If you are studying in the US, it is possible to move from one university to another. This process is called “transferring”.
You can transfer from a community college to a four-year institution, or you can transfer from one university to another. If you’re transferring from a community college to a university, you will start at the university as a junior for the final two years of your bachelor’s degree.
Sometimes transfers can happen mid-year – you’ll need to research the requirements of the college you’re interested in – but typically transfers take place between years.
If you’re worried about what this will mean for your visa, you don’t have to be. As long as you maintain your student status at your current school, you can transfer from one school to another and it doesn’t require the approval of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Why transferring might be right for you
There are many reasons why you might consider transferring from one school or university to another. You could have chosen your current school because it was more affordable, and by saving a year or two’s worth of tuition at a lower-cost institution, you now are able to pay for and graduate from your dream university.
Perhaps you thought you would like the university you chose but it’s not right for you — maybe the location is too rural or too busy, you don’t like your classes or the teaching style, or maybe the school is simply a mismatch.
Or you could have decided to change your focus of study and now want to go to a school with a better programme in your new field of interest. All these are possibilities for why you might want to transfer. Whatever your reasons, transferring is easy to do in the US if you’re prepared.
1. Start where you want to finish
First, find out exactly what the requirements are for admission to the school and academic programme you want to transfer to. Then, choose classes at your current school based on what you’ll need in the future.
2. Be organised and ready to work hard
Exploring colleges and universities to transfer to in the future is exciting and fun, yet it does take effort. In addition to general admission standards, such as the number of credits you have taken and your overall GPA, there might be additional requirements for admission to your new school, such as specific classes, a portfolio, a personal essay or even an interview.
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3. Take full advantage of your resources
Work closely with advisers at both your current school and, if possible, your future school. Clearly communicate to everyone what your transfer goals are so that you and your advisers are all working with each other.
4. Have a dream school and a “plan B”
If your dream is to attend a nationally ranked and highly selective university, then develop a transfer plan for this school and pursue it with enthusiasm.
At the same time, stay grounded and keep your options open. There are thousands of excellent colleges and universities for you to consider. Just because you haven’t heard of a school doesn’t mean that, in the end, it isn’t the best institution for you and can’t become your dream school!
5. Attend new-student orientation
Don’t assume that because you have already attended college that you don’t need to go to an orientation programme at your new university. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even though you are bringing college credit with you when you arrive, you are still a new student, and you will need to learn how to navigate the systems and resources at your new school.
A version of this article was originally published on Study USA.
Transferring between one university to another in the US is common practice, but it may be something international students don’t know too much about. Here are five key tips to ensure a successful university transfer