Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Nancy Lee Sánchez, executive director of Kaplan Educational Foundation.
Did you know that 37 percent of all college students transfer at least once before they get a bachelor’s degree? Yet, in spite of all the transfer students that populate college campuses around the country, there are still a ton of misconceptions around transferring.
Some potential transfer students think top schools don’t want them, others think they can’t afford top schools, and some even think they’re too old to go through the process. I’m happy to say that none of this true!
In the spirit of mythbusting these and other fictions about transfer, here are some answers to those common complaints and others I’ve heard as a college coach and mentor. Taken from chapter three of Your 2019 Guide to College Transfer, I hope they help you understand how top colleges in the country are looking to recruit and support students like you.
MYTH #1: “Top colleges don’t want transfer students.”
The fact is, selective colleges around the nation such as Stanford, Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Brown, and others have consistently admitted transfer students. Although the numbers of admitted transfer students may range from year to year, many top schools are using transfer admissions as a way to expand the diversity of their student body. Transfer students are also valued for their high retention and completion rates. Many selective schools even have special programs, orientation sessions, advisors, and financial aid opportunities specifically for transfer students, as they understand their needs are different from those of freshman students.
MYTH #2: “I can’t consider private schools because I can’t afford them.”
At a glance, private schools look like they cost much more than state colleges or other publicly funded schools. However, many of these schools commit to meeting the financial need of all students they accept, regardless of the student’s income or financial status, or that of their parents. In many instances, private schools actually may be less expensive to attend than a state or city school.
MYTH #3: “I’m too old/I’ve been out of school for too long.”
There’s no such thing as being too old to earn a college degree! Programs for transfer students usually take into account that older students may not want to live with freshmen, may prefer to live with graduate students, or in some cases would like housing that is specifically geared toward non-traditional-age students and their families. Your application will be evaluated not only on academic experiences, but also your life experiences. You may be surprised to learn that schools often consider your involvement with family, work, and local organizations like your church or community center. Military experience is appreciated by many schools, as are other forms of specialized training.
MYTH #4: “I am a caregiver at home. My parent/kid takes up all my time.”
Family obligations and responsibilities may seem to obstruct your plans for transfer; however, it takes a lot of maturity and commitment to take care of a loved one, and schools recognize this. Your biggest hurdle is not what you’ve been responsible for in the past, it’s whether you will be able to find the resources and focus to take on a full course load at your prospective transfer school. Having a conversation with your family and finding resources locally to make sure they are taken care of is an important first step. If you’re responsible for children, keep in mind that some schools provide family housing or will help you find local housing.
The bottom line is that transferring to a four-year school is worth your careful consideration. Phi Theta Kappa members are exactly the kinds of students that selective schools are looking for, and they’ll likely be able to provide you with the resources you need to succeed, no matter your personal or financial situation.
For a complete understanding of how to bust the “myths of transfer,” find out what schools are best suited for your particular needs, and maximize your transfer credits, check out the Kaplan Educational Foundation’s Your 2019 Guide to College Transfer. Besides advice for all kinds of students, the Guide also contains profiles of over 100 colleges and universities, including their transfer admissions, credit, and housing policies. And check out the Foundation’s free transfer resources to help you manage the process, track your timeline for transfer, and reduce the costs of applying.
Don’t let any of the myths of transfer stop you or your fellow students from dreaming big. There’s no time like right now to take the next step in your college career!