6 Questions to Ask When Transferring Colleges

by Naomi Mannino

So, you’ve found out that the college you picked either wasn’t the best fit, or you’ve built up credits elsewhere and are looking to find a new school that suits your goals. Reasons for transferring colleges can vary widely. The good news is, if you find yourself in this position, you’re not alone; transferring is a solution sought by many students. What’s important is making sure you’ve asked yourself the right questions before signing on the dotted line.

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about transferring colleges.

1. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The decision to transfer can be a tough one depending on your major and current situation. If you find class availability challenging at your current college, that might make for a good reason to transfer, explains Joe Vinatieri, associate director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Azusa Pacific University (APU). For example, if you’re a science major and you need to be in at least two lecture classes and two labs per semester to stay on track to graduate, but all the classes are full and you can’t seem to squeeze in your required courses, it might be time to consider other schools with more course availability so you don’t continue to run into this problem.

Size could be an issue as well. If you are attending a large college and you feel lost in the lecture halls with hundreds of students, this might be another sign it’s time to move on. Transferring to a college with small, intimate class sizes could get you the attention you need.

There are also a few good reasons to stay put at your college, according to Vinatieri. You may want to wait to raise your GPA to qualify for a specific scholarship or major offered at another school, or you may want to wait to complete specific courses required for transfer students.

2. Is My Major Offered?

Check a college’s website or contact their admissions office to make sure they offer your major. Also, confirm the major is available to transfer students. APU, for example, offers more than 60 majors on campus and all of them are available to transfer students except nursing. Check out the explanations of the courses offered to see if they suit where you want to go with your major.

3. Will My Courses Transfer?

Transferring units depends on the school you transfer to and from. “Schools vary on the maximum number of transfer credits they allow (and the minimum number they require),” explains the College Affordability Guide. Some even require a minimum grade. It’s important you do some research and talk to the admissions office at your current school and the schools you are thinking about applying to. Also, take advantage of the different tools schools offer to help you make the transfer process easier. For example, APU offers transfer plans as well as an advisement tool called Transferology to help guide you.

4. Are Scholarships Available for Transfer Students?

According to U.S. News & World Report, “Seventy-seven percent of colleges reported that they provide merit scholarships to transfer students.” So your chances are good. APU offers three levels of scholarships ranging from $12,000 to $19,000 per year for qualified transfer students.

5. How Long Will It Take to Graduate?

This will depend on how many courses you’ve completed and how many of your completed courses transfer. Typically, if you transfer with all of your general education courses completed, for most majors, it usually takes two years to graduate.

“The year you transfer does not really matter for most majors, so if you find it hard to get the classes you need each semester at your current college, transferring sooner rather than later can help you stay on track to graduate on time,” says Vinatieri.

6. Do I Need a Certain Amount of Units to Transfer?

Again, this will vary between schools. APU allows students to transfer with as little as one semester of college work behind them all the way up to accepting 70 units from a community college and up to 90 units coming from an accredited four-year university and community college combination.

Think it over carefully and talk to an advisor to be sure that transferring now is a confident decision that will move your college career forward.