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by Lan Ngo

College Transfer Applications: Sending Transcripts

December 26, 2013 in Admissions, All Transfers, Requirements

Envelope

One of the unspoken requirements of the transfer applications is the ability to be organized. Sending your school transcripts demonstrates this need.

Though the Common Application for freshman applicants allows high schools to electronically submit school reports and transcripts through the Common App website, this function isn’t available to transfer applicants, who must send hard copies to the colleges/universities they’re applying to. To have the best control of your transcripts, you should ask your high school and college to send you several copies of your transcript, with one transcript in one envelope.  For example, if you’re applying to 6 colleges, ask for 6 copies of your transcript, each in its own sealed envelope.  Ask for all the copies to be sent to you, and don’t open the transcripts when you get them, because that would make the transcripts unofficial.

Here’s what the situation would look like for your application to College X–in addition to completing Common App online application, you would send one, large envelope containing these items to College X:

1. your high school transcript in its own envelope
2. your college/university transcript in its own envelope
3. A cover page that includes this information:
– CA ID (Common App ID #):
– First name:
– Last name:
– Date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy):
– Applying for [semester and year] transfer

I’ve worked in an office of admissions before, and there’s a lot of paperwork to handle, so it’s easier for the admissions office if you send everything at one time.

Photo: Will Hart

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Transfer Requirements: Cornell University Case Study

April 18, 2011 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Ivy Plus, Requirements, Specific College

Meeting requirements for the transfer application is crucial; missing even one item could disqualify your application from being considered. Unfortunately, the requirements are not always straightforward. This post examines the process of determining course requirements for transfer applicants using Cornell University as a case study.

Specifically, let’s say you want to apply to transfer as a junior into the Applied Economics and Management program, a highly competitive major, within the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Begin by following this website pathway: CALS Home > Prospective Students > Admissions > Transfer > External > Required Coursework. You’ll end up on this page showing required coursework for external transfer students.

The top of the page tells you that transfer applicants to most majors within CALS need

  • one full academic year of intro Biology with hands-on labs
  • and two college Writing/English Composition courses or one Writing/English Composition course and one Public Speaking course.

Those requirements sound quite specific already, but look closely at the requirements for particular majors. Click on the one you’re interested in, here, Applied Economics and Management. Now the list is extremely detailed and there are different requirements depending on whether you’re applying as a sophomore or junior transfer. Here are the requirements for students that want to transfer as sophomores:

  • Two College Writing/English Composition courses or one writing/composition and Public Speaking
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Calculus I
    • Encouraged (but not required):
      • Public Speaking
      • One full year of Introductory Biology (labs not required)
      • One course in either Chemistry or Physics

The requirements for junior transfers are similar, but there are many more required courses, given that you would have two full years of college before transferring:

  • Three College Writing/English Composition courses
  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics
  • Calculus I
  • Statistics

The list looks cumbersome. Note that taking the “encouraged” courses will give you a competitive edge.

Let’s further investigate the College Writing/English Composition requirement because it looks like a major hurdle. Three College Writing/English Composition courses is a lot. However, if you dig carefully enough, you’ll find some semblance of loopholes on the AP credit, transfers, and substitutions page.
Here are the key points about applying AP credit toward this writing course requirement:

All students who score 5 on the Princeton Advanced Placement Examination in English receive 3 credits… Of students who score 4, only Agriculture and Life Sciences students may apply their 3 credits toward the writing requirements of their college.

For most majors, the university will accept nothing but a 5. For students in CALS, a 4 on one of the AP English exams will cover one writing course requirement. Going back to the example of trying to transfer as a junior, even with a 4 on one of the AP English exams, you still have two more required writing courses to fill, so you’ll have to take actual college writing courses. Here’s key information about college transfer credit for these writing courses:

… students must provide evidence that the course was offered on a college campus as part of its normal curriculum and that the work done was comparable to that in a First-Year Writing Seminar (see the guidelines–it is not sufficient to write, say, one 30-page term paper). Courses not taken in the academic year must be at least six weeks long. Students must earn a B+ or better in the course.

Cornell seems “picky” about these writing/composition courses. Now it’s time for you to look at the course catalogue of your current college and seek writing courses that are comparable to Cornell’s First-Year Writing Seminar courses. You can download the spring 2011 brochure of these classes here.

Even after looking at Cornell’s brochure and the brochure of your current school, you may still not be quite sure if writing courses at your college will count toward Cornell’s writing requirement. Try calling the office of admission or registrar, and, if you really want to keep things honest, take notes on whom you speak to, when, and what they tell you. You can keep a log of phone calls (or emails) in an Excel spreadsheet with the following column headings:

School | Name | Position | Date | Notes

If any doubt remains, use the “additional information” section in the Common Application or school-specific application to explain that you did all you could to meet all the transfer requirements and include information about when you called the school and what they told you.

Each school has its own requirements for transfer applicants. With a keen eye, you can be sure to meet every requirement and even go beyond them to put together the best possible application possible.

(Photo: Joe Shlabotnik)

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by Lan Ngo

How to Research Transfer Admission Criteria

January 30, 2010 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Requirements

In our last blog entry, we provided some specific details about transfer requirements at different schools. How did we find all that info? Research! It’s not hard. With just a few minutes of online research you can find out what schools expect from you as a transfer applicant. Say you’re interested in transferring to the University of Pittsburgh. Do you have what it takes to be a competitive transfer candidate?

  • Go to http://www.pitt.edu
  • Click on “Admissions”
  • Click on “Undergraduate”
  • Click on “Transfer Admissions” (bottom left of page)
  • General information on transfer requirements is provided. For specifics on GPA requirements, click on “Transfer Credit/GPA Guidelines” (in the second paragraph)

Ta-da! Now you know what the school expects from you. Many schools have a similar site set-up. You can follow pretty much the same steps to learn about other schools.

Disclosure: Using these steps, what you find will usually be called “guidelines” and they are just that. Absolutes are rare when it comes to admission criteria. Each applicant is evaluated on an individual basis, so don’t panic if you’re 0.06 points away from the minimum GPA!

(Photo: Alpha six)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

College Transfer Admission Criteria: What’s a “Good” GPA?

January 11, 2010 in Admissions, All Transfers, Community College Articles, Four-Year Transfer Articles, GPA, Requirements

This question was inspired by an email we received from a reader.

So, what GPA do you need to get if you’re applying to transfer? The obvious answer is “get all As (and maybe even shoot for A pluses) so that the school you apply to will have no excuse to reject you.” Of course, it’s not that easy to get straight As (or it might be too late for you), so here’s another answer: it depends. Whether or not your GPA is good enough depends on which school and program you’re looking at. In this blog post, we go over the following:

  • Expected GPA from top schools
  • Minimum GPA requirements
  • GPA requirements under transfer agreements

Top-tier Schools Demand an Ambiguously “High” GPA

If you’re shooting for a top-tier school, expect extremely high standards in terms of grades and other qualifications. Let’s say you’re interested in Yale. Here’s what Yale’s “Who Makes a Good Transfer Student” web page says this:

Given the large number of extremely able candidates who wish to transfer to Yale and the very limited number of transfer spaces, no simple profile of grades, scores, and interests can assure a student admission to Yale.

Yes, the evaluation process is difficult and a little fuzzy, but a competitive academic record is still expected:

Successful transfer applicants present evidence of exceptionally strong college performance in demanding courses. The average GPA of admitted transfer students is usually 3.8 and above.

Minimum GPA Requirements

Some schools explicitly lay out their GPA requirements. Purdue University lists minimum GPA requirements for transfer applicants according to field of study. For example, you should have at least a 2.5 GPA if you’re going to apply to transfer into the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology program. For the minimum GPA requirement for other academic programs, visit Purdue’s Transfer Student Admission Criteria page.

Other schools similarly outline the grades you need to be considered for transfer admission. Check if the school you’re interested in does this. Note that meeting the minimum GPA requirement does NOT guarantee transfer admission.

GPA Requirements under Transfer Agreements

Transfer agreements between two institutions tell you exactly what you need to do to get from School X to School Y. Foothill College put together an extremely clear explanation of how their transfer agreements with other school work: http://www.foothill.edu/transfer/taa.html.

This page lets students know the exact minimum GPA they need in order to transfer to a particular school (or to be considered for transfer admission) that has teamed up with Foothill College. If a Foothill College student wants to transfer to UC San Diego, for example, she should have at least a 3.0 GPA. If your current school has transfer agreements with other institutions, they’ll probably work in a similar way. You can ask an academic counselor (if possible, a transfer counselor), about transfer agreements.

However, you can probably find the info you need by searching online. Let’s be honest: counselors don’t know everything, so it’s to your advantage to do your own research as well as consult school counselors. Let’s say you currently attend Delaware County Community College (www.dccc.edu) and you want to find out about the transfer agreements your college has with other schools. Do an advance Google search by using the “search within a specific site (:site)” function. What’s the point? You want to do an online search of info on transfer agreements published somewhere in the Delaware County Community College web space. That way, the info you obtain is more likely official than if you found it on a random website. In the Google search box type this:

transfer agreement site:dccc.edu

The second search result item should take you exactly where you need to go: http://www.dccc.edu/career/taag.html. Let’s try another one. If you currently attend Santa Monica College (www.smc.edu), you can find transfer agreements by googling this:

transfer agreement site:smc.edu

Again, it just so happens that the second item in the list of search results steers you to the exact page you need.

There are websites that are trying to compile as many transfer agreement documents as possible. It’s a noble attempt, indeed, but the compilations are a work-in-progress. There are just so many colleges and transfer agreements out there, but at least you can try the Google “:site” search.

Final Remarks

Looking up all this information can be a grueling process, but all your efforts will pay off! With careful research (and lots of introspection), you should be able to find a school that’s a better fit for you.

(Photo: Robert S. Donovan)

Why the Community College Transfer Process is So Complicated

September 13, 2009 in Community College Articles, News, Requirements

UC Berkeley

More than 2.7 million people are in a community college in California. Plenty of these are students seeking just two-year degrees, but did you know only about 100,000 of those community college students transfer to a four-year school each year? That’s only 3.7% of all the students in community college!

It’s tough to estimate, but researchers’ best guess is that only 18-30 out of every 100 students that enter community college intending to transfer actually do transfer. That means for those 100,000 community college students that make the transfer each year, there are about 200,000 to 500,000 that wanted to but didn’t.

Those are the two main things I took away from this article in the Los Angeles Times:
Report calls for overhaul of California community colleges’ transfer process. Yup, if we did a whole blog post about an article in the NJ Star-Ledger, you know we had to write about something that showed up in the LA Times.

The article talks about a study from the CSU Sacramento Higher Education Leadership and Policy Institute that basically says California needs to make it easier for students to transfer and get bachelors degrees because, otherwise, in about 15 years California will have have about 1 million more bachelor’s-degree-requiring jobs than people with bachelor’s degrees (there’s a link to the study on the front page of the Institute here: www.csus.edu/ihe/).

So why do so few students that want to transfer actually transfer?

  • Community colleges lack enough counselors
  • The  California community college system is not really a cohesive system, but 72 separate community college districts with their own individual governing boards and standards. The transfer process is thus based on campus-to-campus relationships versus state-wide standards and agreements.
  • The faculty at the four-year CSUs and UCs have strong control over the requirements at each of their schools, so what may be enough to get you into Sacramento State may be very different from what’s required to get you into UC Davis.

Solving the problem

The main recommendation by the authors of the study (and it’s a good one) involves creating associate degrees for community college students that would fulfill the basic requirements for all California colleges and guarantee transfer of credits (right now, the requirements for getting an associate degree and the requirements for transferring are completely separate).

What’s alarming is how serious the problem is, and the level of overhaul needed to solve it. They quote the president of Long Beach City College, who says: “We tinker around the edges, maybe increase transfers by 1% or 2% — that’s not going to get us where we need to be. We’ve got to scale up our efforts a hundredfold.”

Our message to you

If you’re at a community college and you want to transfer and you’re reading this (obviously), we hope you scale up your efforts a hundredfold too, so you’re not one of the 70-82% that want to transfer but don’t.

The benefits of getting a bachelor’s degree are well-documented, and in the vast majority of cases, well worth it (we’ll have a post on this soon).

 

Thoughts? How can the community college transfer process be streamlined?

(Photo: John Loo)