Do Admission Officials Look Down on Applicants Who Have Transferred Several Times?


I am wondering whether multiple transfers will hurt me. I went to community college for a while and transferred to a state school, but left there for financial reasons. Then I took some classes at a different state school for credit. So now I'm applying to a private college with transfer credits from three schools. Will the private college look down on this?

Having multiple colleges on your record certainly isn't an automatic deal-breaker, but admission officials (especially at private colleges) can be suspicious of “serial transfers." When they review your application, they may be tempted to wonder how long you will stick around this time. So you should make sure that your application explains why you've made so many moves. Your primary essay could be a good place to do this, but you can also submit an extra unsolicited letter or essay, if this information doesn't quite fit an essay prompt. (Most transfer essays ask you WHY you're transferring, so you can probably provide details of your entire college history here.)

Your application should offer your current target college (or colleges) details about why this school is right for you now. Be as specific as possible, with an emphasis on academic reasons. If a college offers an interview (either with a staff member or an alum), try to take advantage of this opportunity so you can spell out your commitment in person.

Some students in your shoes will omit one or more of their past colleges, hoping to start anew with a clean slate. But this is a really bad idea because such omissions, if discovered, can lead to expulsion. So your best strategy is to do as you plan. That is, submit transcripts from all three of your previous schools and then make a compelling case for how these different paths have led you to where you are today and where you hope to be in the future.

Good luck!


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