By Sharon McLaughlin, <a href="http://www.headforcollege.com" target="_blank">McLaughlin Education Consulting</a>As the fall semester is hitting the midterm, you may be one of the many students who are beginning to reevaluate their college choice. If you are considering transferring to another college or university, preparation is key to transferring without trauma. The transfer process is similar to the application process for incoming freshmen; however there are extra steps and concerns for transfer students. First determine for which semesters the college accepts transfer students. Although many colleges and universities accept transfer students for fall and spring semesters, many limit transfers to fall semesters only. Your intended major may determine whether you may transfer in the spring term. This is often the situation with programs such as nursing and other healthcare majors, due the cycle of course offerings. Alternatively, you may be accepted to the college for spring, but your acceptance to your program/major might be for the fall. You will also need to know what the application deadlines are for transfer students. These may be different than those for incoming freshmen students. If you received financial aid at your current college, you may need to update your FAFSA and CSS Profile information to allow the college to which you are transferring to receive your FAFSA and Profile data, to ensure prompt processing of your financial aid at that institution. Any spring disbursements of financial aid, including loans that you received at your original college, will be cancelled. You will need to re-apply for loans for the new college. Some financial aid, such as Pell Grants and state scholarships, may be portable. This means that if you received the aid at one college and transfer within the same academic year, funds follow the student. Letters of recommendation will need to be updated. You will want to include at least one letter from a college professor or advisor to provide insight in to your prior college experience and success. You will need to submit an official copy of your college transcript and potentially a copy of your SAT or ACT test scores. Generally, your college transcript alone is required. However, if you are transferring less than an academic year’s worth of credit, your SAT or ACT scores may be required as well. Before you accept an admissions offer as a transfer student, be sure to get an official transfer credit review. The Registrar’s Office will perform the review. Typically, if you receive a grade of C or better and the content of the courses you have taken parallel that of the accepting college, the credits will be accepted for transfer. But beware, as that is not always the case. If you are thinking of taking any courses prior to transferring, have those courses evaluated as well, before you spend the money and time on courses that are not transferable. Lastly, determine when the transfer admissions decisions are announced. Fall transfer decisions are typically sent out between February and May, while Spring transfer decisions are sent out October through mid-December. Follow these steps when transferring and your transfer experience will be trauma-free.