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5 Facts on Transferring to Another College

a group of transfer students wait to enter their college class

If you’re thinking about transferring to a new college or university, you’re not alone. As many as 40 percent of all college students transfer to another school at least once during their education journey. But that’s not to say it’s always an easy process.  

You need accurate facts and trustworthy advice to make the right decisions. In this article, we share some of that essential information about the transfer process. We discuss what you can expect when transferring credits, how transferring impacts your GPA, what you’ll need to do to retain your financial aid after transferring, and more.  

Check out this list of things you should know before transferring, and then log into Appily or create an account to research schools and find and save scholarships. 


Know These Facts Before Your Transfer 

Fact #1- Some colleges have a better transfer acceptance rate than others 

You might have heard that it’s difficult to get into college as a transfer student. That can be true for some of the private and prestigious universities, like Ivy League schools. But there are other colleges that accept more transfer students than they do incoming freshmen each year.  

For this reason, it pays to research schools before applying for transfer admissions. If you’re at a community college, you should have a dedicated transfer advisor available to support you. Even if you don’t, you can do some simple research to find these schools.  

Start a new college search by making a list of schools – just as you did when you were an incoming freshman. Look at each of your selected school’s transfer acceptance rates to gauge how competitive the admission process will be. 

To simplify this process, you can use Appily to build your list and compare acceptance rates right in the platform. Appily will organize your list for you when you “like” or add schools you’re considering to your list. Appily will even give you curated recommendations based on what you’re looking for in a college. 

Get and store all the information you need in one place by clicking the button below.  



For context on acceptance rates, a school like Princeton has a transfer acceptance rate of less than one percent. The University of Texas Austin’s in-state transfer acceptance rate is 38 percent, and the University of Virginia’s transfer acceptance rate ranges between 35-40 percent.  

Also, knowing what admissions officers look for in a transfer student application can be helpful. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), your overall GPA and grades in the college courses you’ve taken are considered more important than your performance in your high school classes. This is excellent news for students who didn’t do as well in high school as they’d hoped.  

Fact #2- Transferring to another college can cause you to lose credits 

It’s a well-known fact that when you transfer from one college to another, you might lose some credits in the process. One government study showed that students transferring schools lost up to 43% of their credits. (It’s important to note that students transferring from one public school to another did better than those transferring between private institutions).   

If you think you’ll transfer at some point, talk to your advisor about credit transfer policies and your intended major for the schools you’re looking at. If you are still uncertain, reach out to the admission or transfer advisor at the new schools to be sure you know what to expect. With a bit of upfront planning, you will be in a better position to navigate the credit transfer process later.  

Fact #3- Transferring to another college can impact your financial aid 

Many factors go into determining financial aid eligibility, including the school’s tuition and the program you’re enrolled in. So, unfortunately, your financial aid eligibility could change if you change schools.  

Additionally, if you lose credits when you transfer, your financial aid may not pay for the repeated or made-up courses. For this reason, we recommend speaking with your financial aid advisers about the impact of transferring to determine if you’ll be eligible for aid at your new college.  

If you can transfer your aid, you’ll need to work closely with both schools to do it. That will likely include updating your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) if your new school participates in federal student aid programs. Too often, busy students forget to do what it takes to transfer their scholarship funding when they transfer schools. (We get it - you’ve got a lot going on). So, remember, just confirming that your money will transfer isn’t enough. You have to process the transfer too.  

Fact #4- Transfer credits usually don’t impact your GPA

We briefly mentioned this above, but it’s worth explaining here – in most cases, your transfer credits won’t influence your GPA at your new school. Your transfer courses will appear on your academic transcript, but the grades you received in the classes will not count toward your GPA.  

Sure, your previous grades and GPA are used in your admissions decision. But once you start at your new school, you will likely have a fresh shot at that 4.0.  

 Fact #5- There are special scholarships and fee waiver programs for transfer students 

So now for the best part. You might be eligible for scholarship money or an application fee waiver just for being a transfer student.   

If you’re eligible for the Pell Grant, you can use this special NACAC transfer admission application fee waiver form. Simply complete the form and send it to the admission office at the school you’re applying to.  

Then, you might be amazed by all of the scholarship options out there for transfer students. We recommend that you do a little digging and work with your advisor to see if there are scholarships available for the schools on your list. Maybe you’ll find that your list opens up as you learn about the many options available.  

Here is a brief sampling of some transfer scholarships to give you an idea of what’s out there. Of course, you can search for and save scholarships in your Appily account too.  

The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship 

University of Michigan Dearborn Community College Transfer Scholarships 

University of Arkansas Transfer Scholarships 

Iowa State Community College Transfer Scholarships 

University of California Davis Transfer & Reentry Scholarships 

University of North Texas Transfer Scholarships 

University of Cincinnati Transfer Student Scholarships 

You can also access an additional list of scholarships on the Appily website. Filter your search by your current class - college freshmen, sophomore, or junior - to get a glimpse of the scholarships you can apply to from Appily. 

Now That You Have the Facts About Transferring

Trustworthy information is the key to making the right decision on how to transfer colleges, which is why your next stop should be the Appily student portal. There you can manage many of the essential steps we mentioned above.  

To build or update your school list, access our list of scholarships, or even apply for our $1,000 scholarship for transfer students, click the link below.  


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