Finding the best colleges that accept transfer students can help you earn an education from an institution you are proud of. Whether you moved or are simply interested in switching programs, schools that accept transfers are a must-know for many students.
Interestingly, not all schools accept transfers; if they do, many accept fewer transfer students than you’d think.
In this guide, we’ll review 10 top-ranked institutions known for accepting a reasonable number of transfer students. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $39,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $35,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Colleges That Accept Transfer Students
1. University of California – Los Angeles
4 Year; Los Angeles, CA
Average Annual Cost: $3,302
UCLA is known for accepting a reasonable number of transfer students. In fact, in 2021, approximately 28,457 students applied, and 5,435 were accepted. Of those five thousand, 3,436 enrolled in a program of their choosing for a total admission rate of 19%.
Transfer students at UCLA come from several backgrounds, ethnicities, and races, helping build a more multicultural campus. The academic rating of transfer students is also rather remarkable, with the median GPA average being 3.92.
In total, there are over 33 countries represented through transfer students, with 44% of transfers being first-generation college students.
There are many fantastic programs you can consider when studying at UCLA. Transfer students tend to find placement primarily in The College as well as the Samueli School of Engineering and the School of Theater, Film & Television.
There’s also placement in the School of Music, School of Nursing, and School of the Arts & Architecture.
2. California State University – Bakersfield
4 Year; Bakersfield, CA
Average Annual Cost: $7,454
California State University is another incredible institution that accepts transfer applicants. Traditionally, they accept approximately 66% of students that apply for transfer.
Annually, the school receives around 6,582 transfer applications, and 4,346 are offered admission. Out of the four thousand students, 1,627 students enroll.
What makes CSU such a fantastic option for a transfer student is that a lot of its student body is comprised of transfer students. Each year, approximately 30% of all new students are transferred from either the fall or spring semesters.
Another interesting advantage of applying for transfer to this school is that they have low course grade requirements. Students must have at least D course grades to receive transfer credits upon acceptance.
3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
4 Year; Chapel Hill, NC
Average Annual Cost: $12,469
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is home to plenty of transfer students within the state and worldwide. Approximately 700 transfer students attend the school annually, offering a ton of different programs to consider.
The application process to be a transfer student is rather straightforward, requiring an application, paid fees, and supplemental materials. Transfer students also have the option to apply for student aid if they require financial assistance to attend school.
All students must make notes of the deadlines for applications and fees, ensuring their transfer application is processed on time.
Overall, the school’s transfer program is known to take in about 20% of transfer students each year. They usually receive up to 3,500 applicants and accept around 800 transfer students.
Compared to other schools, transfer students make up a small amount of their total student body, around five percent. You’ll also find it more challenging to be accepted as a transfer student than a new first-year applicant.
For comparison, let’s look at the 2019 admission cycle in the fall.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received 47,940 applications that year. 820 of the accepted applications were transfer students, and 4,182 were first-year students.
4. Portland State University
4 Year; Portland, OR
Average Annual Cost: $12,498
If you are interested in applying to Portland State University as a transfer student, the school will help you along the way.
Transfer students are assigned transfer admissions counselors who walk them through the application process. These professionals are also ideal if you have questions or require further documentation before applying.
As a transfer student at Portland State, you can bring up to 20 semester credits.
One unique factor of this school’s transfer program is that students earning college credits in high school are considered first-years rather than transfers. However, you will have to apply within five months of graduating to avoid the transfer student status.
Transfer students must also keep an eye on the requirements needed before applying, including:
- A GPA of 2.25 or 2.00 with a transferable associate degree
- WR121 competition with a C- or higher grade
- Proof of completion of 30+ transferable college quarter credits
Portland State University understands that every student is different and deserves an equal opportunity to education. As such, you do not have to submit your ACT or SAT scores when applying as a transfer.
Additionally, if you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirements, the school will review your admission using other criteria.
Getting to the statistics, in 2019, Portland State University accepted 90.71% of their transfer application. Approximately 16.13% of their total student body is comprised of transfer students, making it a fantastic school where you won’t feel alone.
Essentially, this school accepts 91 out of every 100 transfer students.
5. University of Utah
4 Year; Salt Lake City, UT
Average Annual Cost: $13,572
The University of Utah has a collective of fantastic programs paired with a uniquely designed campus that you’ll love. What’s more, their acceptance program is a brand-new experience that’s highly competitive compared to other schools.
Using a holistic review process, your test scores and grades are not the only things that will determine your eligibility. The University of Utah considers grade trends, academic awards, the difficulty of your learning pathway, and your cumulative transferable GPA.
They also look at your community engagement, work experience, extracurriculars, and other personal factors that influence your contribution to the community.
On average, most transfer students are expected to have a median GPA of 3.4 to be competitive amongst other transfer students.
The University of Utah accepted 1,615 new transfer students during the fall 2021 admission timeline. These students maintained an average of 3.32 GPA when applying and received an average of 59 transfer credits.
With an acceptance rate of about 57%, you have a pretty good shot at studying in this school as a transfer, especially compared to more rigorous programs.
6. San Francisco State University
4 Year; San Francisco, CA
Average Annual Cost: $14,459
Transfer students at San Francisco State University are applicants who attempted college-level courses after high school graduation. These individuals have not earned a bachelor’s degree, nor do they have an F-1 student visa.
If you are an international student, you will need to apply through the International Transfer program. Students who have earned a bachelor’s degree from their previous studies will need to apply using the Graduate Studies guidelines.
At San Francisco State University, there are two divisions of transfers: lower and upper.
The lower division transfers have fewer than 60 semester transfer units, while upper division transfers have over 60. Each tier has its admission requirements, which are important for students to review.
For example, lower division transfers must have a 2.50 GPA or higher if they live in California or have graduated from a California high school. Students must have also achieved an average GPA of 2.00 in all their transferable college courses.
As a transfer student, you must look at your specific program to ensure you meet its application criteria. Some programs, such as psychology, kinesiology, nursing, and social work, could have additional requirements before application.
Typically, you can work alongside your counselor to ensure you meet all the requirements before applying.
7. University of Michigan
4 Year; Ann Arbor, MI
Average Annual Cost: $14,878
The University of Michigan is a fantastic school for transfer students. They have several competitive programs and phenomenal opportunities for transfer students to take advantage of.
Through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, you can transfer to the following departments:
- College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
- College of Engineering
- School of Nursing
- School of Education
- School of Dentistry
- School of Public Health
- College of Pharmacy
- Stephen M. Ross School of Business
- Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
There are many application requirements that transfer students must meet to be considered. You’ll need to complete the common application, pay your fees, or request a waiver.
Students will also need to provide their official transcripts, their school records, a list of test scores, and a list of current and future courses.
It’s important to review the specific program you’re interested in applying to, as each may have prerequisites for transfers. For example, engineering students will need Calculus I and II, as well as a computing course and a few other classes under their belt.
Overall, transfer students will find the University of Michigan one of the more competitive schools. They only accept around 41.50% of transfer students, and the overall acceptance rate for the school is approximately 26%.
Make sure your academics are in their best order before applying, such as maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA.
8. University at Buffalo
4 Year; Buffalo, NY
Average Annual Cost: $19,262
Applying as a transfer student to the University at Buffalo is more straightforward than with other schools. As long as you’ve finished 12 credit hours of college-level work post-high school, you can apply.
Depending on where you are in your academic journey, there are a few key credentials considered that could make or break your acceptance.
For example, the University at Buffalo looks at your previous college records to see if you earned over 24 college credits before applying. If you have fewer than 24, they look at your high school transcript and college records.
Interestingly, 2021 and 2022 applicants will not have their ACT or SAT scores considered.
Transfer students at the University at Buffalo must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. However, the academic program you are seeking to attend may have specific requirements to be met.
Also, some transfer departments will have additional admission criteria you will need to consider.
The University at Buffalo accepts around 63.25% of its transfer students annually. Most students will have a pretty good shot at attending their dream program.
9. Clemson University
4 Year; Clemson, SC
Average Annual Cost: $21,262
Clemson University’s transfer program is one of the most competitive in the nation. Applications are considered as they are submitted, and admissions deadlines are based on when all space in the programs has been filled.
Students who have earned their high school diploma (or equivalent) and attended a college during a regular semester are transfer students.
Fortunately, the application process to be a transfer student at Clemson is rather straightforward. Students simply have to complete their application, pay the fee, and provide final official transcripts from their previous programs.
It’s important to note that some programs at Clemson might have additional requirements to be met.
In fact, there are several types of criteria the school considers when accepting transfer students. You must have earned at least 30 semester hours of transferable credits and maintained a GPA of 2.5 (with 3.0 being preferred). Applicants must have credits for freshmen-level English, science, and math courses for their major.
10. New York University
4 Year; New York, NY
Average Annual Cost: $38,569
New York University is a competitive school in itself, and its transfer program is no different. Students must have at least 32 semester credits under their belt by the time of enrollment.
You will also need to provide plenty of documentation during the application process for your application to be considered. Students will need to submit their college or university transcripts, high school transcripts, and their common application.
They will also need to provide any additional documents as per their majors, such as portfolios, auditions, and other prerequisite courses.
It is important to note that New York University’s transfer program is highly competitive. They accept approximately 24.63% of their transfer students. Your application will stand out the most if you’re able to apply with a 3.64 GPA at the least. You will also be required to provide standardized test scores.
Enroll in the Best College For Transfer Students Today!
When choosing the best colleges that accept transfer students, there are several great programs available to consider.
From highly competitive transfer application processes to more holistic offerings, students can apply to numerous schools with ease. It’s time to get your documents together and apply for your dream program so that you can earn your degree from a prestigious institution.