What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

You should be aware of the numbers required so you'll be qualified. A valid reason for the transfer is obvious, and hopefully an on campus interview to solidify it and make one acceptable.

Scott Herrmann-Keeling
College Counselor

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Colleges may have very specific needs when it comes to admitting transfers. Depending on the school, the year, and the semseter, there may be very real factors constraining the transfer admission process. For example, a school may be out of financial aid to award. It may not have any housing left to offer. It may need to fill a particular spot on a roster in a certain sport. These factors can change from semester to semester and year to year. If there's a certain school you're most interested in, it pays to learn as much as you can about that school's transfer process.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Colleges are looking for the same qualities in transfer students as they are in first-time students. It's important that transfer students are both an academic and social fit for the school, and that they have a genuine interest in the programs being offered. Transfer students should also be able to show demonstrated academic success at their previous institution.

Rebecca Joseph
Executive Director & Founder getmetocollege.org

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Colleges want transfer students who can ease right into the community. They want transfer students to have been doing well at their original campus. They want students who are exploring different fields and beginning to immerse themselves in major classes. They want students who are engaged on and off campus. They also want students who have formed a connection with a professor or two and expect students to use their summers after senior year and after the first year of college well. They want students to work, intern, or study. THEY ultimately want happy, engaged kids. I know that's hard for some kids. But that's what campuses want, and I see the great results all the time.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Essentially colleges are looking for the same things they look for when admitting first time freshman. Even if you are transferring between your sophomore and junior years, expect colleges to ask for all of your high school credentials—SAT / ACT scores, transcripts, etc. Colleges want to know if you are academically able to do the work. They will want to see your college grades and will evaluate the degree of difficulty both in your course selection and in where you earned the credits. Be prepared to put as much or more time and effort into your application as you would have in high school.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What are colleges looking for when admitting a transfer student?

Transfer admission counselors are looking for much the same criteria as regular admissions counselors. Work already completed at another college will play a larger role than the high school transcript at this point. Rationale for transferring also needs to be sound and logical. Fifty percent of college students transfer at some point in their college career, so it is more common than most realize. Good luck with the transition!