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Questions to Ask when Transferring to a Four-Year College


Posted on November 25, 2014 by Delaware Valley College.

If you’ve completed your studies at a community college, you may be planning to attend a four-year college next. Or perhaps you’re unhappy with your current academic situation and would like to transfer to a different college that will better suit your needs. Many students are interested in transferring colleges for various reasons, but are unsure of how to go about the process. 

Here are some questions that are beneficial to ask before you start filling out the transfer papers and asking for transcripts and referral letters.

Do my credits transfer? It’s crucial to make sure your credits transfer before choosing a new college. Unless you’re changing colleges because you’ve decided to study another field and your current college doesn’t have applicable majors, you don't want to lose credits when you transfer to another school. Elective credits are the first to be lost as a result of a transfer because schools don’t necessarily acknowledge each other’s special classes, but it’s important to find out whether this is the case. 

Does your college offer merit scholarships for transfer students? Seventy-seven percent of colleges report that they provide merit scholarships to transfer students. Eighty-one percent of small colleges (fewer than 3,000 students) say they award merit scholarships to transfer students. Speak with someone at the admissions office at the college where you plan to transfer for information about their merit scholarships. 

How does the next school compare to my current school in terms of test scores and reputation? There are thousands of colleges in the United States and all of them are ranked using several variables. The SATs and ACTs are the only tests that really level the applicant playing field for the college admission boards. If you’re keeping the same major, how does the transfer school compare in that field? Are the elective courses as interesting? Are the classes easier or more intense? Are there more lectures or more fieldwork? Which do you prefer? Also, is the student body more homogeneous or multicultural? Schools now see the importance of participating in the global neighborhood, so they have developed strong, successful global outreach programs. 

Can I take classes online? This is an excellent question for students who are looking to transfer because of finance issues. Online classes are growing in popularity because of their convenience and cost. With online classes, you can bypass a hectic schedule and a long commute while also saving money. Just don't be fooled into thinking online classes are easier than campus-based classes. For some online classes, more homework and more tests are required to ensure you're keeping up and understanding the material. 

Where can I find disability or special needs assistance (if needed)? If you have any sort of disability (physical, learning, developmental, or psychological) that has been an issue at your current school, you’ll want to make sure you know about what you may encounter at the new school before you transfer. There are services on every campus that can help people dealing with disabilities. Many schools have advisors who specialize in assisting disabled students. Schedule an appointment with the disabled student services advisor to inquire ahead of time.

Transferring colleges can seem difficult, but if you’re completely informed and fully prepared, the process will be rewarding. At DelVal, we have a transfer coordinator who can help you answer these questions and more. This way, we can get to know you and your unique circumstances. Click here for more information about the transfer process.