Are you interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree following completion of your associate’s degree? Or, perhaps you wish to make a change and continue your studies in a different area or major. One-third of college students transfer from one college to another; whether you are transferring from a community college to a four-year, or moving from one four-year college to another, follow the checklist to help make the transition a smooth one.
1. Identify the academic major you hope to pursue
- Evaluate your interests and goals
- Explore different career paths that align with your interests
- Review the education requirements for the careers in which you are interested
- Review the academic majors and coursework required leading to your chosen career
2. Research colleges and universities
- Search and compare colleges based on criteria you choose on College Navigator; search by states, academic majors, institution type and other factors and build a list of colleges and universities that interest you
- Visit the campus (take a tour); or if not possible, visit virtually on the web
- Schedule an appointment with admissions and/or the academic department that interests you
- Ask about:
- Transferability of credits: speak with a transfer coordinator and ask for a degree audit before committing to a new school. Transferring to a new college may impact your expected graduation date and cost you more in added tuition, fees and other expenses for additional coursework you might need
- College costs
- Financial aid (there may be some specific grants or scholarships for transfer students)
3. Gather and prepare application and supporting documents including:
- High school transcripts, if required, and SAT, ACT or AP scores if requested
- College transcripts from current college and any other colleges previously attended
- Educational gap statement/essay; if you have taken time off from school, you may be asked to write an essay about what you have been doing during that time
- Letters of recommendation
4. Apply for financial aid
- Submit your FAFSA
- Apply for any scholarships, grants, or other aid
- If you have received financial aid, including New York State TAP at your previous college, take steps to ensure it follows you to your new school
- Ensure that any scholarships you have received can be transferred to your new school; contact the scholarship provider for information; understand that institutionally based scholarships may not be transferrable to another college
After you have been admitted
Review your transfer credit evaluation
- Understand which of your academic credits will transfer to your new program. Usually, courses with a grade of C or below are not accepted.
Meet with an advisor or transfer counselor to register for courses and complete enrollment
- Pay deposit by deadline.
- Decide on housing, if needed.
- Attend orientation session.
- Submit health and immunization records to the campus health center.
- Submit final college transcripts.
Carefully review financial aid offers made by your new school
- Ensure your new award includes all the financial aid you expect to transfer from your former school and promptly review any questions with the financial aid office. Be sure to save all paperwork and stay in touch with the financial aid office at your new school to ensure a smooth transition.
Make sure your federal financial aid follows you
- If transferring mid-year, update the school code on your FAFSA at FAFSA.ed.gov. You’ll need your FSA ID to access your account.
Make sure your New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) follows you
- Change your TAP college code if you are transferring and are eligible to receive TAP or New York State scholarships. Change it at Student Access, by logging in using your HescPIN.
Review your student loan lenders’ policies
- If you have federal loans that you took at your previous school, you will need to ensure they transfer to your new school by updating the school code on the FAFSA you filed. Federal loans issued by your former school, such as a Perkins Loan, may not transfer. Contact the financial aid office for details
- If you have private loans, make sure to complete any necessary forms, such as deferment forms or school certifications. Inform your school’s financial aid office of any private loans you have as they may impact the financial aid offered by your new school
Decline offers of financial aid from your former school
- Contact the financial aid office at your former school to let them know you are transferring to another college. Be sure your student account is paid and up-to-date, including any fines you may owe. The registrar at your former college will not release your academic records to the new school until your accounts are current
Transferring from a 2-year to a 4-year college or university
- How do I identify my career interests?
- Start at the end and ask yourself: Where do I want to end up and how do I get there? Think about your interests and skills and how they can lead to different career paths. Meet with a career counselor at your current college to research academic majors or visit Discover Your Interests to help define your interests, find matching careers, develop college preferences and more.
- How do I research transfer colleges?
- Think about what is important to you: academic majors, GPA requirements, geographic location, size, selectivity, and setting. College Navigator can help you identify your preferences and zero-in on matching colleges.
- It is very important to understand how your current college credits will transfer to a new school. Review the transfer policies of the schools you are interested in, usually found on the admissions page. Look in the course offerings and review course equivalencies.
- Find out if your current school has an articulation agreement with other colleges and universities. These agreements are like partnerships that can simplify the path from one school to another. These partnerships are often made between two-year community colleges and four-year colleges.
- What steps can I take to help me make my final college choices?
- Visit the campuses to get a feel for the campus culture.
- Meet with a transfer student admissions counselor and ask about potential scholarships, housing, financial aid and other concerns.
- What courses should I be taking now and how will I know what credits will transfer?
- Concentrate on the pre-requisites you need to be admitted into your chosen academic major. Note that many colleges have specific criteria for the transfer of major courses.
- Ask the transfer admissions counselor for a degree audit or program evaluation to provide a preliminary analysis of your current academic credits and which of those may transfer to a new program before committing to a new school.
- How do I begin the application process?
- Check the college’s admissions website for application procedures for transfer students.
- Some academic programs such as nursing, social work, business or teacher education require an additional application.
- Most colleges and universities prefer that you apply online. The application link is usually found on the admissions page.
- Pay attention to deadlines.
- Which transcripts do I need to send?
- There are three types: high school, college and military transcripts for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans.
- Request your official transcripts from ALL the colleges you have attended and from your high school, if required by the college.
- For veterans and members of the military, contact your military branch to obtain your transcript.
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- Contact each college's financial aid office to ensure you complete all paperwork required to be considered for all types of financial aid.
- Review the Types of Financial Aid page to learn about federal, state and institutional grants and scholarships, as well as federal student loans.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at FAFSA.ed.gov. Do not wait to be accepted before applying for financial aid.
o Include all colleges and universities you are considering on your FAFSA. Additional colleges can be added to your FAFSA at a later date.
- New York State residents applying to a college in New York State can apply for a New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant online.
- Watch all deadlines for submission of all financial aid applications.
- How do I check the status of my application for admission?
- Call the college or go online to check your admissions status.
- Keep in contact with your admissions counselor throughout the process. Ensure your contact information is current.