3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Should I apply as a transfer student this Sept. 2021?

I am an intn'l student who did a gap year and might only start college this Oct. If I'd want to transfer before my 1rst academic year ends to a US college should I apply now as a transfer student?


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
3 years ago[edited]

There is no single rule of thumb to answer this question because each college has different definitions of what a transfer student is. The basic definition varies from college to college.

At Cornell University for example a transfer applicant definition is the following: "You must apply to Cornell as a transfer student if you’ve graduated from high school and have earned 12 or more credits at another college or university since then. If you’ve enrolled as a full-time student at another institution, you’re also considered a transfer applicant. If you are enrolled in a dual-enrollment or early-college program and haven’t yet graduated from high school, you will apply as a first-year applicant."

At Columbia University is it more complicated for Int'l students:

"Columbia welcomes applications from international transfer students. However, in order to be eligible to apply as a transfer, you must first meet certain criteria. You must be enrolled in a college in North America or in a US-style college abroad. A college or university is considered "US-style" if:

courses are offered term by term (quarters, semesters, etc)

a grade is given for each course in each term

your college/university can provide an English-language transcript showing those courses and those grades

To apply from abroad if your college is not US-style as defined above, you must apply as a first-year student only in your first year of study. If you have begun your second year of study or beyond, you are no longer eligible to apply to Columbia as an undergraduate.

Post-secondary work can be considered for possible transfer credit after you are admitted to Columbia and accept our offer.

You must fulfill our English Language Proficiency requirements, in addition to the Transfer Admission requirements to apply for transfer admission."

This is in addition to the Basic Columbia University Transfer Definition which is the following:

"To be eligible to enroll as a transfer student at Columbia, you must have completed, or be registered for, 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) at another institution, as well as have earned a high school diploma or equivalent (by the application deadline). Candidates with more than four semesters of college coursework elsewhere are not encouraged to apply. Columbia’s academic requirements and institutional policies make completion of all graduation requirements in a reasonable and timely fashion unlikely. "

So you can see just from looking at 2 Ivy colleges that, they have different definitions of what a transfer applicant is. This makes the application process for an Int'l student exponentially more complicated than applying as an incoming first-time Freshman either in Early Decision/Early Action or Regular Decision through the Common App.

Therefore, you should do as much research as possible with regards to how your college list of schools deals with transfer applications. Since there is no standard formula or definition, you may find that only some of your college choices would permit such a entry into their college. I think you will find that your status as an "incoming Freshman" or "transfer" will depend on how many credits of study you embark on or have completed and whether the kind of college in your country, you plan on enrolling into (or had already enrolled into) fulfills a US-style institution or not.

If you still qualify as an "incoming freshman", then I think that has lots of benefits because you will be able to apply to more colleges, even if you have to delay studying locally until you matriculate into a US college.

Good luck.

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