Discover Studying Abroad

How to Transfer to a US University

You can join a US university not just as a fresher, but even as a sophomore or a junior. And you don't have to be a domestic student either. How? Read below to find out.
BY Skendha Singh |   28-10-2016
University of Santa Fe

If you think studying in the US means deciding, once and for all, what and where you’ll be studying – you can take another guess. As we discussed elsewhere, deciding your specialisation is not as cut and dried an academic decision as it’s often made out to be. The same is true for deciding which school.

Most universities in the US not only allow students to directly join them in the first year, but also transfer after completing a year or two of their studies in another institution. So, if you feel, after completing your first and/or second year in college, that another institution might prove a better fit – you have the option to transfer.

Transfers are possible for both domestic and international students. If this sounds appealing, here’s a checklist which can help you through the process. But, please remember, just like with regular admissions, students need to communicate with the individual institutions for details.

  1. Start your application process well in advance. Ideally, 12 months in advance. Much like you would do with a regular application.
  2. Make sure the school is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.  
  3. Check deadlines. If you are applying for an autumn entry, you will make your application in early spring (typically February or March). If you are applying for a spring entry, you will apply in autumn (October). Institutions can have priority dates, which you should not miss.
  4. Your application must fulfil typical application requirements – such as application fee, transcript, letters of reference. The institution might ask you to also submit a transfer application form and supplementary information. The University of California Santa Cruz, for instance, has mandatory English Composition Coursework requirements.
  5. Ask your institution if you need to sit for an admission exam and/or write an essay on why you wish to transfer.

  6. Apart from general admission criteria, applicants need to have performed well at their current college. The basis for a transfer is the credit system. Only if you have the required credits can you transfer. Keep in mind, however, that grades do not transfer, and the GPA of one college will not affect the GPA at another.
  7. Before you get a transfer release date from your new school, make sure you don’t miss classes that you are required to attend. Otherwise, your SEVIS record can be terminated by your new school.
  8. Remember that transferring is not an easy way to enter more selective universities. Often, colleges have even more demanding standards for transfer students than they do for first year applicants.


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