Understand the know-hows and feelings from students who seek for transfer opportunities
- Her motto: “Little Things That Make A Big Difference”
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