Colleges That Accept Transfers After One Year

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Colleges That Accept Transfers After One Year

Selective Colleges That Accept More Transfers Than Freshman

Do some selective schools accept more transfer students than freshmen?

girl leaning on table

The thought of transferring alone can be daunting, but transferring into a selective institution adds a whole new level of fear. It’s the college admissions process all over again, but even harder, right? 

Happily, I can say that you are wrong! 

There are a number of selective colleges actually accept more transfer students than incoming freshman. Totally bizarre, right? 

But… when you think about it, it’s not really. 

That isn’t to say it’s going to be easy to get into these selective and very selective schools, but, in some cases, your chances are nearly doubled for acceptance as a transfer than they were as a freshman. 

All this is to say that you definitely shouldn’t count anything out when it comes to transferring—some institutions will certainly surprise you.  

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 45%
Transfer Application Deadline: February 17th
Application Fee: $80

Tags: Selective, $, Public, Large, 29,000+ 

Accepting nearly half of the transfer application, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is a great option for transfer students looking for a selective, large institution. They require a minimum of 30 credits to transfer, or else apply as a brand new incoming freshman. They allow for a max of 64 credits from a 2-year institution and 75 from a 4-year institution. 

University of Virginia 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 30%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 39%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall March 1st; Spring November 1st
Application Fee: $60

Tags: Public, Small City, Medium, 24,000+ Students, Can be Expensive

The University of Virginia transfer GPA requirement is 2.0, but the average accepted student has a 3.5 GPA. Transfer must have a minimum of 9 credits to transfer, and a maximum of 60. To earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia, they require at least 60 credits be completed on the UVA campus. 

They accept transfer in both the Fall and Spring, with many more being accepted for the Fall semester. 

Transfer Applicants | Emory University | Atlanta GA

Vanderbilt University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 11%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 29%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Fee: $50

Tags: Private, Very Selective, $$$, Medium, 13,000+ Students

Students interested in transferring to Vanderbilt University need to have completed at least 12 credits at another institution and must spend 4 semesters (60 credits) at Vanderbilt. Preference is given to students wishing to attend full time and students are required to live on campus. 

University of Southern California
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 17%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Application Deadline: February 1st
Application Fee: $85

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Massive, 45,000+ Students, NCAA, Urban Campus

The University of Southern California accepts both sophomore and junior transfer students. The average GPA accepted is 3.7. USC has no transfer credit minimum, but if you’re coming in with fewer than 30 credits completed, they’ll base the decision more heavily on high school performance. 

Students must complete 64 credits to graduate from USC. 

Emory University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 25%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 27%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Fee: $75

Tags: Selective, $$$, Private, Research, Medium, 15,000+ Students, Globally Ranked, Nationally Ranked

Emory University accepts more than a quarter of applicants who apply as transfer students. They require a minimum of 28 credits (one full year of coursework) before enrolling and will accept as many as 62 credits from another institution. 

If you’ve completed two full semesters or three quarters of college, you can self-report your SAT or ACT scores, bypassing having to pay to send your test results. 

The only caveat with Emory is that the Oxford College and Goizueta Business School do not accept transfer students at all. The Oxford College is a 2-year institution within Emory making it an unlikely place to transfer. The Goizueta Business School, however, is home to the Bachelor’s of Business Administration, which includes hot topic majors like accounting and marketing. You must complete at least two full semesters at Emory to apply at the Goizueta Business School, so keep that in mind when planning out your transfer.  

University of California-Los Angeles 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 18%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 25%
Transfer Application Deadline: November 30th

Tags: Very Selective, $$$, Large, Public, Research, Public Ivy, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked, 45,000+ Students

On top of accepting a hefty number of transfer students each year, they have a pretty good outlook on graduation. Just about 90% of transfer students earn a degree within 4 years. 

Transfer students are only accepted for the fall term and must have junior-level status, meaning that they must have earned 60 credits elsewhere.

University of California-Berkley
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 24%
Transfer Application Deadline: November 30th

Tags: Very Selective, $$$, Large, Public, Research, Public Ivy, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked, 43,000+ Students

Much like its sister school, the University of California-Berkeley requires students to have junior standing and also offers better odds for students applying as transfer students. They require a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, but some colleges have different requirements so be sure to confirm with the appropriate department! 

Foundation Year | Undergraduate Admissions

University Notre Dame
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 19%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 24%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall-March 15th; Spring-October 1st
Application Cost: 

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Medium, 12,000+ Students, Suburban, Nationally Ranked, NCAA Division I, Catholic

Students interested in transferring to the University of Notre Dame need to have completed at least 27 credits and one year at another institution. Admissions are competitive, and the average GPA of accepted students is 3.75. 

Washington University in St. Louis
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 17%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 20%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Medium, 15,000+ Students, Urban, Nationally Ranked, Internationally Ranked, NCAA Division III

Washington University in St. Louis is a selective school where transfer applications are recommended to have no less than a 3.5 GPA. Each department at UW-St. Louis has different requirements for its transfer students, but, in most cases, students can transfer up to 60 credits. 

No credit is given for CLEP exams, standard-level IB exams, correspondence/online courses, or departmental placement exams given by another institution.

Cornell University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 14%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 19%
Transfer Application Deadline: Fall-March 15th / Spring-October 15th
Application Cost: $80

Tags: Private, $$$, NCAA Division I, Large, 24,000+ Students, Nationally Ranked

Transfer application requirements at Cornell University vary between departments, so be sure to check the individual requirements. Cornell University is a competitive liberal arts institution.

John Hopkins University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 12%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 16%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $70

Tags: Private, $$$, Large, 26,000+ Students, NCAA Division I, Nationally Ranked, Globally Ranked

Students interested in transferring to John Hopkins University are allowed to transfer up to 60 credit hours, as long as they complete 60 credits at John Hopkins, as well. Transfers are accepted during the sophomore and junior years, in the fall only. They don’t require standardized test scores, but do want high school transcripts. 

When transferring into John Hopkins, students apply directly into their desired major. The only major that does not accept transfer students is Biomedical Engineering. Students transferring in with 1 year of college experience are required to live on-campus, students with 2 years of previous college will be offered off-campus housing.

Tufts University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 5%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 14%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, 11,000+ Students, Medium, Urban, Nationally Ranked

At Tufts University, students can transfer into the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Transfer students need to have completed at least one year of college study before applying. 

Tufts’ transfer application allows students to self-report scores and only submit official copies once they’ve been accepted. Students must be fully enrolled at Tufts for two years to receive a Tufts degree. 

Rice University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 13%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Research, Medium, 7,000+ Students, Urban, NCAA Division I

Rice University transfer applications must have completed at least 12 hours of college study with a cumulative 3.2 GPA before applying. Students are required to submit their high school transcripts as well as official standardized test scores. 

Northwestern University 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 15%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Small City, NCAA Division I, Medium, 21,000+ Students

Transferring Colleges After One Semester

Northwestern University accepts transfer students that have completed at least one year (24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours) before enrolling at Northwestern. Students are required to submit that standardized test scores, along with official high school and university transcripts. 

To earn a Northwestern University Degree, students must be enrolled for six quarters with a full-time course load. Housing is available to transfer students, but isn’t guaranteed. Note that the School of Communication and Bienen School of Music must be contacted separately regarding transferring. 

University of Pennsylvania 
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 9%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 15th
Application Cost: $75

Tags: Private, $$$, Ivy League, Urban, Research, NCAA Division I, 20,000+ Students, Medium

Transfer students interested in the University of Pennsylvania must submit their standardized test scores and official transcripts from high school and college. Applicants must complete one full, transferable year of coursework prior to enrollment, and, to earn a UPenn degree, students must spend at least two years at UPenn. 

Columbia University
Freshman Acceptance Rate: 6%
Transfer Acceptance Rate: 8%
Transfer Application Deadline: March 1st
Application Cost: $85

Tags: Private, $$$$, Ivy League, Urban Campus Large, 33,000+ Students, NCAA Division I

Columbia University accepts transfer students into Columbia College and Columbia Engineering. Students must submit transcripts from both high school and college, but may self-report their standardized test scores. 

can you transfer colleges after one year?

Transferring Colleges After One Semester [2022 Guide]

WRITTEN BY: Shannon Lambert

Are you thinking about transferring colleges after one semester? Maybe you found a program that better fits your major, schedule, or finances.

Many students transfer at least once during the course of their college education for a variety of different reasons.

Whatever your reason, the semester is almost over, and you don’t want to stay. So, is transferring after your first semester of college right for you?

Transferring Colleges After One Semester

Transferring schools After One Semester

Transferring schools is never an easy decision to make, especially if it’s only been one semester.

Did you give it enough time? Will you regret transferring? Or will transferring make everything much easier? It can be a tough call. So, if you are thinking about transferring to another college, here are several points you may want to consider before taking that leap:

  • Policies for leaving. It’s important to unenroll from your current school properly. You’ll need to follow the policies and notify the student accounts, registrar, financial aid, and housing departments. You don’t want to keep receiving bills!
  • The enrollment policy of the new school. The transfer admissions process is different from the freshman admission process. The requirements and the deadlines can be different as well.
  • Program admittance. If you gain admittance to the new school, it does not necessarily mean you are admitted to your major program. Even if you’re accepted to the school, the program may have higher requirements.
  • Transferring credits. Not all credits are guaranteed to transfer. You may have to retake some courses, which may add another semester or more to your graduation date.
  • Cost. If you are leaving your school, you may lose your current financial aid and scholarships. You may not be able to receive more aid until the next year.
  • Grades. If you are transferring because your grades are low, you might consider giving yourself time to get them up. Some colleges won’t accept transfer students with low grades.

Transferring after one semester is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of your particular situation may help you decide whether transferring is the right move for you.

Why Transfer Colleges?

Why Transfer Colleges

There are many different reasons why students may consider transferring universities. For starters, a new school may offer services, courses, or programs that your current school does not.

Your current school may not offer a strong program for your specific major. Maybe you’re finding that your current classes are either too hard or not challenging enough. Some students may not have gotten into the school they initially wanted to attend, but now they have that opportunity.

It’s possible that you’re homesick, or you might have discovered that your school’s location doesn’t fit well with your lifestyle. Some schools appear great on paper, but their community doesn’t end up offering the social life you had hoped for in your college experience.

Some schools also offer lower tuition prices for the same educational value. You might have even found a school with a program format—such as online, on-campus, or hybrid—that better fits your style of learning. Students may be unhappy at their current school for any number of reasons, and oftentimes they can find the solution at another university.

Risks of Transferring

Risks of Transferring colleges

Before deciding if changing schools is right for you, you might want to consider the potential risks of transferring to another school:

  • Financial risks. If you transfer mid-semester, there’s a chance you may not get a refund on any tuition you’ve already paid. You may also lose your current financial aid. Plus, there will likely be a fee connected to your new school’s admissions process.
  • Wasted time. All of the credits you’ve already earned may not transfer over. You might have to retake those classes, which can cost more time and money. Quarter credits do not equal semester credits either, so transferring credits can get tricky.
  • A later graduation date. You may have to push your expected graduation date back if you have to wait to enroll or need to retake classes.
  • The risk of repeating the same pattern of behavior. If you are changing colleges for emotional reasons, for social reasons, or because your grades are lower than you’d like, you may face the same situations at a new school.

Before making the decision to transfer schools, it can be helpful to take some time to list the pros and cons on a sheet of paper. It will help to be honest with yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of your situation.

How to Transfer Colleges After One Semester

How to Transfer Colleges After One Semester

As tempting as it may be, it’s strategic not to leave a school mid-semester. There’s a very low chance of being admitted to another school in the middle of a semester. When transitioning to a new school, it can help to do your research and create a plan.

Here are some beneficial steps to take when considering a college transfer:

  1. Consider the pros and cons of transferring colleges. What are your reasons for transferring? Will a new school fix those problems, or will they follow you there? What are the benefits of transferring?
  2. Check transfer friendly universities. It can be strategic to look for universities that deliberately seek out or reserve spots for transfer students. There are also schools that have higher transfer acceptance rates.
  3. Talk to current and potential school advisors. You can find out how transfer-friendly a new school is by speaking to an admissions counselor or a student advisor. You can also ask about the transfer admissions process and what type of credits are most likely to transfer.
  4. Process the transfer. Your new school will likely have specific admissions requirements for transfer students. It’s helpful to pay attention to these deadlines to ensure you get all of your items in on time. You can use your personal essay to explain why you’re transferring and why the new school is a good match for you.
  5. Update or apply for financial aid. It’s important to update your financial aid information with your new school and any other changes. Updating any loan and scholarship information will also be required.

If transferring to a new school is the right option for you, you may want to start planning now since the process can take some time. Knowing what you’re getting into at your new school before you enroll can help the transition go more smoothly.

Choosing a Transfer School

Choosing a Transfer School

There are many different factors to consider when choosing a new school. To help narrow down your selection of schools, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they offer programs that fit my career goals?
  • Is the school accredited?
  • How much is tuition?
  • What are their transfer policies?
  • Where are they located?
  • What credits will transfer?
  • Do I need additional credits from that university to graduate?
  • When can I enroll?
  • What kind of support and resources do they offer transfer students?
  • What are their transfer acceptance rates?

If needed, you can also create a spreadsheet with these questions for each school you are considering. This may allow you to quickly compare them and find the best fit for your needs.

Should I Transfer Colleges?

One of the biggest struggles for transfer students is losing credits when they transfer universities. You can talk to an advisor at your current school as well as your new school to see if you can maximize your transferred credits.

Cost is another factor. You’ll likely pay application fees, admissions fees, and other additional fees. On the other hand, transferring colleges can allow some students to enter a program that’s better fit for their major, interests, schedule, or finances. Before deciding if you should transfer colleges, it can help to weigh the benefits against the costs.

Can You Transfer Colleges After One Semester?

Transfer Colleges After One Semester

Yes, you can transfer colleges after just one semester. It’s often better to transfer at the end of a semester rather than during the semester.

If you’re transferring as a freshman, you may not have completed enough coursework for the new school to accurately judge your admissions application. In this case, your new school may consider your high school transcript and GPA as well.

Since it’s only been one semester, you might even be able to get into a college that already accepted you in your initial college search. In this type of situation, you may not need to reapply, depending on the school’s policies.

Is It Bad to Transfer Colleges?

advantages and disadvantages to transferring schools

Whether it is good or bad to transfer colleges can depend on the reason for transferring. There can be both advantages and disadvantages to transferring schools.


  • The new program may be better aligned with your goals.
  • You might like the new school’s environment better.
  • The new program may be cheaper.
  • The new school might be a better academic and social fit.


  • You could lose some credits.
  • You could lose money.
  • It might take longer to graduate.

Any reason you have for transferring could be considered an advantage. But it’s helpful to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages before deciding if it is bad to transfer in your specific situation.

What Do Universities Look For in a Transfer Student?

enroll as a transfer student

In general, it can be more difficult to enroll as a transfer student than as a freshman. Knowing what a particular school looks for can help you create a tailored admissions package.

Schools typically look at:

  • Current grades
  • Current GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay

Test scores and your high school transcript are less important as a transfer student, but a school may still consider them if you don’t have enough college coursework completed. It’s also beneficial to explain why you want to transfer. This can usually be done in a personal essay or a statement of intent.

If you are transferring because of academic struggles at your current school, your new prospective school will likely want to see evidence or a plan for change.

Can I Apply as a Freshman Instead of a Transfer Student?

requirements for transfer students

If you don’t know if your grades will meet the cut, you may be tempted to apply as a freshman instead of a transfer student. The freshman admissions process is often different from the transfer student’s admission process.

Even if you try to enroll as an incoming freshman, your new school will still know you have been enrolled in another college before. Since they will consider you a transfer student, they’ll expect you to apply with the correct transfer process.

Is Transferring Colleges Hard After One Semester?

The requirements for transfer students vary from one university to the next. Whether or not transferring is difficult may depend on the school you are moving to and your reasons for transferring.

There are a number of schools that limit their transfer enrollment. There are other transfer-friendly schools, though, that can help make the transfer process go more smoothly.

When you transfer schools, there’s no guarantee that all of your credits will transfer with you. It’s also helpful to take into account the possible loss of any current financial aid packages or scholarships.

Talking to an advisor at your current school as well as an advisor at your new school may help you better navigate the transfer process so that you end up choosing one of the easiest colleges to transfer into for your specific situation.

Does My GPA Transfer to Another College?

Your GPA does not actually transfer to another college. During the admissions process, a school will consider your GPA when determining how successful you may be in their program. If you’re accepted, though, your slate is wiped clean, and you can start building a new GPA at your new school.

This might be good news if your grade point average is lower than you’d like. The GPAs you earn throughout your educational journey will remain recorded on your official transcripts.

Can You Be Enrolled in Two Different Colleges at Once?

Enrolled in Two Different Colleges at Once

Yes, it is possible to be enrolled at two different colleges at once. This is called dual enrollment, and it’s most often used if another college has courses that will complement your major.

So, you can enroll in a second college to take classes that count toward your degree at your first college. The key, though, is to ensure the credits will transfer over to your degree program.

Dual enrollment is most often allowed when two colleges have an articulation agreement. This is a formal process that makes sure the credits can transfer between the schools.

Is Transferring Colleges Worth It?

Is Transferring Colleges Worth It

Whether or not transferring colleges is worth it for you will often boil down to your reasons for transferring. For instance, you may want to change majors, get into the school of your dreams, move to a different location, enjoy a better social scene, or enroll in a more affordable school.

Transferring schools can often be a long, complex process, but many students find it to be worth it if the advantages of their new school outweigh the possible disadvantages of transferring.

Transferring to a Different College After One Semester

Transferring to a Different College

Transferring colleges mid year is not the easiest process, but if your current school does not offer what you need, then enrolling in a new school might be the right move for you.

When deciding whether or not to transfer, it can be helpful to weigh the benefits against the risks or possible disadvantages. If the benefits outweigh the costs, you may want to consider transferring.

If you’re interested in starting over at a new school, you can start by exploring accredited institutions to find the best transfer schools that meet your personal and academic needs.

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