How to Transfer Colleges Successfully and Stay on Track to Graduate

by Ana Felce

There are many valid reasons why students choose to transfer colleges at some point in their academic career. Whether it’s to advance from community college to a four-year university, to move closer to family, or any other reason, it’s important for students to find the school that’s the right fit for them.

Making the decision to continue at a new university requires significant forethought, and figuring out how to transfer colleges can be confusing. If you’ve decided that attending another university is the right choice for you, it’s important to plan your transfer process so you can still graduate on time. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Pay Attention to Transfer Deadlines

Universities will have different deadlines for individuals applying as transfer students. You should make a point to research these dates and use them as a guideline for planning your transfer application. Each school will require various documents (such as an application, official transcript, an essay, or letters of recommendation). Remember, if you’re missing any documents by the transfer deadline, you might have to wait until the following semester to transfer colleges.

“The best thing that any community college student can to do is put together a clear transfer path and timeline,” says Peter Lujan, assistant director of transfer recruitment at Azusa Pacific University. “If a student knows that they want to transfer, their next step is to figure out where they want to transfer to. Then, they should reach out to the school’s admissions office to speak with an admissions counselor about their transfer options.”

By planning your transfer with the submission deadline in mind, sending in your documents well before that date, and connecting with an admissions counselor, you’ll not only have a smoother experience but you could potentially increase your chances of being accepted.

Maintain Your Grades

The moment you decide you want to transfer is not the time to slack on your academics at your current college. Even once you transfer, your grades from that school will still impact your final GPA at the end of your college journey. Your graduation will be a reflection of all your hard work—so when you transfer, you will want your grades to accurately reflect your efforts from your entire undergraduate experience.

Additionally, some universities might consider your grades from previous (and current) semesters when reviewing your transfer application. Keeping up your grades to the best of your ability will show your desired college that you’re a student they would be happy to accept!

Request Letters of Recommendation from Professors

Letters of recommendation from your current college professors will hold more weight when you’re applying to transfer between schools. High school teacher recommendations are fine when applying to college for the first time, but having a recommendation from a college professor will more accurately illustrate your college work ethic and ability to handle the higher-level thinking required of university students.

Determine How Many Credits Will Transfer Over

It’s important to review your target school’s transfer policies and, if possible, speak with a representative or counselor for personalized help in figuring out how many of your current school’s credits will transfer. Tools like Transferology can also help you calculate which courses will retain credit and which ones you’ll still need to take in order to graduate. Receiving course credit for as many classes as possible will help you graduate on time and avoid any unexpected costs.

At Azusa Pacific University, admissions counselors can help students navigate how to transfer colleges by working with them to transfer credits and complete the application process via the Undergraduate Enrollment Services Center (One Stop). Better yet, students at a number of partner community colleges can benefit from a guaranteed pathway to transfer with the completion of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), making the college transfer process even easier for potential APU students.

“Many students do not take full advantage of the services that are offered by university admissions offices,” Lujan notes. “At APU, each student who submits an application is assigned to their own transfer counselor. Our transfer counselors are available to assist students with questions about how their units transfer over, help them break down and understand their financial aid offers, connect them with representatives within their major, and answer any other questions about APU or transferring in general.”

Are you interested in transferring to Azusa Pacific University or completing the ADT? Learn more about the different campus locations where you could transfer.

More About Transferring

6 Questions to Ask When Transferring Colleges

What to Consider as a College Transfer

What to Do If Your Child Is Interested in Transferring Colleges