It has been an option for many students, especially Chinese students, to transfer schools because they were rejected by their goal-schools or simply because they don’t like their currently institution and, as a Chinese student, I’m aware that many Chinese students choose to pay some organizations and make those organizations to apply to colleges for them instead of doing all the works on their own. Transferring, however, is not really that complicated. The process can easily being done by yourself, so you don’t really need to pay a huge amount of money and let someone else doing this for you.
I was a student studying in the USA at Drexel University. A few months after I started there, I found out that I actually did not like the school. So I decided to transfer. I was admitted to other good schools and was able to transfer out successfully. So I would like to share my experience with you.
1. Have a clear sense of what you want. Do your research. Know the schools before you apply. Make a list of school that you want to apply to.
I know that Chinese students care about the rankings of the schools. Basically, many students choose their schools by rankings published by, for instance, US News and World Report and Forbes. Yet based on my experience here in the United States, rankings don’t really reveal what the schools are like. Plus, just for your information, the rankings are not really based on academics. What I suggest you should do before you start applying to transfer is to do some research. Consult your professors and American students. Ask for their opinion towards certain schools you are interested in. Also, if possible, try to get in touch with some students studying in those schools, and let them tell you what they think of those schools. By doing all these, I believe that you can get a more clear sense of what those schools are like.
2. Essay matters.
Essays can be the essential to your admission. Sometimes even if you do not have strong academic standing, essays are what impress the admissions committee. And if you are applying to a rather selective school, where almost every applicant has a good academic record, a good essay can be the thing that makes you stand out. So do take essay writing seriously.
Unlike the freshman application essay, for transfer students, most of the schools will only ask you to state the reason why you are transferring. It’s true that you are transferring because you don’t like your current school, but do keep this in mind: NEVER BAD-MOUTH YOUR CURRENT SCHOOL. You can tell your story, your experiences in your current institution. For example, what changed you, what made you a better student, etc. Write something like “I want something better” or “I want to achieve higher” instead of “I hate this school for its…”
Last but not least, do not be afraid of revising and rewriting. I personally revised and rewrote a single essay used in the Common Application more than 20 times. It actually took me several months to get to the final version. It’s actually pretty normal for application essay writing. Send your essay to your professors, advisors, friends, as many people as you can, and get their feedback, then either revise or rewrite until you have an essay that you think is perfect.
3. Be aware of the deadlines and know the credentials you need to send to the schools.
If you are applying to more than one school, please do know the deadlines because many schools have different deadlines. As for the credentials, the main documents that you should submit to every school are your college transcript, TOEFL or IELTS scores, and maybe high school transcript. However, some schools may want you to submit additional documents. So what I think you should do is check the admissions webpage for all the schools you are applying and build your own checklists for each school; including deadlines and things you need to submit to the Office of Admissions.
4. IF you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the schools.
Write an email or call the Admissions Office. Just do contact the schools you are applying once you have any troubles or concerns regarding your application. The representatives in the office would be happy to help you with any problem from missing documents to something you are not clear about. Remember to check your email for updates.
After you are done with the process, all you need to do is be patient and wait. Some schools use rolling admissions and will let you know their decision two to four weeks after your application is complete. For other schools, if you are applying for Fall-term-transfer, you will be likely to get a decision from April to May. If you are applying for Spring-term-transfer, you can hear back from the schools from October to December.
Hope my suggestions are useful to you, and good luck!