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Transferring from Two to Four Year College - with checklist

This article is meant to help mentors gain a better understanding of the community college transfer process. Use the information below, including videos and a transfer checklist to support mentees on their journey. 

There are three main steps to transferring, and ideally students will get started in their first semester of community college.  Preview the steps below - but at the same time, keep in mind that it's also never too late. If your mentee wants to transfer right away, and has not done the research and planning steps, make sure they meet with their academic advisor as soon as possible to make a plan.  

Many students begin at community colleges and then transfer to 4-year colleges to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. The key to success is planning your transfer far in advance! These steps will help:

Step 1: Plan & Research 

If possible, begin the planning and research phase four semesters before your intended transfer date.

  • Don't go it alone. Get to know your advisor. Students should consult their academic advisor for guidance. If students know the university they will transfer to, reach out to a transfer counselor. Some universities now have Transfer Centers dedicated to supporting future and current transfer students.
  • Learn about articulation agreements. Universities often have agreements - called articulations - with local community colleges that specify which community college classes will earn you credits at the four year school - and which will not. You can look up a particular university's articulations, or check out these state-by-state guidelines:  
  • Establish a plan. Students should map their path by working with their academic advisor to create a transfer course plan to map your coursework for the first four semesters.  This is important as many majors have prerequisites and sequential courses.
  • Identify schools. Identify where you may want to apply and build a transfer college list if you don't already have a school or campus in mind. 
  • Visit campuses. Most offer transfer open houses and information sessions.
  • To compare community colleges, click here.  For more details about transferring, click here.

Step 2: Apply

  • Apply for admission.  To begin your junior year at a 4 year institution in the fall, plan to apply by mid-November or earlier. Some majors or campuses may have deadlines earlier than these suggested dates.
  • Submit a transcript request. Ask your current college to send an official transcript to the college(s) to which you are applying. Be sure to request one official transcript from each collegiate institution you have ever attended. 
  • Begin applying for transfer scholarships. In addition to regular financial aid, you can find specific scholarships like this one for transfer students.

Step 3: Enroll 

  • Renew your FAFSA. Request that a Student Aid Report be sent to the campuses to which you've applied.
  • Request preliminary credit evaluations. Some campuses will provide this prior to admission, while others will do so upon admission. If you have questions, speak to a transfer advisor at your current campus.
  • Review your financial aid packages. Compare the net costs between colleges.
  • Choose your transfer college. Notify your chosen campus of your intent to enroll. Pay your tuition deposit.
  • Attend an orientation session. It's a great way to connect with your new campus, help you with transfer shock - and it may even be required at some campuses!

A path from 2-year to 4-year college


Transferring from Community College

Transfer Checklist

Click on the image below for an enlarged version.