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All About Guaranteed Transfer Agreements

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This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

If you are starting on your path to higher education at a local community college with the plan to earn your Associate’s Degree and then transfer for your Bachelor’s Degree, you have an advantageous opportunity as you begin your transfer application process.

Outside of saving money on tuition, studying in smaller class sizes, and having more flexibility in scheduling your courses, as a community college student, you may be eligible for preliminary acceptance to a 4-year university. This is called the guaranteed transfer agreement or the TAG program.

Changing colleges can be a difficult and straining process, but choosing to transfer by using the guaranteed transfer agreement takes away the anxiousness of applying to several schools and facing acceptances or rejections.

The agreement is a partnership between a select number of public and private 4-year universities and community colleges where those graduating with their Associate’s Degree can transition into a university and receive their Bachelor’s Degree. 31 states have colleges participating in this agreement.

Choosing the TAG program is a perfect option for eligible students who already know what their dream school is. The agreement gives you the chance to attend schools that you may have previously been discouraged to apply to because of their competitive acceptance rates, which for transfer students differs compared to applying as a first year student.

Some colleges have a higher acceptance rate for incoming transfer students than first-time students, and others offer just a handful of spaces for those coming from other colleges.

The TAG program is a direct pathway for students to gain automatic acceptance to a school without the competition, but, in turn, it requires you to fulfill specific prerequisites to qualify.

In order to be considered for the guaranteed transfer agreement, you need to have once attended or currently study at a community college. You will then need to fill out and submit a transfer application to a participating 4-year, public or private institution.

It is possible to transfer as early as after your first semester, but if you are considering utilizing the TAG program just know that you will only be able to do so after you have earned enough credits to become a sophomore as you will be entering as a junior at your transfer university.

Things To Know About Transferring Colleges

Similar to applying as a first-year student, a transfer application is composed of an official transcript from your current school, extracurricular activities, and supplemental essays.

While some universities may also request your standardized test scores (SAT/ACT), many colleges have temporarily suspended or removed the use of test scores for consideration in their application reviews since the pandemic caused a large number of schools to become test optional. Thankfully, both the Common App and Coalition App support transfer applications and have a separate portal for you to apply through.

Not every college offers guaranteed transfers for community college students entering a 4-year university, but those who do have their own criteria to qualify. Visit your intended transfer college’s website first to see if they participate in the guaranteed transfer agreement and what their specific requirements are.

In general, you have to be applying to a school within the state you attended community college. Few schools do extend the TAG program to out-of-state universities like the California Community College system, which offers guaranteed transfers to an abundance of Historically Black Colleges (HBCU) from across the country to its students.

Throughout your time in college, you must complete specific coursework related to your prospective studies at your intended transfer school while maintaining a minimum grade point average.

For example, The College of William and Mary requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 on a 4.0 scale and the submission of a letter of intent – located on their website – for students transferring through the Virginia Community College System. Applicants should receive their Associate’s Degree, earning a minimum of 45 credit hours that does not include AP, IB, or Dual Enrollment credits from secondary school, before officially enrolling in either the Fall or Spring semester.

I urge you to regularly schedule time to meet with your designated school advisor once you decide you will be applying as a guaranteed transfer to make sure you are taking the appropriate classes, upholding the required GPA, and attaining all of the credits needed to be eligible.

Furthermore, I strongly recommend contacting an admissions officer from your intended transfer school for any additional questions about the TAG program and general concerns about transferring to their school before you submit your application.

If you are unable to meet the long list of requirements needed to gain automatic acceptance to a 4-year university as a community college student through the guaranteed transfer agreement, you still have a chance at attending as a transfer student.

Your transfer application will instead go through a holistic application review by the university’s admissions team, where they will compare your academics, extracurricular activities, and other factors to the rest of the applicant pool. This option does not give you a definite spot at a school, but allows you to apply to multiple institutions both in and out-of-state.

No matter how you plan to approach your transfer application, deciding to transfer is a major step towards advancing your education. Strive to be the best student you can be and reach out to your school advisor and administration for assistance on transferring colleges.

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Author: Sophia Bangura

Virtual High School '22 read, write, repeat (in that order)!