Does anyone have experience transferring from one college to another?
June 14, 2005 10:04 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience transferring from one college to another? The reason I ask is because I plan on transferring from UCSB to USC after one year, but everyone I've talked to says that it's extremely difficult. They tell me it's much easier to transfer from a community college but I'm insistent on going to one four-year to another. Any tips for a hopeful transfer applicant?
posted by petah to Education (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's your current status?
posted by mr_roboto at 10:47 PM on June 14, 2005

I transferred from Marquette University to University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana after two years. Extremely difficult? Hardly. As easy as a community college with a feeder/transfer program to U of I? No way.

What I did -- I collected all the syllabi, some of the texts and my relevant papers from all the courses I took. I mapped the courses from what I had taken to what I thought it should count for in the UofI course catalog. They had their own ideas about what the courses counted as. I only lost credit for two courses -- a bible study and a history of computer science class. My GPA dropped due to incompatible grade systems, but thankfully I was an overachiever.

However, community colleges with established relationships to the school you want to go to have designed their courses around getting you in and as little wasted work as possible. If community college is cheaper, easier and fits better with your master plan, why spend the hassle of UCSB, unless you're just looking for a mulligan on the school choice?
posted by Gucky at 10:56 PM on June 14, 2005

I've transferred from one college to another, uhm, half a dozen times at least. (shhh)

I've never had credits for GENERAL education requirements NOT transfer. Meaning, if the school has a list of core classes you need to take (freshman comp 101, "a basic science class, 100-200 level", etc), I could always satisfy those requirements using another school's similar generic class. Even 10 years later. Including math.

Major related classes are a different story. One school may or may not take another school's "Chem for chem majors" class. Or, they may take 40% of your major related classes from another school, but require that you take 60% of the rest of the major required classes at their school. Rules vary.

The moral of the story is: Don't fall in love with the grades you got from your first college if the class is in your major.
posted by xyzzy at 10:59 PM on June 14, 2005

i think the UCs are particularly reluctant to transfer you from one to another -- this is what I recall from my UCB days. You might want to check into this. Going from community college and then transferring into a UC will save you some money and is not going to go down as a black mark on your record at all, AFAIK. In fact, I had a friend who spent a year busting ass in community college and then transferred as a junior to UCB, saving a year of school and probably about $10000 in the process.

is there a reason you're insistent on going to a four-year school? Sure, the culture is going to be different, but other than that, I don't see a lot of difference besides the fact that it's easier to slack on attendence at a UC compared to a community college.
posted by fishfucker at 11:20 PM on June 14, 2005

oh duh. UCSB to USC. not UC to UC. sorry.
posted by fishfucker at 11:20 PM on June 14, 2005

I went to UCSB and I've also taken courses at SBCC (one of the top community colleges in the nation, btw). I'd be happy to discuss my experiences at either, e-mail's in my profile. The quality of education at UCSB is worth the additional expense, I think your decision to go there is a good one. I'm less clear on why you would leave. If it's for the prestige, save it for grad school.
posted by cali at 12:15 AM on June 15, 2005

I transferred between four public colleges (two community, two state university) in Oregon before receiving a degree from Portland State University.

You have two hurdles. One is getting accepted at the new school. Once you've got that under your hat, then your hurdle is transfer equivalency. To make a long story short, transfer equivalency problems happen when the BA-101,102 sequence (just to use an example) you took at one school to complete a requirement equals BA 101,102,103 at that second school and covers a lot more information... which you're expected to know at a higher level, and the school has a duty to their students and professors to make sure you know that information before you get into the higher levels.

You can help make this process easier by having your transcripts, syllabi from all of the classes, and final exams if you were allowed to keep copies or you can get one from a sympathetic professor ... from all of the classes you took that might come into question.

Credits that don't transfer fully will usually be accepted under the elective categories... Transferring schools so much meant that I had to take certain types of history and psychology classes that were requirements for different programs at different schools several times, but I never ever had to take underwater basketweaving to fulfill a stupid elective requirement.

With each transfer between schools, I lost on average two quarters worth of work due to transfer equivalency problems. That does count all of the classes that I managed to 'challenge' and test out of based on previous work and a demonstration of competence. It took me a grand total of six years to get my Bachelor's degree.

Transferring from community college to four-year is almost rediculously easy; transferring from four-year to four-year is like fingernails on chalkboard and an endless runaround of administrative offices outfitted with red swingline staplers and big rubber 'DENIED' stamps.

If you can stay at one school or get into the one you really want to go to or start at community college first, DO IT THAT WAY. I can't say that enough. Besides, usually you will get a better basic education (100 and 200 level classes) at a community college because the professors generally *want* to be there and want to be teaching to community college level students, whereas those teaching 100 and 200 level classes at four-years are either reluctant to put their research aside for the time the class takes (so they dump it on TA's), they're TAs themselves, or they are washed up. I loved community college.
posted by SpecialK at 12:28 AM on June 15, 2005

(Oh, and community college classes, in my experience in Oregon, were generally 20-30, maybe as many as 50 but they usually chopped it off at 45 very firmly, people for a basic whatever class ... at the first Uni I went to, basic Biology lecture was taught by a professor in an 800-seat auditorium that was packed to 900 or so with students sitting in the aisles and standing outside listening in via friends' cell phones. Worst learning environment ever.)
posted by SpecialK at 12:39 AM on June 15, 2005

mr_roboto, what did you mean by my status?

cali, usc was just "my" school. you know how everyone has their dream school, but then they get rejected from their dream school so they pick their second choice and fall in love with it? i'm too stubborn to do that. my heart is set on graduating as a trojan.

SpecialK, I don't know I'd just feel jacked out of the college experience if I didn't go to a four-year for my first year.

Money really isn't an issue, as my tuition is all paid for, no matter where I go.

I mean I considered CC's, and I know the UCs weight admissions for transfers toward them, but does anyone know if private schools like USC do so as well?

Do all 4-years just weight admissions in favor or CCs? Or is the transfer rate from CC's extremely high just because of the fact that most people tend to not transfer out of 4-year universities. 60something% of transfers at USC are from CC's, so I'm curious about that.

What exactly are the admissions officers looking for from transfers? Is it mainly just GPA and course selection?
posted by petah at 3:34 AM on June 15, 2005

most people tend to not transfer out of 4-year universities

Bingo. Before starting college I thought about transferring after my first year, but after a semester I realized I loved my school so much I couldn't dream of it.
posted by grouse at 4:08 AM on June 15, 2005

I work as an advisor at a big research university, and though I don't deal with many 4-year-to-4-year transfers, I see some. My take on it, FWIW: xyzzy is right, stick with the most generic courses during your first year. (Courses typically transfer if there's an equivalent course at your new school, and stuff like General Psych is pretty much the same everywhere.) And everyone is right about racking up the best possible GPA. But also:
a) See if you can meet with and establish a good rapport with an advisor at USC, preferably one in your proposed college/major. You want someone who can help you figure out which courses are likeliest to transfer and meet requirements, and what that major is looking for in its applicants.
b) Get to know your profs at UCSB--go to office hours, ask intelligent questions, etc. You want people who can write letters of recommendation if needed.
c) Take some time to articulate a good statement of "Why USC?" which ideally should not just be "I wanna be a Trojan" but also identifies academic programs or opportunities available to you there and not at UCSB. Admissions people look for that as well as for GPA.

Good luck!
posted by Kat Allison at 4:46 AM on June 15, 2005

I'm surprised by all the advice that this is hard - I never transferred, but I considered it a couple times, and knew plenty of people who did. I went to a small, "alternative" four year that doesn't have as much status as other schools. A lot of people who went there ended up there sort of by accident, had certainly not planned to go there all their life or anything - we were mostly pretty smart kids who had not taken things seriously enough in high school or had family problems or whatever.

I knew a fair amount of people who transferred, as we used to joke that the school would no longer exist in another 20 years (it's actually getting bigger & more mainstream, but also probably more generic). My roommate switched to sarah lawrence, and then columbia, and another friend moved to yale. I initially intended to apply for transfer, but I met too many cool people & got involved in too many cool projects, so it never happened. But I never got the impression it was particularly difficult.

You just have to apply to another school, the same way you had to apply the first time around. It's often a little easier to get in under a transfer application - the roommate who ended up at columbia had been rejected from that school the first time around, but really wanted to go there, so kept applying until they gave him a spot. After you get in, you have to transfer credits; if you go to traditional schools, I understand this is simple, but if you go to alternative schools, you might have to supply syllabi to make the case that your class covered material equivalent to something taught at the new place.
posted by mdn at 5:16 AM on June 15, 2005

UCSB is a good school, and the campus is right on the water -- it's one of the most beautiful locations I've seen, and Santa Barbara is a great town. USC is of course also a good school, but me, I wouldn't want to be spending that much time in downtown LA. YMMV, but don't write UCSB off in advance; I'm betting you'll find yourself not wanting to leave.
posted by languagehat at 7:01 AM on June 15, 2005

The reason I ask is because I plan on transferring from UCSB to USC after one year, but everyone I've talked to says that it's extremely difficult.

You might want to take a long, hard look at "everyone" you're getting advice from. I've been transferred to six different schools. Never been a problem, and until this thread, I've never heard anyone who thought it was a problem.
posted by justgary at 9:30 AM on June 15, 2005

My husband transferred after one year from Brigham Young to the University of Chicago, and then from there to Stanford, where he stayed for the last two years of his undergraduate degree. Transferring didn't seem to be a problem for him, and those are all 4-year schools.

You might also check out this thread- Puffin didn't seem to have a problem transferring.
posted by ambrosia at 12:16 PM on June 15, 2005

I'd be careful about it. My roommate freshman year was a music major who started out with a scholarship at a private, religious college. She got thoroughly sick of it and transferred to a nearby public university. The university did all sorts of weird things (which may have just been screw-ups, but trying to call a university on a screw-up can be pretty impossible) like because she'd transferred, they didn't acknowledge her credits from AP tests.
posted by dagnyscott at 1:03 PM on June 15, 2005

I'm at USC now, and I had to hop a few hurdles trying to transfer from my overseas community college (basically running to each department and showing the heads my syllabi, etc). I think it's easier to transfer within the california schools.

Depending on which school within USC you are transferring to, the transfer credit process may be different.

According to here: USC Articulation Office, there's no articulation history with UCSB, but there is for UCLA and UCR. It's a good idea to contact this department for guidance regarding your school.

Here's the
transfer guide

USC has a general education requirement that's quite expansive, so watch out (or be very happy depending on how you feel about this)! There's 6 categories to complete and you should try to choose classes that are transferrable as GE's if you don't want to take them at USC.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me (it's in my profile).
posted by christin at 1:07 PM on June 15, 2005

Second justgary's sentiments.

YMMV, but I don't know that I would characterize annoying paperwork and some lost credits from freshman year as "extremely difficult." I mean, you're not trying to get a visa from Syria, here.

(My snarky snap judgement was "they don't want you to move to LA." Unfair snark fully acknowledged -- I'm not saying that this is a fair assumption. )
posted by desuetude at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2005

Good lord, is it really that difficult in California? I've transferred all over the country with no issues whatsoever. I applied, I turned in my transcripts, I got accepted, I would argue with academic advisors about what classes at University A constituted classes at University B, and off I'd go. I never had any hassles, and two of my "ooooh, this looks cool...jayzuz, what is that white stuff falling from the sky? I gotta go south!" schools were Ivy League.

That said, if you *know* what school and program you want, and it's a university that didn't accept you out of HS, then trust me when I tell you to go to the CC that feeds that university. You will thank all of us that recommend it. You can almost guarantee admittance assuming good grades/scores if you're coming from the CC. From the other university, you're competing with all the other kids from all the other universities...and the next batch of freshman. Go with the program that feeds the school you want.
posted by dejah420 at 7:03 PM on June 15, 2005

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