As they near the end of the school year, many students may find themselves wondering if they should transfer schools. Maybe this year didn’t meet their expectations, or maybe they’ve decided to change majors. Some students simply decide to transfer to a four-year institution, after completing a two-year community college. Whatever their reason for changing schools, it’s important for those interested in transferring to know that they’re not alone. According to the Department of Education, roughly 25% of all college students transfer schools at some point in their academic career. It’s also important to know that transferring schools is unlikely to negatively impact your overall academic success. Three-quarters of school administrators agree that students who make the decision to transfer schools perform just as well (or better) than their peers who completed their education at one school.
If you’re in the process of exploring transfer options, you’ve probably wondered, “When should I transfer?” or even, “Why should I consider transferring?” If that’s the case, then here are a few things to consider before making the choice to transfer schools.
1. What is the Cost of Transferring?
One of the first things you should consider when investigating the transfer process is whether this decision will be a cost-effective one. For example, if you’re currently attending a school that’s located in an inexpensive part of the country, moving to a school in the heart of New York City will significantly increase your cost of living. Likewise, if you’re attending a college that offers you a large scholarship and/or an inexpensive cost of tuition, consider finding another school that can offer you financial assistance and support. That being said, money isn’t the only factor to consider when transferring schools.
2. Where Do You Want to Transfer to?
Some students choose to transfer from their first school due to its location. Perhaps they’re homesick, or perhaps they want to move further away from home. Whatever the case may be for you, it’s important to think about where your future school is located as it relates to your future goals. If you want to be a practicing nurse in Connecticut, attending nursing school in Iowa doesn’t make a lot of practical sense. Where you attend college can impact your network of friends, colleagues, and if you complete an internship, future employers. Choose a school that’s located in a place that can set you up for success.
Other students may want to transfer to a school that has a strong reputation, but is further away. In this case, choosing a college that offers a variety of online programs may be an excellent choice. University of Bridgeport, for example, offers both online and hybrid programs of study for its students. Learn more about these programs, here.
3. When Should You Transfer Colleges?
When it comes to transferring schools, timing can be an important and personal consideration. Many students ask, “When is the best time to transfer colleges?” and the truth is, it depends on your own goals and situation. There is no right or wrong time to transfer schools.
Generally, transferring colleges at the beginning or the middle of the school year can impact your application process. University of Bridgeport accepts applications on a rolling basis. You can submit an application for admission year-round. However, whichever school you choose, you should plan to apply ahead of the term you want to begin your studies. This way, you and the admissions team will have plenty of time to evaluate your existing credits, arrange for academic advising, and plan your program of study moving forward.
Transfer students from community colleges are similarly able to apply for admission, whenever they’d like. For students interested in transferring from a CT community college to a four-year university, UB offers articulation agreements with the following schools:
- Gateway Community College
- Housatonic Community College
- Norwalk Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Quinebaug Community College
- Capital Community College
While there is no “best” time to transfer for everyone, there are some more popular times to transfer schools. For example, it is estimated that 40 percent of transfer students are those who have completed a two-year degree program. After two years can be a great time to transfer because you will have completed many prerequisite courses, and at your new school, can invest your time in fulfilling your major requirements. However, this is not a necessity. Many students transfer after one year of study, because their first school was not a great fit. In this case, you can simply complete core and major requirements at your new university. At University of Bridgeport, any applicant who has attempted 12 or more semester hours at an accredited post-secondary institution is considered a transfer student.
At the end of the day, choosing the best time to transfer colleges will depend on your needs and how ready you are to change schools. If you wish to transfer colleges after one year, that is okay! If you wish to complete an associate degree and transfer to a new institution afterwards, that is also a good choice. You should also consider the admissions process at your new school of choice. Do they accept applications year-round? Are there both fall and spring enrollments? Talk to the school’s admissions team to determine if they suggest a certain time to transfer or submit your application.
4. Which Credits Will Transfer?
Another important consideration to make before transferring schools is whether or not your credits will transfer. A 2017 report by the General Accounting Office found that many students lose credits when they transfer. This report showed that students lost up to 43% (corresponding to 13 credits) of college credits when they transferred. This is equivalent to about one semester of full-time study. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Before transferring schools, reach out to the admissions department at your prospective school to find out how many of your credits are eligible for transfer. They may connect you with an academic advisor who will ask for the syllabi of your previous courses. The sooner you begin this process the sooner you’ll know which of your credits will transfer. This is where timing your transfer can become very important. Again, it’s important to apply in advance of the date of the term you plan to begin your studies. This will enable you to receive a timely evaluation of your transfer credits, as well as appropriate academic advising and program planning, prior to getting started. UB can transfer a maximum of 66 credits from two-year colleges and 90 credits from accredited four-year institutions, putting you one step closer to obtaining your bachelor’s.
5. Can the School Position You for Future Success?
One of the most important functions of a college is to prepare you for life after graduation. Therefore, it’s fundamentally important that your school is equipped to help you realize your aspirations. If you’ve decided to change majors and your current school doesn’t offer your chosen program of study, that’s a perfect reason to transfer schools. If your current school offers very little in the way of academic advising or career counseling, that is also a key indicator that they may not be able to help you meet your future goals. This is another reason to transfer schools.
Ultimately, as a college student you’re paying for a variety of services. These include the classes and training you receive, the academic advising and counseling available on campus, job preparation and internship placement, and a strong alumni network, to name a few. It’s the job of your university to deliver on these services and provide you with the experience you’ll need to succeed. If you find yourself unhappy at your current school, there’s no reason you have to stay. Just be sure to think about these five considerations before you put your transfer plan in action.
Interested in transferring to University of Bridgeport? Contact us online to request more information about our programs!