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2/1/2021: Transferring Colleges

Updated: Feb 2

Happy New Year! I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy.


Welcome to my blog! I have been hesitant to start blogging but, ultimately, my desire to share knowledge that some might find useful won out over my fear of technology. Embracing challenge is something I encourage my clients to do as they head into the college application process, so I’m heeding my own advice and jumping in. And just as my clients do with each of their college application essays, I’ve been trying to “write without fear (and) edit without mercy”!

To start, I’ll share some news. I’m happy to report that I recently completed my official certification in Independent Educational Consulting from UC Irvine! Through this program, I learned new and valuable ways in which to better assist my clients, from providing up-to-date financial aid and scholarship guidance, to optimizing the college research and list-making process, to helping with gap year planning.

One area in which I have expanded my knowledge considerably is in helping students who are looking to transfer from one college or university to another. Transferring has become a popular option, especially during this pandemic. So, for this first blog post, let’s focus on the college transfer application process.


Why transfer?

I see students seeking transfers for several reasons. Sometimes, they initially enroll in community college and plan to transfer to a four-year college for junior year. (FYI, both Colorado and California have specific articulation agreements which outline exactly how to transfer from community college into four-year public/state institutions).

Other students enroll in a four-year college, but it is not the right fit for them, either academically or socially or for a myriad of other reasons. Maybe they want to be closer to home, or maybe they want to explore a different part of the country.

Whatever the reason behind the transfer, I can help students identify exactly what they are looking for in a new college, then assist them on a fresh college search to get them to that best-fit school.


When can a student transfer?

Depending on the college, a student should be able to transfer in as a new sophomore or a new junior.


Is it too late to submit transfer applications for Fall of 2021?

Most college transfer applications are not due until March at the earliest. However, if the student is just starting now, he or she would need to prioritize the application process above all else for the next four weeks. In addition to asking for transcripts and teacher recommendations as soon as possible, the applicant will be busily writing AND editing those essays!

One noteworthy exception is the UC system: https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/applying-as-a-transfer/

UC’s transfer and first-year applicants all follow the same timeline, so their deadline is actually November 30.


What does a typical transfer application entail?

Transfer applications generally resemble first-year applications. Usually, the applicant must submit both high school and college transcripts, as well as a list of extracurricular activities (or resume), letter(s) of recommendation and essay(s). Essay prompts ask students to explain why they are seeking a transfer to that particular institution, and what they can contribute to their college community. Test scores (ACT or SAT) are sometimes required for transfer students, although these are generally not as important as they are for first-year applicants. With the current COVID-19 situation, most schools have gone test optional temporarily, so while private colleges and universities will review applications holistically, grades and course rigor are the two most important factors in the transfer context for almost all colleges.

Fortunately, many colleges and universities have higher acceptance rates for transfer students than they do for first-year applicants, and depending on the institution, financial aid and merit scholarships may be available for transfers. However, be aware that some private colleges are not as generous financially with transfers as they are with first-year applicants.


Whether your student is interested in transferring from community college to four-year college, or from one four-year college to another, I would love to help your family! I have both hourly and comprehensive package pricing available. Please reach out for your free 30-minute consult for more details about transferring or anything else regarding the college admission process: celia@laurelcc.com.



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