Guide to transferring universities or college to university in the US

Guide to transferring universities or college to university in the US

If you are already studying in the US as an international student, you should know that you have the option of transferring universities in the US. Whether you would like to transfer from community college to university or  from university to another, since you have a valid student visa in the US, the process of transferring might be easier than you think. Keep reading this ultimate guide for all information you need.

Before transferring universities in the US, there are many factors to be considered. International students may feel more pressured about the process because of their unfamiliarity with the system of their host country. 

Transferring between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities is possible. International students can transfer from one college or university to another after or before the first semester or between academic years. However, transfer deadlines vary from one university to another.

International students in the US choose to transfer universities or from community college to university for many reasons. Usually a university not being a good fit is the most common reason, however, cost and university repetition could have a huge impact on making this decision. 

Reasons students transfer universities or college to university in the US

Reasons students transfer universities or college to university in the US

According to UC Berkeley, one-third of its new enrollments are transferring students. While this percentage is higher for UCLA university (36%).   

Not to mention that, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, more than one third of college students in the US transfer schools before getting a degree. Have you wondered why they would do so? 

  • Preparation to earn a four-year degree: For many students, community colleges are an opportunity to earn credits with affordable tuition fees or to boost academic performance. Therefore increase their chances in admission at four-year colleges and universities.
  • Being unhappy: Many students choose transferring universities in the US because they do not feel comfortable at their school. Or they are not getting the high quality of education they expected due to poor academic performance. So they seek better educational institutions with more social activities. 
  • Changing Majors: Sometimes it could be challenging for young students to choose the suitable major. Many of them will discover later that they would prefer studying other majors, so they transfer to other universities to start their desired major.
  • Cost: Many students find out that the education they are getting is not in line with how much they’re paying. Sometimes they feel like they can’t afford the tuition fees of the whole program. So they choose to transfer to other educational institutions where they can take advantage of cheaper tuition.
  • Career opportunities: Some universities in the US help students to get access to better career opportunities or offer part-time jobs or internships for their students.

Transferring universities in the US available options

Mainly, there are two options or scenarios for students who wish to transfer to another university while they are already studying in the US on a student visa:

  • Transferring from a US two-year community college to a four-year institution: International students who are still not ready for a 4-year university and need time to work on their GPA may consider a community college as an option.
  1. Transferring from a four-year US university to another US university: In this case, students might choose to transfer to another university to a better fit of their needs and requirements.

Note: the requirements for each may differ depending on the chosen transfer location or school. 

Things to consider before transferring process:

  • It is important for students to find out the maximum amount of credits that can be transferred across universities.
  • Students should make sure that the specific English language classes they’re taking at their former school can be transferred to their new destination.
  • Usually there is a minimum GPA requirement in order to transfer to each school.
  • Students need to do a pre-search about the maximum number of credits that can be transferred and the accreditations of the university they are planning to transfer to.
  • Who need to start their transferring applications early to settle every document on time before the deadline.
  • Students need to inform and have approval from their current university head of department.  

How to start the process of transferring universities in the US?

How to start the process of transferring universities in the US?

1. Consult your International Student Advisor and Academic Advisor.

Before going through this huge process, it is important to research the minimum entry requirements for the transfer program. You may need to talk to people with transferring backgrounds to help you with your application.

International Student Advisors or an Academic Advisor will provide you with important information such as the number of credits that can be transferred and alerting the appropriate authority and taking the required procedures to get things moving.

2. Collect the necessary documentation for the application process.

The next step in transferring universities in the US is to start preparing your papers for the school you chose to move into. As an international student, you’ll need to meet the following basic requirements to apply for a transfer:

  • Your academic transcripts from the recent school you attended.
  • Standardized English language tests such as the TOEFL and IELTS if you have not finished the comp1 and comp2.
  • SAT/ACT if it might be required.
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Application fee

Bear in mind that every school has its own requirements so always check their website for further information about the program. 

3. Update SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Program):

If this step is missed then students have to reapply again with all the documents like bank statements, passport, and a requisition letter asking to reinstate the student’s status to the USCIS.

Therefore, students need to make sure that SEVIS records and status are fully transferred and updated to the new school. Then their new school can issue an I-20 form to be eligible for F-1 academic student or M-1 vocational student status.     

4. Settle all outstanding fees:

After going with all mentioned steps above, now you only need to make sure that you pay your tuition. You may need to pay full or partial tuition depending on the school so you have to check that with the current school’s finance department. 

Universities and colleges for international students transfer program

Universities and colleges for international students transfer program

Here are some American universities and colleges transferring programs and deadlines for you to consider: 

1. University of South Carolina: 

Extended Accelerator Program (EAP) is a three-semester program for students seeking an immersive English-learning experience. It focuses on academic, cultural, and professional growth so you can excel in school and prepare for a successful future. Students may enter the program in the spring, summer, or fall. 

2. Auburn University:

The extended accelerator program (EAP) is a full year’s worth of college credits that combines language, culture, and academics to give students a deep understanding of life in and out of the American classroom. Also, the application starts in October and ends on  September 7.

3. University of Massachusetts Boston: 

Over 60 percent of transfer students come from community colleges and have different transfer programs for international students. Students will benefit from a portable block of credit, pathway programs, tuition benefits, and more. Each program is designed to help students transfer to a public university and maximize their academic credits. The deadline for the fall semester is 15th Jun and the spring semester is 15th December. 

4. University of Massachusetts Amherst:

UMass Amherst is one of the major public research universities in America. Students may enter the program in the spring, summer, or fall. And now they have Virtual, Hybrid, and On-campus options available. The On-Campus option will start with the 1-semester online followed by 2 semesters On Campus.

5. American Collegiate Los Angeles: 

American Collegiate, LA, in collaboration with UCLA Extension, allows students to earn recognized first-year university credits that are eligible for transfer to top-ranked institutions. Upon successful completion of certificate requirements, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from UCLA Extension and the following benefits: 

  • Become a member of the UCLA Alumni Association
  • Access Handshake, UCLA Career Center’s online job board, featuring thousands of job and internship postings – perfect for finding OPT placements!
  • Benefit from UCLA Extension’s Career Resources, including online career coaching, workshops, and networking events
  • Take advantage of the UCLA Recreation facilities at no additional cost

Now that you know how the transferring universities process in the US works for international students, plan your journey to your dream school. As mentioned above, each university has different requirements so make sure to speak to your academic supervisor for the best advice.

If you wish to transfer ​​to another school in the USA. We at the Golden Gate Study Abroad can help you through the whole process. Make sure you send us your request by now and we will be talking to you soon to start your application! Fill out our application following the link below and within 24 hours one of our advisors will contact you and give you all the information you need!

Read more about Can I work in USA after graduation? 

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