Transferring 101 – The Guidelines to Successful

Transferring 101
Transferring 101

Transferring soon? Then the following information can help you make a smooth transition into a 4-year college/university. Planning ahead is essential for a successful transfer student. The transfer application consists of: an application through or the school’s website, official high school and college transcripts, official SAT/ACT test scores, transfer essay and college-specific supplements, interview or audition, counselor official’s form, instructor evaluation(s), mid-term report, and the secondary school final report – grades still matter even if you were accepted before the quarter ends. Nevertheless, specific schools may have different requirements, so it would be smart to go to each school’s website and find out their requirements for applying.

The following steps will help guide you through the time-consuming transferring process.

Step 1: Create a list of the school(s) that you wish to apply to and jot down their application deadlines – for international students, the deadlines may differ. The key is to plan ahead! Make sure to visit their websites for the application they use, whether it’s their own application or the Common Application. Also, speaking with a counselor before you start your transfer application can be helpful.

Step 2: The Transfer Application. The Common Application on is currently used by 390 educational institutions. The information you enter on your first application will show up for all the other schools you apply to using the Common Application – which saves a lot of time. For the application part, personal information is required such as: your name, address, what school’s you’ve attended, any awards/honors you’ve received, and your positions in extracurricular activities. (This may be the easiest part of the application as you are simply inserting your own information into the blanks.) Even schools that don’t use the Common Application have the same format in which you are required to provide your personal information. The Common Application is relevant to both those considering transferring to out-of-state school(s) as well as in state. Although many colleges/universities prefer that you submit your application online, paper applications are available as well.

Step 3: Official Transcripts and Official Standardized Test Scores. Both official high school and official college transcripts are required for many schools. However, if you have been out of high school for a long time and they are no longer available, a photocopy is acceptable with a letter attached explaining your circumstance. The SAT, SAT II and ACT are standardized tests which are required to be sent directly from the test center. You may do so through and However, these scores may not be required or considered if you are transferring after you have obtained your AA degree from Bellevue College. For international students other official test scores are required – such as the TOEFL. If you took any AP (Advanced Placement) and/or IB (International Baccalaureate) tests, a score of 3, 4, or 5 for most AP tests and a score of 5 or higher on higher level IB tests are eligible for credit at your transfer school. These scores must also be sent directly from the test centers to your school of choice.

Step 4: The Transfer Essay and College-Specific Supplements. All transfer schools will require a transfer essay and some forms of supplements related to the major you apply to. This is by far the most difficult part of the transfer application; your essay(s) will require rigorous revising and peer-editing. Two great resources on campus for these pieces are English professors, and the writing lab on campus, which provide extensive help. One factor that’s important when writing your essay and supplements is sounding ‘like yourself’ – using vocabulary that you don’t normally as well as using humor won’t help bring out your character to the admission officers.

Step 5: Recommendations. Make sure your counselor and instructor(s) are given the documentation they need – well in advance, so they have plenty of time to write you a good, well thought out recommendation. It is also a wise idea to provide them with your unofficial transcript, resume, and or a list of your awards and extracurricular activities to assist them in this task. (At the very least, a two-week notice is required and about a month in advance notice would be great.)

Step 6: Housekeeping Items: mid-term report, secondary school report, interviews, auditions, and portfolios. Some schools require mid-term and secondary school reports as a-part of the full transfer application. These reports are designed for schools to keep track of your academic status after your application has been submitted. If your grades started falling after you clicked the nerve-wrecking “submit” button, you’d have to have a good reason – not an excuse, as to why your grades suddenly dropped. Therefore, grades do matter – even when you’re done with submitting your application! Make sure to pay attention to the deadlines for these reports as they vary for every school. An on-campus, or alumni interview, may be required for some schools, but those are usually only for out-of-state institutions. Portfolios and auditions are usually required for art and performance student admissions; again, plan ahead so that you don’t miss the deadlines!

In the long run, transfer applications are daunting, but if you plan ahead and work your way through, it’ll lead you to a smooth transition to the next stepping stone in life.