Preparing for College

Will Admission Committees Look Down on Multiple Transfers?

Question: I am a college sophomore and potential transfer student who went to a 4-year institution for the fall semester in 2009 and then transferred to a community college at home for the spring semester 2010 to bring up my grades. I am now at another 4-year institution just to suffice since I did not want to be at community college any longer. My plan is to transfer to an out of state school, either Georgia or Clemson. Will colleges look down upon me for transferring when considering my application for admissions?

I won't go so far as to say that colleges will look down upon you, but they will certainly look closely and perhaps even look askance, if you don't do a good job of explaining your many moves. Admission officials can be wary of perpetual transfers who can't seem to find a home at any institution. Yet they also realize that some students have sound reasons for switching schools, so you'll have to present yours clearly, either in your primary essay or in a supplemental one.

You might want to start by revealing why you got off to a shaky first semester (Fall 2009). Perhaps there was too big a party scene at the college you first attended? Or maybe you had an uncomfortable living situation or you were homesick or distracted by problems at home? As you explain your move to the community college, you want to make sure that you emphasize the academic benefits of your decision so it doesn't sound as if you bailed out of the four-year school without making an effort to succeed there. Then you'll also have to explain why you chose a second four-year college that doesn't seem to meet your current needs. Did you want to prove yourself at a four-year school near home but are now ready to seek out a more challenging one farther away?

Whatever your rationale for all these moves in such a short time, try to present them in your application in a positive light. Also point out why each college you're now aiming for is a good fit for you ... as well as a place where you plan to stick around and earn your bachelor's degree.

Good luck to you as you make your next move, and I do hope it's your last. :-)