Selective Colleges That Accept More Transfers Than Freshman

College Transfer Article

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Do some selective schools accept more transfer students than freshmen?

The thought of transferring alone can be daunting, but transferring into a selective institution adds a whole new level of fear. It’s the college admissions process all over again, but even harder, right? 

Happily, I can say that you are wrong! 

There are a number of selective colleges actually accept more transfer students than incoming freshman. Totally bizarre, right? 

But… when you think about it, it’s not really. 

That isn’t to say it’s going to be easy to get into these selective and very selective schools, but, in some cases, your chances are nearly doubled for acceptance as a transfer than they were as a freshman. 

All this is to say that you definitely shouldn’t count anything out when it comes to transferring—some institutions will certainly surprise you.  

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 45%
Transfer Application Deadline: February 17th
Application Fee: $80

Tags: Selective, $, Public, Large, 29,000+ 

Accepting nearly half of the transfer application, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is a great option for transfer students looking for a selective, large institution. They require a minimum of 30 credits to transfer, or else apply as a brand new incoming freshman. They allow for a max of 64 credits from a 2-year institution and 75 from a 4-year institution. 

 

University of Virginia 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 30%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 39%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall March 1st; Spring November 1st
Application Fee: $60

Tags: Public, Small City, Medium, 24,000+ Students, Can be Expensive

The University of Virginia transfer GPA requirement is 2.0, but the average accepted student has a 3.5 GPA. Transfer must have a minimum of 9 credits to transfer, and a maximum of 60. To earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia, they require at least 60 credits be completed on the UVA campus. 

They accept transfer in both the Fall and Spring, with many more being accepted for the Fall semester. 

Vanderbilt University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 11%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 29%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Fee: $50

Tags: Private, Very Selective, $$$, Medium, 13,000+ Students

Students interested in transferring to Vanderbilt University need to have completed at least 12 credits at another institution and must spend 4 semesters (60 credits) at Vanderbilt. Preference is given to students wishing to attend full time and students are required to live on campus. 

University of Southern California
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 17%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Application Deadline: February 1st
Application Fee: $85

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Massive, 45,000+ Students, NCAA, Urban Campus

The University of Southern California accepts both sophomore and junior transfer students. The average GPA accepted is 3.7. USC has no transfer credit minimum, but if you’re coming in with fewer than 30 credits completed, they’ll base the decision more heavily on high school performance. 

Students must complete 64 credits to graduate from USC. 

Emory University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 25%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Fee: $75

Tags: Selective, $$$, Private, Research, Medium, 15,000+ Students, Globally Ranked, Nationally Ranked

Emory University accepts more than a quarter of applicants who apply as transfer students. They require a minimum of 28 credits (one full year of coursework) before enrolling and will accept as many as 62 credits from another institution. 

If you’ve completed two full semesters or three quarters of college, you can self-report your SAT or ACT scores, bypassing having to pay to send your test results. 

The only caveat with Emory is that the Oxford College and Goizueta Business School do not accept transfer students at all. The Oxford College is a 2-year institution within Emory making it an unlikely place to transfer. The Goizueta Business School, however, is home to the Bachelor’s of Business Administration, which includes hot topic majors like accounting and marketing. You must complete at least two full semesters at Emory to apply at the Goizueta Business School, so keep that in mind when planning out your transfer.  

University of California-Los Angeles 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 18%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 25%
Transfer Application Deadline: November 30th

Tags: Very Selective, $$$, Large, Public, Research, Public Ivy, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked, 45,000+ Students

On top of accepting a hefty number of transfer students each year, they have a pretty good outlook on graduation. Just about 90% of transfer students earn a degree within 4 years. 

Transfer students are only accepted for the fall term and must have junior-level status, meaning that they must have earned 60 credits elsewhere.


University of California-Berkley
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 24%
Transfer Application Deadline: November 30th

Tags: Very Selective, $$$, Large, Public, Research, Public Ivy, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked, 43,000+ Students

Much like its sister school, the University of California-Berkeley requires students to have junior standing and also offers better odds for students applying as transfer students. They require a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, but some colleges have different requirements so be sure to confirm with the appropriate department! 

University Notre Dame
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 19%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 24%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall-March 15th; Spring-October 1st
Application Cost: 

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Medium, 12,000+ Students, Suburban, Nationally Ranked, NCAA Division I, Catholic

Students interested in transferring to the University of Notre Dame need to have completed at least 27 credits and one year at another institution. Admissions are competitive, and the average GPA of accepted students is 3.75. 

Washington University in St. Louis
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 17%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 20%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Medium, 15,000+ Students, Urban, Nationally Ranked, Internationally Ranked, NCAA Division III

Washington University in St. Louis is a selective school where transfer applications are recommended to have no less than a 3.5 GPA. Each department at UW-St. Louis has different requirements for its transfer students, but, in most cases, students can transfer up to 60 credits. 

No credit is given for CLEP exams, standard-level IB exams, correspondence/online courses, or departmental placement exams given by another institution.

Cornell University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 14%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 19%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall-March 15th / Spring-October 15th
Application Cost: $80

Tags: Private, $$$, NCAA Division I, Large, 24,000+ Students, Nationally Ranked

Transfer application requirements at Cornell University vary between departments, so be sure to check the individual requirements. Cornell University is a competitive liberal arts institution.

John Hopkins University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 12%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 16%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $70

Tags: Private, $$$, Large, 26,000+ Students, NCAA Division I, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked

Students interested in transferring to John Hopkins University are allowed to transfer up to 60 credit hours, as long as they complete 60 credits at John Hopkins, as well. Transfers are accepted during the sophomore and junior years, in the fall only. They don’t require standardized test scores, but do want high school transcripts. 

When transferring into John Hopkins, students apply directly into their desired major. The only major that does not accept transfer students is Biomedical Engineering. Students transferring in with 1 year of college experience are required to live on-campus, students with 2 years of previous college will be offered off-campus housing. 

Tufts University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 5%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 14%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, 11,000+ Students, Medium, Urban, Nationally Ranked

At Tufts University, students can transfer into the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Transfer students need to have completed at least one year of college study before applying. 

Tufts’ transfer application allows students to self-report scores and only submit official copies once they’ve been accepted. Students must be fully enrolled at Tufts for two years to receive a Tufts degree. 

Rice University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 13%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Medium, 7,000+ Students, Urban, NCAA Division I

Rice University transfer applications must have completed at least 12 hours of college study with a cumulative 3.2 GPA before applying. Students are required to submit their high school transcripts as well as official standardized test scores. 


Northwestern University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Small City, NCAA Division I, Medium, 21,000+ Students

Northwestern University accepts transfer students that have completed at least one year (24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours) before enrolling at Northwestern. Students are required to submit that standardized test scores, along with official high school and university transcripts. 

To earn a Northwestern University Degree, students must be enrolled for six quarters with a full-time course load. Housing is available to transfer students, but isn’t guaranteed. Note that the School of Communication and Bienen School of Music must be contacted separately regarding transferring. 

University of Pennsylvania 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Ivy League, Urban, Research, NCAA Division I, 20,000+ Students, Medium

Transfer students interested in the University of Pennsylvania must submit their standardized test scores and official transcripts from high school and college. Applicants must complete one full, transferable year of coursework prior to enrollment, and, to earn a UPenn degree, students must spend at least two years at UPenn. 


Columbia University
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 6%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 8%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $85

Tags: Private, $$$$, Ivy League, Urban Campus Large, 33,000+ Students, NCAA Division I

Columbia University accepts transfer students into Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Students must submit transcripts from both high school and college, but may self-report their standardized test scores. 

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