Are you transferring? Top 5 tips on how to change schools


Blake Aronson is a Senior Education Associate at ACS, where she compiles and develops resources for two-year college chemistry faculty and students. She welcomes comments, suggestions, and questions at

Thinking of changing schools? You’re not alone. A recent report  from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that one third of all college students transfer at least once before earning their degrees. About half of those students transfer to a two-year college, even if they started at a four-year institution.

But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that transferring is easy. Here are the top 5 tips for making your transition easier:


1)     Get to know your advisor.
Every campus has academic advisors whose sole job is to make sure you get the education that works best for you, even if that means going to another school. Find your advisor; visit early and often.

2)     Know why you want to transfer…and where you are going.
Are you trying for a degree or major not offered at your current institution? Is your current campus too large or small for comfort? Do you need to be closer to home? Knowing why you what to transfer will help you and your adviser find the institution that is right for you.

Once you know the institution you are heading to, you can make sure you meet the requirements of that institution, which brings us to…

3)     Take the right classes.
Not all courses are accepted by all institutions. While many institutions have transfer and articulation agreements to smooth the transition, it is always best to confirm that the courses you are taking now will earn you full credit at the school you transfer to. Your adviser can help you identify the right classes to take now.

Your advisor can also help you…

4)     Meet all your deadlines.
Unlike the occasional lenient professor, college administrations rarely grant extensions. Know the deadlines you have for applying, registering, getting financial aid, etc., and make sure you meet them.

5)    Visit campus you are transferring to.
Knowing where you are headed will make your transfer easier. Get to know the campus layout, figure out how you will get to class, and find the best places to study or grab a cup of coffee. Meet with your future professors (and your future advisor) and ask about their expectations and recommendations for academic success.


Meet with the students who will become your classmates and find out their tips for getting the most out of school. And be sure to ask about social activities, which bring us to …

6)    Bonus tip: get involved.
It is not uncommon for transitioning students to feel isolated after they transfer. Getting involved in the campus ACS student chapter, study groups, or other student organizations can help. Be sure to attend orientation, just hang out with your new classmates. While your studies are still important, getting involved on campus will help you adjust and make the most of your experience.


Need more? We’ve collected a bunch of resources at Transferring Colleges. You’ll find more tips, information on financial aid, and state-specific and nationwide resources to help you make the transfer.

We would also love to know your transfer stories, or field any questions you may have!


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