2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Transferring to a college rather than 1st year Admit

I’ve seen on here, Reddit, and other platforms that there are higher acceptance rates for transfers into a college rather than getting in as a 1st year applicant.

Would it make sense to go to a state school for a relatively low cost and then transfer into a higher Tier school (Duke, UMich, an Ivy, idk) later on?

For example, if I were to go to a state school like USF or UF and maintain a close to 4.0 GPA while having decent extracurriculars and leadership positions in college, would I have a decent chance of getting into a T20-50 as a transfer?

And would it be worth it in the end? I’ve heard of people who transferred into like Princeton/other ivies from community college so there might be hope for me lol. Especially cause of the set backs from COVID, family issues, etc.

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2 years ago[edited]

Transferring into a better 4-year college from a lower-ranked college like a community college or low-ranked college sometimes works out but not always.

I do no think this is a viable strategy for people who want to end up at a Top Ivy college because the transfer rates are like 1-2% for Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. This makes it 4 times harder to get in as a transfer student. At Columbia, UPenn, Dartmouth, and Brown, the transfer rate is 6-8% so that's a little better but not like twice as good. The best Ivy to transfer into would be Cornell which is about 15%. Duke is about 6% so that's not much better than applying as a 1st-time applicant.

The only school you mention that is significantly easier to get into as a transfer is UMich. So their 39% transfer rate is better than their 19% admit rate.

There is a symbiotic relationship between some State college systems say Community Colleges and top State Schools which make transferring under your assumption more feasible and practical. But you have to research that on your own. I do know that if you attend Santa Monica College it acts as a feeder school to UCLA. So if you complete your core requirements at Santa Monica and have a 3.5+ GPA or better (I'm not 100% sure what the cutoff is), you get auto-admitted to UCLA after 2 years. So this works a lot like some Private Boarding Schools that are feeder schools into certain Ivys or Private Colleges.

But the idea that you can easily and practically get into an Ivy League or Elite college from a T100-T300 school is more of a wives tale. Why do I say this? Take Dartmouth for example, if they accept say 1800 out of 30000 applications, they are also offering 2500+ waitlists. Let's say 2200 accept the waitlist. Last year Dartmouth took "0" people off the waitlist because the yield was good and 2/3rd of the admit pool matriculated.

What this means is that there are up to 2200 applicants that may consider applying to Dartmouth as a transfer. The real number might be 440 but you have to figure that these are highly qualified people in the transfer pool you have to compete with. Unless you look better on paper than these folks, getting in as a transfer will be hard. Mind you most of these Dartmouth waitlists are going to be matriculating into T25 schools like BU, BC, Tufts, Hamilton, Colgate, Vassar, NYU, Trinity, etc. so they are not applying as transfers from USF or UF.

Hope this is helpful to you.

Good luck.


2 years ago

The acceptance rate is calculated as the percentage of the admitted students from the applicant pool. The number of people applying to get into T20s as freshmen is much larger than those applying as transfers, so the higher acceptance rates for transfers are misleading.


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