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by Lan Ngo

Dartmouth Stresses Importance of Maintaining College Transfer Program

May 10, 2014 in Admissions, All Transfers, Ivy Plus, News, Specific College

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The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth College considers transfer students to be the kinds of students the College wants to have in its community, according to a recent article in The Dartmouth, the College’s student newspaper. Although transfer admissions (along with freshman admissions) continue to grow in competitiveness, Dartmouth’s message generally seems to be one of welcome to transfer applicants. Below are highlights from the article:

At 1,210 students, the number of incoming freshmen accepting Dartmouth’s offer of acceptance is its highest ever, producing a yield of 54.5 percent.

Laskaris [Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid] said that although the Class of 2018 is overfilled, it is important to maintain a transfer program.

Laskaris noted, however, that the first-year application pool was the first priority. The number of accepted transfer students is contingent upon the space available after first-year students have decided to matriculate, she said.

Laskaris said the admissions process for transfer students is need-blind and the College meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students, as it does for first-year applicants.

Two-thirds of all students who earn a baccalaureate degree attend two or more colleges or universities, said Judith Brauer, proposal developer at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Georgia. A report released through the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center placed the figure at one-third of all students.

Between 15 and 27 transfer students enrolled each year in the College between 2010-13.

Despite the small number of transfer students enrolled in the College each year, Dartmouth seems to be “transfer friendly”, in that the transfer admissions process is need-blind, and the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid seems supportive of the College’s transfer student population.

Photo: Ben Stephenson

Transfer Admissions Rates for US News 2013 Added

September 27, 2012 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, News, Stats

Harvard gates

We just added the recently released Fall 2011 transfer admissions numbers for some of the top schools in the US (the “2013″ Top 50 National Universities according to US News). These are the stats for students who applied to transfer and start Fall 2011 term.

(US News releases its Top 50 every September, based on information from the previous fall. So these transfer stats for students transferring and starting school Fall 2011 is for the US News Top 50 rankings released September 2012.)

Check it out by clicking here, or by hovering over the “Statistics” tab at the top of the page and clicking on the first option in the dropdown menu.

Additionally – because we love you, obviously – we also put together a table comparing the transfer admissions rates for Fall 2011 and 2010 at the same schools. Click here to check it out, or hover over the “Statistics” menu and click on the second dropdown. It’s one thing to see what a college’s transfer admission rate was in a given year, but it’s also interesting to see how consistent (or not) the admissions rates are over a period of time.

Generally speaking, it looks like the trend of shrinking admissions rates continues this year. Here’s our quick analysis:

Transfer acceptance rates vs. freshman acceptance rates

18 of the 50 schools had higher transfer admissions rates than freshman admissions rates, while 31 of the 50 had lower transfer admissions rates versus freshman admissions (Princeton, which doesn’t take any transfers, is the remaining school).

Fall 2011 applications filed vs. Fall 2010 applications filed

The number of transfer applications filed for the Top 50 that we have data for (48 of the 50 schools) increased by 9%, to 182,729 from 167,498. In other words, about 15,000 more transfer applications for the Top 50 were filed for Fall 2011 versus Fall 2010. We don’t have the numbers for Rensselaer Polytechnic, which wasn’t in the Top 50 last year, so we can’t compare their numbers.

Fall 2011 transfer acceptance rates vs. Fall 2010 transfer acceptance rates

16 of the 50 colleges had their transfer admissions rates increase versus last year, while more schools (32 of the 50) became more selective.

While the number of applications went up 9%, the number of acceptances stayed flat, at 62,615 Fall 2011 versus 62,556 Fall 2010. So, 9% more applications fighting for pretty much the same number of acceptances equals lower transfer acceptance rates overall.

Duke only accepted 26 transfer applicants for Fall 2011 versus 74 the previous year, a 65% drop. Georgetown, Penn, Brandeis, Chicago, and Wake Forest all reduced the number of “yes” letters they sent out by 20% or more.

On the flip side, MIT and Stanford both more than doubled the number of transfer students they accepted versus last year. MIT accepted 44 transfers for Fall 2011 versus 18 for Fall 2010, and Stanford accepted 58 students versus only 25 last year.

The biggest change: transfer applications to Harvard more than doubled

Looking at the biggest changes, the number of people applying to transfer to Harvard more than doubled to 1,486 from 612 the previous year. We’re guessing this is because Harvard just re-initiated its transfer program last year, and it takes a little while for the word to get out.

Conclusion: transfer rates move a lot so apply to several schools

We think the key piece of information here is that transfer admissions rates fluctuate a lot more than freshman admissions rates. This is mainly because transfer space varies a lot each year depending on the spaces available given each colleges’ development plans and their own dropout/transfer out rates.

Based on that information, two important takeaways:

(1) Don’t let a single year’s acceptance numbers determine whether or not you apply to a school. Do the best you can, and if you’re a competitive applicant, you have good reasons for transferring, and you want to go the school, apply. You really don’t know if they’ll have more space or less space next year, and you don’t know how many students you’ll be competing against for those spaces.

(2) If you’re really interested in transferring, apply to several schools. For example, maybe you think you’re the perfect fit for X University, your top choice. And maybe you are, but unfortunately it turns out they just don’t have any space this year. You should’ve also applied to Y University, which is almost as good a fit, and which happens to have plenty of space due to a housing initiative they just started.

Overall, just use the stats as a metric to get a roundabout sense of how hard it may be to transfer to a particular school. Either way, if you have a good profile for a school and have good reason to transfer to it (such as any of the many successful real stories mentioned in the book), the stats shouldn’t affect your approach too much either way.

Question of the Day: Do you see any interesting patterns in the stats? Surprised that a particular school has a particular transfer admissions rate? Intrigued that a certain college’s transfer admissions rate changed so much? Let us know in the comments! We plan on following up with some of the schools to better understand their particular policies toward transfer admissions.

Photo: timsackton

Transfer Admissions Rates for US News 2012 Added

October 9, 2011 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, News, Stats

We just added the recently released Fall 2010 transfer admissions numbers for some of the top schools in the US (the “2012” Top 50 National Universities according to US News).

Check it out by clicking here, or by hovering over the “Stats” tab at the top of the page and clicking on the first option in the dropdown menu.

Additionally – because we love you, obviously – we also put together a table comparing the transfer admissions rates in 2010 and 2009 at the same schools. Click here to check it out, or hover over the “Stats” menu and click on the second dropdown. It’s one thing to see what a college’s transfer admission rate was in a given year, but it’s even more helpful – we hope – to see how consistent (or not) the admissions rates are over a period of time.

Generally speaking, it looks like the trend of shrinking admissions rates continues this year.

20 of the 50 schools had higher transfer admissions rates than freshman admissions rates, while 29 of the 50 had lower transfer admissions rates versus freshman admissions (Princeton, which doesn’t take any transfers, is the remaining school).

21 of the 50 colleges had their transfer admissions rates increase versus last year, while more schools (27 of the 50) became more selective. Harvard began admitting transfers again as of Fall 2010, so their rate went from 0% in 2009 to 2% this year. We could not get previous year data for George Washington University, which was not in the Top 50 last year, so we couldn’t track how their transfer admission rate changed.

Looking at the largest moves, Lehigh University’s transfer admissions rate shrank from 70% last year to 36% this year, while UC Davis’s increased to 66% from 37%.

Obviously the transfer admissions rates are a function of a large number of factors (the quality of the applicant pool, the number of students that choose to apply, the spaces available given the admitting colleges’ own dropout/transfer out rates, etc.). So, just use the stats as a metric to get a roundabout sense of how hard it may be to transfer to a particular school, knowing that the numbers can change fairly significantly, but not too dramatically in any given year. Either way, if you’re targeting a school and have good reason to transfer to it (such as any of the many successful real stories mentioned in the book), the stats shouldn’t affect your approach too much either way.

Question of the Day: Do you see any interesting patterns in the stats? Surprised that a particular school has a particular transfer admissions rate? Intrigued that a certain college’s transfer admissions rate changed so much? Let us know in the comments! We plan on following up with some of the schools to better understand their particular policies toward transfer admissions.

(Photo: kkoshy)

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by Lan Ngo

Transfer Program at Harvard College Resumes

August 27, 2010 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Ivy Plus, News, Specific College

If you look at our table of transfer acceptance rates, you’ll see that Harvard’s rate says “0.0%.” That’s because the transfer program ceased to even exist, but now Harvard is accepting transfer applicants again.

An article in the Harvard Gazette shares the news. Here are the highlights for prospective transfer applicants:

Harvard’s generous financial aid policies will apply to transfer students.

Yes, it’s nice to go to a “wealthy” school. Harvard, with an endowment of over $25 billion (as of 2009), can afford to share the love. Watch out for other schools that are less generous to transfer students than freshmen.

What does it take to be a competitive Harvard transfer applicant?

“Harvard seeks students with clearly developing academic interests that can be well served by Harvard,” said Marlene Vergara Rotner, director of transfer admissions.  “Students who apply should be enrolled in a challenging liberal arts curriculum that includes mathematics, science, and a foreign language.”

“Transfer admission closely mirrors that of freshman admissions, insofar as it looks beyond good grades and test scores and considers the qualities of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and independent thinking,” Rotner said.  “Other factors weighed in the evaluation of transfer candidates include significant nonacademic talents and personal qualities such as a capacity for leadership, energy, character, motivation, and a sense of responsibility.”

Academics are important, but an immaculate transcript alone just doesn’t cut it for Harvard and the other ivy plus schools. In contrast, many state universities that have transfer articulation agreements with community colleges usually just look at grades and GPA. In many cases, when applying to a four-year school under a transfer articulation agreement, a transfer essay is not even needed.

For most transfer applicants, Harvard is definitely a “reach” school. However, if you think you have what it takes, it’s worth a shot. We wish you all the best with your transfer process!

(Photo: David Paul Ohmer)

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by Lan Ngo

Your High School Counselor Held You Back? Maybe It’s Time to Transfer Colleges

March 22, 2010 in All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, News

Don’t think your current college is a good fit? Maybe your high school counselor held you back. A study by Public Agenda, a nonprofit group, asked young adults to reflect on their experiences with their counselors in high school. The title of the study tells you a lot: Can I get a Little Advice Here? How an Overstretched High School Guidance System is Undermining Student’s College Aspirations. Just to highlight the main points, here are two of the study’s major findings:

Finding One: Most students, even those who successfully complete college, give their high school guidance counselors fair or poor ratings

Finding Two: Students who get perfunctory counseling are more likely to delay college and make more questionable higher education choices

As someone who graduated from a less-than-great high school of 2,000+ students, I am not at all surprised by the results. To put it more precisely, and harshly, my high school counselor was useless to me. Coming from a family with little education, I was completely lost when it came to the college application process. I just knew that higher education was the way for me to go, but I didn’t really know how to get there. Perhaps my counselor didn’t know, either. If she did, she was keeping a really big secret from me.

Fast forward from my high school years to my first couple months as an undergrad. I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Would I have been able to prevent this disaster had my high school counselor helped me? I can’t say for sure, but I think I would have been able to at least make a more informed decision. Somehow, I figured out that I could apply to transfer to another college or university and, gratefully, ended up transferring to Stanford, a university that I didn’t even consider in high school.

If you’re unhappy and getting nowhere at your current college, you can’t just sit around blaming your high school counselor, yourself, or anyone else. Learn from your experience. Look into how you can better your situation, possibly by transferring out. It’s up to you to achieve your goals in life.

(Photo: pasukaru76)