Preparing for College

Mid-Year Bucknell Transfer for Miami Frosh?

My daughter is currently a freshman at University of Miami. Her first choice was Bucknell University, where she was waitlisted. However, she never got off the wait list. She would like to reapply to Bucknell for Spring semester, but unfortunately she missed the November 1, 2011 deadline. Do you think the admissions office would still consider her for spring semester if she was to submit her application late, or would they frown upon it? Would it affect her chances of getting accepted for fall, 2012? Please let me know how to handle this. My daughter has a 4.0 gpa at University of Miami. She is extremely miserable. She loved Bucknell, and wants to be there. Can you please give me that proper advice.

Bucknell--like many highly selective colleges--discourages freshman transfers and usually only accepts them when there are extenuating circumstances. In fact, right on Bucknell's Web site, you will see:

Except for unique cases, freshmen should not apply for mid-year admission; instead, these students should plan to complete their freshman years and seek sophomore admission to Bucknell.

So, given these instructions AND the fact that your daughter missed the transfer deadline, I think she should stick it out in Miami until the school year ends. If she continues to do well there academically, she should have a good shot at Bucknell for next fall. She would also be wise to use the months ahead to make a mark outside the classroom … i.e., she could pursue an extracurricular interest, a hobby, an internship, a research project, etc. that will add an extra dimension to her transfer application. She should also try to make the best of her current situation, even if it’s less than ideal. It’s still very early in the school year, and often it takes freshmen five or six months to adjust, not just two or three.

BUT … on the other hand, IF your daughter will NOT require financial aid to attend Bucknell, it won’t hurt her to go for broke. She should pick up the phone TODAY and call the transfer coordinator in the Bucknell admission office. She should explain succinctly that she realizes Bucknell does not normally take first-year transfers, which is why she has not officially applied. However, she can point out that she was waitlisted last spring, that Bucknell continues to be her first-choice college, and that she would be delighted to show up on short notice for the second semester and without requiring financial aid, should there be unanticipated attrition.

Her odds of getting the answer she wants are slim, but it won’t penalize her to ask, and at least she’ll put herself on the transfer counselor’s radar screen. But, if she does need financial aid, I recommend that she just sits tight for now. She can aim for the fall transfer date while she enjoys the Florida sunshine all winter.

(posted 11/3/2011)