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How to Transfer Colleges

By DeVry University

The information presented here is true and accurate as of the date of publication. DeVry’s programmatic offerings and their accreditations are subject to change. Please refer to the current academic catalog for details.


May 13, 2024

6 min read

How to Transfer Colleges

Deciding which college to attend is a big decision that requires careful assessment of your personal and professional goals. It’s also important to consider factors like whether to attend in person or online, what major to study and how to fit college into your busy life. But what if you’ve already enrolled in a college program and want to transfer to another school after a few semesters? If you find yourself feeling unsatisfied with the school or academic program you’re currently enrolled in, transferring to another college may be an option worth exploring. If you’re equipped with an understanding of how to transfer colleges, you’ll be better prepared to make the best decision when, or if, the time comes to make the move.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to transfer colleges and the steps involved in planning your transfer.

Why Transfer Colleges?

Students transfer colleges for a number of reasons. Some transfers take place because a student is transitioning from a community college to a four-year university with the goal of completing a bachelor’s degree program.

For students attending college in person, simple geography might be the issue. A student may feel like there are too many miles separating them from the security and familiarity of home. Maybe things at home have changed, requiring the student to balance their education with caregiver responsibilities. In cases like these, transferring to another college that better fits your needs may be the best option. Another option is to transfer from an exclusively in-person college experience to online learning.

Other factors might be the cost of tuition, housing and other expenses, or a general lack of satisfaction with the school students have chosen.

Another reason is career focused. Students who are reapproaching their professional goals may be making a change in their major or degree specialization. Whatever the reason, it’s a big decision involving several important considerations.

Picking the Right School

Before discussing how to transfer credits from one college to another, let’s talk about how you’ll select your new school. How do you pick the right one? You want to be sure your decision is made thoughtfully and in a confident, well-informed manner, considering factors like transfer credits, tuition cost, the university culture and others based on your personal preferences.

It’s a good idea to explore your transfer school or schools in the same way you approached your first-time search – by taking virtual or in-person tours and reaching out to discover support services schools may offer to transfer students.

Online learners and in-person students will have some different considerations. Online students can concentrate their decision-making on coursework, tuition cost and diversity, while on-campus students may consider the logistics and expense of relocation, athletics and student diversity.

Here are a few of the most important considerations:

    • Ability to transfer earned credits: This is a top-of-mind concern for students determining how to transfer colleges, and for good reason. The college credits you’ve already earned represent hours of classroom and study time, and money invested. You’ll want to know how many credits will transfer to your “transfer destination” institution. By speaking with an advisor and sending a final transcript from your current college, you can be sure to have the answers to these questions. Typically, colleges offer a tool or evaluation method to show how credits can transfer.
    • Cost: As a transfer student you should be able to apply for financial aid and be eligible for scholarships, grants or loans, or work-study opportunities.Your transfer destination school will require you to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid® (FAFSA), just as if you were attending college for the first time. Some institutions offer transfer scholarships of varying amounts for in-state-resident and non-resident students.
    • Academic programs: While college rankings can be an effective tool in your decision process, remember to consider the ranking or prestige of the academic program you’re enrolling in. It’s possible that one particular school may stand out among the others on your list for excellence in your major.
    • University culture: If you’re visiting colleges, don’t leave until all of your (well thought out) questions have been answered. Discover as much as you can about the university culture from in-person or online tours, and by meeting with current students.
    • Student support: Aside from on-campus resources, consider the availability of academic and career counseling and psychological support in the event you should need it.

Planning Your Transfer

Your transfer should begin with a solid plan. But before making a plan, it might be a good idea to take stock of your current situation and see if you can resolve the challenges that are making you consider transferring. If this isn’t an option, meeting with an advisor will be the first step in the transfer process.

Speak with an advisor

Reach out to an academic advisor or transfer staff at your current school. College or student support advisors can be a great help, providing information about how to transfer college credits and about financial aid, and helping you navigate to a program and school that fit better with your professional goals. If you haven’t already made your decision about a new school, this may also include introducing you to transfer-friendly institutions where the process may be easier.

Figure out the transfer credits

Credit transfer policies vary widely among institutions, so it’s crucial that you take this step very seriously. Reach out to admissions advisors and investigate the new school’s transfer credit evaluation. At DeVry University, Transfer Guides and established agreements with community colleges, independent 2-year institutions, technical schools and online course providers help transfer applicants get a handle on which earned college credits may transfer into DeVry programs.

Apply and submit previous college credits

Your transfer application process will be similar to the application process of a first-year college student. But keep in mind that every school is different. Review the application process and its requirements very carefully so you don’t miss anything, and reach out to a member of the admission staff at the new institution with any questions. Even though you have some college experience under your belt at this point, you still have to submit high school and college transcripts.

A specific program at an institution may be more selective. If a pact called an articulation agreement is in place between your current school and the new one, the process could be much simpler. An example of this is a community college having agreements in place with multiple four-year universities guaranteeing admission to students who successfully complete the community college’s programs.

There are several ways you may be able to get college credit for your learning acquired outside the classroom. At DeVry, credit for prior learning credit may help you graduate sooner by leveraging various forms of previous education, professional training and non-classroom learningThese include military coursework and training, professional certifications and training and other forms of prior learning. A DeVry admissions representative can help you understand your eligibility for these important credits.

Apply for financial aid

Unlike some of your college credits, the financial aid package you received from your current school will not transfer to your new one. You’ll need to fill out and resubmit the FAFSA®. This may also be a good time to conduct a thorough evaluation of your finances to see if you can make this move affordably.

Transferring doesn’t mean you’ll be losing financial aid. But since each institution calculates aid packages differently, and may have different policies and deadlines for funding, you should start early and make sure you enter the school code for every institution on your list to be sure you get aid package decisions from all of them. 

At DeVry, eligible transfer students with qualifying transfer credits enrolling in associate and bachelor’s degree programs can receive up to $7,168* in scholarship savings with our Future-Ready Transfer Scholarships.

Making a Change? At DeVry, Your Experience Matters

At DeVry, we understand how life can change. If you’re returning to school after a break, preparing to change careers or planning to complete your degree so you can work to advance in the career you already love, we can help. There are several ways you may be able to apply transfer credits earned at another school or other prior learning credit to a DeVry program in business, technology or healthcare. Classes start soon!

1Students may participate in only one DeVry University-based scholarship, grant or group tuition benefit program at a time. Those who qualify for more than one program will be presumed to accept the program with the highest reduction in by- session cost. Students who qualify for and prefer a different tuition benefit program must confirm, in writing, the alternate program in which they wish to participate prior to starting classes at DeVry. Scholarship and grant terms and eligibility conditions are subject to change. Scholarships are available to those who apply and qualify. Click here for more information.

*This amount will be determined based on prevailing tuition rates at the time funds are awarded.

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