Regardless of how you’re transferring (community college to university, between community colleges, between universities, or from a university to a community college), there are common, important steps you should take to familiarize yourself with the process and stay on top of what’s to come. Below are basic, but helpful tips on how to best prepare for a successful transfer.
Create career goals
Before heading down the path of transferring, consider some career goals to narrow down your search. Check out prospects for careers you are considering.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbook lets you look up careers and jobs, based on pay and labor market growth.
- Ohio Means Jobs gives you prospects based on regional data from the state of Ohio.
- Federal Financial Aid’s Career Search lets you search educational paths based on interest areas and other goals.
Connect with a member of the admission staff at the destination college or university you are considering.
- Many admissions offices have a staff member dedicated to working with transfer students.
- Admission staff members will be able to answer questions that you may have about the university as a whole, the transfer process, resources, deadlines, and next steps.
- Admission staff will also be able to connect you with academic advisors, departments, and help you to schedule a campus visit.
- Ask the admission staff if they can put you in touch with a student who transferred from your current college or university so that you can gain firsthand insights into the student experience.
Schedule a visit to get a feel for the campus and the student culture.
- Most schools have special visit opportunities for transfer students. If you’re unsure if the school you’re looking at has transfer visits, contact their admission office.
- Schedule a meeting with an academic advisor (at most schools you don’t have to be a student to talk with an advisor) or meet with the chair or a faculty member in an academic department that interests you.
- Prior to the meeting, jot down specific questions you have so that you can have a better idea of whether the desired institution is a good fit for you. Be sure to ask about any special admission requirements for the academic program(s) that interests you, what the requirements are for the program(s), and which courses you likely will need to complete in order to complete your desired degree program.
Explore the opportunities for acquiring transfer credits.
- While you are at your current institution, connect with an advisor as soon as possible to plan for ways to maximize your opportunities to secure credit for specific courses once you transfer. Your current institution may have a partnership with other colleges that benefit students in your degree program. And the state of Ohio has many programs that guarantee course credit for transfer students if you enroll in the appropriate courses. Ask your advisor about these opportunities which include the Ohio Transfer Module, Transfer Assurance Guides, and Guaranteed Transfer to Degree Pathways.
- As you get ready to apply to your destination school(s), check to see whether the destination schools you are considering use Transferology.com. Transferology allows you to input the courses you have taken or are currently taking and identify the courses you will receive credit for once you reach your destination university or college. Some of the schools on Transferology even allow you to see how these courses might apply to the majors you are interested in pursuing.
- If your school is not on Transferology, reach out to your admission contact to see whether, how and when the school provides credit evaluations. Some schools will provide evaluations before a student applies, while other schools might only provide an evaluation to students who have been admitted.
- Let your admission contact know if you have military experience. They will refer you to a staff member who can review how your military training may be used at the institution for degree requirements.
Understand your new college costs
Review your costs and financial resources.
- Be aware of the new costs you may have: Will your tuition and fees change? Will you commute or live on campus? Will your commuting distance change?
- Be aware of your resources: Will your financial aid change? Will you have scholarships?
- Consult with the financial aid office and develop a plan to manage your educational expenses.
Submit your FAFSA.
- Check to make sure the FAFSA you have on file is for the correct school year.
- Add the schools to which you are applying to your FAFSA, so their financial aid offices will have access to it in order to award any need-based aid. If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA, you’ll just want to edit it to add the schools.
Apply for scholarships.
- Some schools offer transfer scholarships. Make sure you’re checking with the destination school’s admission office to see what may be available.
- Look for outside scholarship opportunities! There are scholarships that are not affiliated with institutions that are geared toward transfer students, such as the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship and the Ohio Transfer Council’s David Gall Memorial Scholarship.
Finalize your college transfer plans
Stay connected and follow up.
- After you apply for admission, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your application and file.
- If something seems off or you haven’t received a decision when you thought you should have, don’t hesitate to follow up.
- Know how the university will communicate with you (e.g. email, mail, online portal)
Confirm your enrollment and register.
- Once you receive your notification of admission, there will be an additional step to notify the university you will be attending or enrolling. Often there will be a deadline, usually referred to as the “confirmation deadline.”
- Once you have confirmed enrollment, keep an eye on your student account and university email for instructions about next steps, such as meetings with an academic advisor, registering for courses, attending orientation, securing housing, and completing your financial aid application. If you haven’t received information when you thought you should have, don’t hesitate to follow up.
- Register for classes as soon as possible.
Attend an orientation.
- Attending an orientation is a great way to learn more about the institution you are attending and learn about resources. It’s also a way to meet other students who have transferred.
You hear this all the time, but get involved!
- Getting involved will help you to meet new people, get more accustomed to what is happening on campus, and make your new school feel more like home. Check and see if there’s a transfer organization that you can become a part of. Being surrounded by other students who are in the same boat as you (or know what you’re experiencing) is a big help.