If you’re interested in transferring from your current institution to another, this page can be useful to you to help the process be smoother and stress free!

What does it mean to transfer?

  • To transfer is to withdraw and enroll into another institution

Things to consider when transferring from institutions to another:

  1. Cost
  2. Major/Career Interest
  3. Location
  4. Time
Process of transferring colleges

Once you have decided that you want to transfer, your first steps are to:

  1. Contact your academic adviser(s) and TOPS College Success Coach
    • It’s really important that you keep your academic adviser(s) and TOPS College Success Coach updated on what your plans are so they can properly support you when you need it. You can even complete this step first if you want to make sure you have the correct materials and help in keeping you on track to transfer.
    • Your advisers and coach can help review eligibility and the application process with you so that you have a clear understanding of the task at hand.
  2. Review eligibility
    • Is there a credit requirement for you to be able to transfer? 
  3. Review the application
    • Locate the transfer application of the institution that you want to transfer to
    • Identify what you need to gather and submit for the transfer application
  1. Setting deadlines
    • Once you have reviewed the application, make sure you take note when the application is due so that you can plan accordingly to get materials submitted.
    • Set up a timeline of compiling necessary materials. A helpful strategy is to organize getting easier items first to get them out of your way and then work on more difficult items that require more time and energy after.
  2. Review application
    • When you think you have all of your items needed for the transfer application, make sure you take time to review everything a few times.
    • Use your support systems (advisers and TOPS College Success Coach) to give your application another set of eyes to review whether your application is completed successfully.
  3. Submit your application before deadline!
    • Once everything looks good to go, submit it via electronically or mail (whichever way your institution would prefer it).
    • Make sure you received a confirmation that your application has been successfully submitted!
    • If you don’t receive any confirmations and is not sure whether your application has been successfully submitted, make sure you call the admissions office to check on your application status.
  4. Monitor the decision
    • You can check the status of your application through either the online account where you submitted materials or by calling the admissions office for live updates.
Commonly required items for college transfer applications

Each institution will have different ways they want for you to submit a transfer application.

The two most common ways are to:

  • Submit electronically via their institution’s web portal/account or through a third party’s online process.
  • Submit through mail. Most institutions do not do it this way any more because online is much easier and faster, but you can never rule it out in case your institution is smaller or do not have online processes set up.

Your institution’s transfer application may require your to pay an application fee in order for them to review it. These fees will range anywhere from $25 – $100 and vary widely.

Check with your current and future institution whether there are any application fee waivers that you can be applicable for.

If there are no application fee waivers or if you are not eligible for them, check the ways you can submit a payment to the institution for the application fee.

Some colleges will require your high school transcripts along with your college transcript, this is more common if you’re transferring right after your first year.

How to get your high school transcript: contact your clerk or administration at the high school you attended. Many transcripts you can get through online such as through parchment.

You need to submit your college transcripts to showcase the college level courses you have taken to fulfill the transfer requirements. You can request for your transcript to be sent to the college you’re applying to by contacting your registrar’s office.

Some colleges will require your ACT or SAT scores. You can contact ACT.org (ACT) or collegeboard.org (SAT) to see how you can get you scores transferred to the college you want.

Similar to when you were applying to college when you were a senior, to transfer, you will also need an essay to as why you want to study/attend the college you want to transfer to.

The format/prompt of these essays are going to vary based on the college you are looking to transfer to. Make sure to read completely the prompt and answer the questions.


  • Answer all parts of the question(s) of the prompt.
  • Start with a structure/draft of your essay.
  • Proof read your essays and check for grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Have different people read your essay for different ideas/perspectives.
  • Be honest and creative in your responses
  • Stay on target/topic, add minimal detail, and make sure your sentences have a meaning.

Some colleges will require you to provide letters of recommendation for your application. 

You should ask someone who can attest to your academic performance and ability. Try asking professors, TAs, and academic advisors.

You can ask these people by contacting them their preferred way. Start with letting them know that you are interested in transferring schools and that you feel that they can best attest to your academic strengths. Ask if they can write you a letter of recommendation for transferring and let them know you value their professional relationship. When they accept, thank them and offer to make it easy for them to write the letter by letting them know how to submit the letter. Some colleges will have you enter their contact information and will contact the person themselves how to submit the letter, or they can submit via online, or by physical letter. This is going to depend on the college itself – so make sure you do your research and offer as many ways for your recommender to submit their letter.

Resources for transferring