Tag Archives: college transfers

The Art of College Transfer Admissions

Are you thinking about transferring colleges? What transfer pathway is suitable for you? Do you plan to apply to a four-year college while you are in community college? Do you worry that your current courses may not transfer well? Join our FREE webinar to learn all the insights you need on college transfer at 6:00pm (Pacific), October 12!


DATE: November 9, 2021

TIME: 6:00m PDT  |   9:00 pm  EDT

Location: Online via Zoom

About this event

This webinar outlines the transfer requirements and essential tasks for students who are currently gearing up for transfer admissions. It is also a great opportunity for those who just started to think about transferring colleges to learn and prepare early for the road ahead.


Transferring colleges? You are not the only one. Over 37% of students transfer college before getting their bachelor’s degree. However, 4 out of 10 students lose a good portion of their college credits during the transfer and 15% of the community college students are unable to transfer their credits at all. How do you avoid time and financial setbacks while getting accepted to your top choice school?


For 22 years, Insight Education has been helping students and families to navigate their way in college admissions. Our extensive experience has successfully guided countless transfer applicants both from community colleges to four-year universities and from one four-year university to another. During this webinar, Insight’s Transfer Admissions Counselor Ramya Annam will lead the discussion on how you can strategize and plan for transfer admissions.


We will cover

  • Different transfer pathways, such as transferring between 4-year universities or community colleges to 4-year institutions
  • Transfer eligibility, requirements, and detailed timeline
  • Building your transfer admissions profile, including academic, applications, and admissions essays
  • Do’s and Don’ts for UC Applications
  • Major changes and Covid impact
  • And much much more!



Insights into Transferring Colleges

Are you thinking about transferring colleges? If so, you’re in the right place, because I’m a transfer student and I’m going to tell you about my experience.


Insight counselor Jason’s insight #1: Don’t blindly follow the college rankings.


When I was a senior at Palo Alto High School, I applied to approximately ten colleges. I did not work with an Insight counselor, and thus did not receive a lot of educated guidance regarding what college would be the best fit for me. My parents were helpful, but most of their information about colleges was 30 years out of date. My guidance counselor at PALY was so overworked and overwhelmed that I was only able to meet with her twice. So, I was left with how prestigious I perceived colleges to be and their ranking in US News & World Report.


Once I received all my acceptances, I decided to attend New York University—mainly because I thought it would be cool to live in New York City and because of NYU’s ranking in US News & World Report.


Insight counselor Jason’s insight #2: Don’t be fooled by your initial impressions. College is a four-year experience.


When I first arrived at NYU, it was cool and exciting! So much to see, so much to do. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Broadway plays, every type of restaurant imaginable, nightclubs, Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village, Central Park, running into celebrities on the street, and on and on. I went to a Yankees game, I stood in the fountain featured in the opening of “Friends”, and supposedly my dorm room was across the hall from the dorm room Adam Sandler lived in years earlier. And that New York pizza—to this day I still haven’t found a better slice of pizza than the one a block away from my dorm room at Mama Mia What A Pizza!


However, after the initial rush of excitement about living in New York City wore off, I began to realize that my experience at NYU was missing many things. First and foremost, I’m extremely close with my family and they were across the country in California—I was homesick. Additionally, having grown up in the California suburbs, I was used to sunshine and temperate weather—not below freezing temperatures and sleet and snow. Not to mention I enjoy lots of trees and grass, and room to roam without running into someone. This environment that I craved is found in the suburbs—not in the middle of New York City.


Finally, I realized that not only was living in the most fast-paced, unforgiving city in the country not for me, but that NYU itself was a poor choice for me. I wanted a school that had a defined campus, had a real sense of community, and had more school spirit.


So, despite the fact that I was doing very well academically at NYU, I made the difficult but necessary decision to transfer. The question was—where to?


Insight counselor Jason’s insight #3: Again, don’t blindly follow the college rankings.


Although I did have good times at NYU, my experiences there pretty much taught me what I did not want in a college. I did not want a college in a big city, I did not want a college located in a freezing cold area of the country, and I did not want a college that lacked a true campus and school spirit. However, don’t get me wrong—NYU is an amazing place and is a great fit for many students, just not for me.


So, like when I was a senior at PALY, I put together another college list and began applying. And although I had a better sense of the type of environment I wanted in a college, I was still caught up with the US News & World Report rankings. I was accepted to schools like Vanderbilt, the University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Virginia.


However, in the end I blocked out the cultural pressure and decided not to let the rankings dictate where I transferred to. I thought about the reasons I was leaving NYU, the most important of which was being close to my family. Thankfully, almost as an afterthought, I had thrown in an application to Santa Clara University and this is where I ended up transferring to. As added bonuses, SCU also happens to be a school with nice weather, a beautiful defined campus, and lots of school spirit.


Insight counselor Jason’s insight #4: No college is perfect.


Although SCU turned out to be a great choice for me, there were a couple of downsides to transferring. For example, I wish I had received more guidance regarding how many of my credits from NYU would transfer to SCU. It would not have changed my decision to transfer to SCU, but it would have lessened the shock and disappointment I felt when I arrived at SCU and was told that many of my credits from NYU would not transfer to SCU.


Another downside was the social aspect of transferring. Summer orientation for freshman and freshman year in general, is a seminal moment in many people’s lives when life-long friendships begin. (I can attest to this, as the best man at my wedding was a friend I met at NYU’s summer orientation). So, if you transfer colleges, you will have missed out on freshman year at the school you transfer to, and it can sometimes feel like you are behind socially, and that many friend groups have already been formed. Once these groups have formed, it can be difficult to join in.


Insight counselor Jason’s insight #5: Transferring is not for everyone, but it was the right choice for me.


The bottom line is that after the initial excitement wore off, I was not happy at NYU. I probably could have “toughed it out” at NYU and graduated faster than I did by transferring and losing some of my initial college credits. But how would staying at NYU have affected my mental health and emotional development? Probably not in a positive way.


Transferring gave me a second chance to make the correct college choice for me—with a much better understanding of what I wanted out of a college than I had when I was a senior at PALY.


Read more: Why is it important to find your “best-fit” college? 

Thinking about transferring between UCs? Check out this post: Transferring Between UC Campuses…Wait, That’s Possible?


Written by Jason Katz

This article was written by Insight Counselor Jason Katz.

Jason has helped hundreds of students gain admission to their best-fit universities. In addition, he wrote more than 170 college admissions/college life columns for the Palo Alto Daily News and the San Jose Mercury News. Read his full bio here.

Transferring Between UC Campuses…Wait, That’s Possible?

You’ve probably heard about transferring from a community college to a UC institution, but did you know it’s possible to transfer between UC campuses?  This is the path I took—I spent my first two years at UC Santa Barbara before transferring to UC Berkeley for my last two years of undergraduate studies. If you’re interested in hearing about my experience at both universities, please read my Insight Alma Mater: UC Santa Barbara and Insight Alma Mater: UC Berkeley blog posts. 


As someone who has successfully transferred between two UC institutions, I want to share my experience; however, I do not want to downplay the potential challenges (and rewards!) students who choose this path may face.


 Ultimately, this blog post aims to give an honest account of my experience and things you should be mindful about if you’re considering this option in the future.


Transferring Between UC Campuses: Who, What, and Why?


What Does This Mean & Who Is Eligible: As alluded to previously, students who attend one of the nine UC campuses can apply to transfer to a different UC campus and finish their degree, as long as they meet the transfer prerequisites to do so.


(The requirements to transfer are beyond the scope of this article; however, I strongly recommend consulting Insight counselors if you’re interested in pursuing this option).

The degree conferred is from the latter UC.  In my case, I have a BA in Linguistics and a minor in Chinese from UC Berkeley. 


Reasons for Considering This Option: A few notable reasons to consider this path include a student’s ideal major is not offered at their UC campus; a student feels that another UC institution may fit them better; personal reasons; or special circumstances.  However, please read the full article to better understand what this may entail.



10 Things To Know Before You Transfer


Now that you hopefully have a better idea of what it means to transfer between UC campuses, I’ve compiled ten things you should be aware of if you’re interested in pursuing this option.


#1 From My Experience, Transferring Between UC Institutions is Not Easy 

Like I said, I want to provide an honest account, and from my experience, IT IS NOT EASY to transfer between UC institutions. During my sophomore year of college, I had to complete the UC application again and take college-level courses while balancing my other commitments, which was a lot to handle.


What’s more, the official University of California, Office of the President website states, “we give the highest priority to California community college students transferring as juniors—who make up over 90% of our transfer class.”


With few spots available for students transferring from 4-year universities, a strong profile at your original UC institution will only benefit you if you plan on pursuing this seriously.



#2 Try to Make the Most of Your Time at Your Original UC Institution

While transferring is an option, I also strongly encourage you to make the most of your time at your original UC institution by building community; being engaged with your professors, TAs, and the material you’re learning; and exploring all that your school has to offer. 


After all, college will pass by quickly, so take advantage of it! Your school could potentially grow on you, and you might prefer completing all four years there.  

You now know that you need to work hard at your original school and that you should make the most of your time there. What happens if you’re still looking to transfer in the future? Keep the following in mind:


#3 You Might Feel Like a Freshman…But with University Experience and Less Time  

When I transferred to UC Berkeley, I felt like a freshman all over again in some ways, even though I was technically an upperclassman.  I got lost multiple times during the first few weeks of school and knew very few people. On the flip side, I already had a sense of how lectures and discussions section worked; I knew how clubs and organizations generally operated; and I had experience living in the dorms from UCSB. 


This could possibly be viewed as an “advantage” of transferring from another UC institution—you already have a sense of what being at a 4-year university is like. Nonetheless, this dichotomy of being an upperclassman but feeling like a freshman was something I had to grapple with.  


In addition, as I will explain in more detail below, you inherently have less time than freshman by nature—less time to get acclimated, less time to make friends, less time to join clubs, and less time to explore all that your new school has to offer. This will be the reality you will face should you choose to transfer.


#4 People Might Not Understand What It Feels like to Transfer Between UC Campuses

As previously mentioned, California community college students make up the vast majority of transfer studentsEven within the transfer community, you’ll likely be in a unique position if you transfer from another UC campus, which can feel isolating. I would strongly encourage you to reach out to your support system as you try to build a community at your new school. 


#5 There is a Big Difference Between Quarter System & Semester System 

I spent my first two years in the quarter system before transferring to a school that uses the semester system.  From my experience, that was an adjustment. I had to learn how to pace myself so that I wouldn’t burn out by the end of the fifteen weeks.  So, if you plan on applying to schools with a different system, I suggest taking that into account. Also, your units might not transfer, as I will elaborate on below.  


#6 You Might Need to Retake Classes  

I had to retake many of my major classes, perhaps partly because quarter system units and semester units might be weighted differently. On one hand, this was a chance to solidify the information in my major classes or see the information presented in a different way.


On the other hand, I also had to decide if I wanted to take all the classes I was interested in and risk not graduating in four years, or focus on taking the mandatory classes which would give me a higher chance of graduating “on time.” 


This is something that would be imperative for those seeking to transfer between UC institutions to consider. To better understand your specific major, I recommend reaching out to the major adviser of the schools that you are interested in transferring to and asking if you would need to retake your major classes should you decide to transfer.


#7 You’ll Likely Experience Activities You Wouldn’t Have Had the Chance to 

While I had to retake many of my classes, one thing I appreciated about transferring was the amount of extracurricular activities present at UC Berkeley. As I mentioned in my Insight Alma Mater blog post, I taught Taiwanese; joined a dance club for a semester, which was something I’ve always wanted to try; and mentored some community college students. Take advantage of these organizations and experiences that were not present at your old school, especially when you theoretically only have two years to do so. 


#8 You Will Gain Some & You Will Lose Some

To sum up, you will gain some and you will lose some if you decide to transfer in case that wasn’t already clear. However, a few years from now, you will ideally have a stronger sense of your values and what you are willing to compromise on if you choose to reapply, given that school culture, environment, weather, relationships, extracurricular activities, academic rigor, research opportunities, and future job prospects are just a few areas that can change should you choose to transfer.


#9 Understand Schools from the Perspective of a Transfer Student

If you receive acceptance as a transfer student, it’s imperative to not only try to understand the school and environment but also understand the school from the perspective of a transfer student.


How big is that particular school’s transfer population? What specific resources are available for transfer students and students transferring from another UC institution? How much support is given to the transfer population? What courses can you transfer over, and what courses do you need to retake? Know the answers to these questions.


#10 You Will Get a More Holistic College Experience 

I learned quickly that UC campuses, at least the ones I attended, are unique schools in many ways, even if they’re all classified under the UC system. From noticing the difference in school culture down to the nitty-gritty of how students get to and from campus, you’ll gain a more holistic experience and nuanced perspective of what university is like that other students don’t experience should you decide to transfer. 


After witnessing what culture and learning environment best fits you, this could be incredibly valuable insight if you plan on applying to graduate school in the future.   


Since it’s uncommon to transfer between UC campuses, I hope this blog post has provided some insight into what this may entail should you pursue this in the future.


However, your Insight counselor is a great resource who can provide more details about the process and offer suggestions given your individual circumstances, so please consult your Insight counselor if you’re interested in hearing more about this path.

Thanks for reading! Good luck, and you got this!

Authored by Jenny Huang.