Transferring Colleges

If you are planning on changing colleges, you are in good company. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that almost 60% of bachelor’s degrees are awarded to students who have attended more than one institution. 

Here are some tips that can make your transfer easier.

Plan Ahead

The sooner you start planning your transfer, the better. Find out who your advisor is and meet regularly about your plans and goals. Things to talk to your advisor about:

  1. Why transfer. Are you starting at a two-year college and planning on getting a bachelor’s degree? Is your campus too far from (or too close to) home? Do you want to pursue a major your campus doesn’t offer? Knowing the reasons for your transfer can help you and your advisor find the right institution to transfer to.
  2. Where I want to go. Once you know why you want to transfer, your advisor can help you find and prepare for the institution that will help you meet your goals. Different institutions have different requirements. Find out the process for transferring to your desired institution and make sure you meet all the deadlines.
  3. Courses to take. Not all courses are accepted by all institutions. While many institutions have transfer and articulation agreements to smooth the transition, it is always best to confirm that the courses you are taking now will earn you full credit at the school you transfer to.

There are a variety of websites that compile resources for transferring students, both on a national and state level. However, your advisor will be your best resource in planning your transition.

Determine Financial Need

The cost of higher education can include tuition, books, student fees, housing, food, transportation, and more. Figure out what your costs will be at your next institution. If you already receive financial aid, find out whether it will transfer with you. Many scholarships, loans, and grants are tied to particular institutions.

If you’ll need financial aid, talk to your advisor. Many institutions set aside funds specifically for transferring students. State or federal financial aid* may be available. You may also qualify for independent scholarships, grants, or loans. The Financial Aid for Two-Year College Students website has some resources that can help.

Get Involved

Just as you experienced culture shock starting college, you can expect to experience it again when you transfer. To help ease the transition, visit the campus before you transfer. Get to know where things are. Meet with students, faculty, and advisors so you can learn what to expect—and see some familiar faces when you transfer.

After you transfer, get involved in the campus ACS student chapter, study groups, or just hang out with your new classmates. While your studies are still important, getting involved on campus will help you adjust and make the most of your experience.


Additional Resources

Knowledge is power. The following resources can help you prepare to transfer colleges and give you more ideas to discuss with your advisor.

  • ACOnline*
    Focus on transferring to online schools, but with tools that support any type of transfer
  • Community College Review*
    Tips for smoothing the transfer process
  • College Transfer*
    Resources to help students plan and execute their transfer, by state and type of program
    Resources for transferring students, by participating states

Transfer Resources by State

Note: The following sites may not include complete information about student transfer, and some do not list all institutions of the state. We suggest consulting your advisor along with researching your institution’s requirements independently.

* These resources are provided for informational purposes only. Listing of a product or service on this website does not constitute an endorsement by ACS.

Contact ACS

Have a question? Want to suggest a resource? Email the ACS Undergraduate Programs Office.