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The Do’s and Don’ts of Transfer Applications

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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.

Transferring schools is like tackling a beast. From essays, sending transcripts, recommendations, and college reports, it can be an overwhelming process depending on how many schools you are applying to.

In this blog, I am going to be providing tips and tricks to help you successfully manage the transfer process.

DO your research on the schools

This tip may seem like an obvious one, but it is important to research not only the school itself but also the deadlines for application and financial aid. Typically, transfer deadlines are later during the academic year, around January-May, with some scattered in the summer at the latest.

It is important to take note of all deadlines, including priority deadlines, as these will offer the best chances for merit and need-based aid scholarships.

Make a list or a spreadsheet of all the deadlines, requirements, etc. that are needed for the individual schools. Colleges and universities have different requirements, so it is imperative to take note of what you need and when to submit it by.

DON’T talk badly about your previous institution(s)

While it is important to highlight your reason for transferring, talking badly about your current or previous institutions can be seen as unprofessional. One way to combat this is talking about what attracts you to their college. It can be their emphasis on undergraduate research, the program you are looking to participate in, and/or the extracurricular opportunities you hope to join.

Another way to combat this issue is discussing that your interests have changed and you are looking for more opportunities. For example, this can be that you are looking to pursue a different program or that you changed your major while in your current institution.

What To Know About Transferring Colleges

DO have recommendations with professors in your intended major

As recommendations play a role in any admissions process, it can be beneficial for transfer applicants to ask professors who are in your current major. If you are looking to go into the same program at a new university, having a professor that can speak on your passions, performance in your major classes, and overall involvement can help be a way to stand out in your application.

If the major you are intending to pursue is different from your current one, you can still ask professors who know you well in the classroom and can speak on your overall academic performance. 

DON’T rush your applications

Rushing through essays and applications is never the answer. Also, scrambling to find letters of recommendations a week before the deadline is not the way to go.

Give yourself enough time for each application and give it the attention it deserves. For letters of recommendation, I recommend having at least 3-4 professors and giving them at minimum four weeks before the deadline. Ideally, the sooner the better. 

While it is important to submit your applications if there is a priority deadline (which I highly recommend for the best chance for scholarship opportunities), it is important to not rush through an application for the sake of submitting it first.

Similarly, starting an application a week before the deadline with no recommendations or essays started will cause you immense stress and anxiety. Plan early and make sure to dedicate enough time to each application. 

DO take your time, it’s not a race

This goes along with the previous tip but taking your time to have your essays proofread and all your documentation sent and checked off will make your life a lot easier. There is no prize for submitting your application early if your essays are not proofread and no documentation has been sent out.

This is where creating a checklist and outlining a schedule is crucial. Having a plan to work on essays, send documentation, and make revisions can make the difference between a good application and a strong application.

Also, remember that while this is an incredibly stressful process, take time for yourself. Doing applications and essays all day, every day can burn you out and detract you from your schoolwork.

Take time away from the applications and focus on your schoolwork, but also schedule in time to have fun and do your hobbies.

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Author: Nicholas Enoch

Nicholas is a sophomore International Relations and Professional Writing major currently attending Goucher College in Towson, Maryland. He is a recent graduate from the Community College of Baltimore County where he received multiple full ride awards to colleges across Maryland. When he is not making content for Niche, he is busy learning 4 languages, binge watching TV shows on Hulu, and working out and trying new yoga exercises in his living room.