by Sarah Gerin, Senior Admissions Counselor
This is a question that can come up at many points throughout the college application process, or even after you have made your decision. Plans and goals can change as you do. No matter what your particular path is, if you are a curious, passionate, and motivated student who can’t imagine themselves anywhere but Rochester, we would love to help you devise an appropriate transfer plan! Here are a few tips and tricks to consider along the way:
The application process: plan ahead.
Students can apply to Rochester for either the fall or spring semester. It is important to identify what timeline makes the most sense for your academic goals and to plan accordingly. It is best to submit your application materials by the priority deadlines for each semester (March 15 for fall and October 1 for spring). Generally speaking, the earlier you begin to work on your application, the better. Rochester has a rolling admissions process for transfer students, which means that applications will be read as they are received.
The best piece of advice for any student applying to college is to know the application requirements. Transfer applications have a few unique forms compared to the first-year application, including the mid-year grade report and the academic evaluator form. The mid-year grade report is essentially a “progress report” of how you are doing in your current coursework. The academic evaluator form is a letter of recommendation. As a student who is re-applying to Rochester, you may want to update some components of the application, such as your personal statement and a resume to highlight any clubs or activities you have joined since your last application.
“Why do you want to transfer?” Consider the impact of your personal statement.
It is easy to get caught up in the idea that you have “lost time” at another school, or that you are at a disadvantage as a transfer student. I would encourage you to challenge that perception! If you have spent any time at a college environment, that puts you in a unique position to speak to your experiences. In other words, you have spent time learning more about what you like to study and how you like to spend your time, what type of environment or community appeals to you, and how you want to spend the rest of your college career. Your personal statement is a great place to communicate these experiences to the Office of Admissions and answer the question “Why Rochester?” perhaps even better than you could before!
Make yourself as competitive as possible.
You were a strong applicant out of high school, but what does “competitiveness” look like now that you are a college student? Many students decide to apply after their first semester; however, students who have had a full year of college coursework are considered most competitive. Additionally, after a year of college coursework, you do not have to send your SAT/ACT test scores and will instead be evaluated by your academic history. The average GPA for transfer students ranges from 3.3–3.6, depending on the semester.
The Office of Admissions will review your transcript in the context of your academic goals (intended major) and how prepared you will be upon entry to Rochester. For example: are you interested in majoring in developmental psychology, but have never actually taken a psychology class? Are you interested in business, but have weaker math courses? If you plan on transferring and know what major you are interested in studying, go to the department website to see what courses are required for the major. Take any pre-requisite courses at your current institution (like calculus, statistics, introductory science classes, etc.). Does that mean you have to know your major when you apply? Not necessarily—but we still use it as a guide when reviewing your transcript. We take into account how much time you have spent at your institution and what class year you will enter Rochester as.
In addition to your academics, we want to see that you are making the most of your experience. Get involved at your campus! Joining clubs or activities that interest you is a great way to make the most of your time and to discover things you might enjoy. If you are at a community college, consider joining honors programs such as Phi Theta Kappa. This is a fantastic way to connect with fellow students and to be considered for a specific merit scholarship upon applying to Rochester.
Know what will transfer: majors, minors, and everything in between.
One of the biggest questions and concerns for transfer students is what coursework will transfer. Thankfully, the flexibility of the Rochester Curriculum can make the transfer-credit process more flexible, but it is still important to understand what coursework will transfer. Generally speaking, any coursework that is comparable to coursework at Rochester will transfer with an earned grade of C or above. Do you still have to take that first-year writing class (WRT 105)? Yes, you do! That may be one of the notable exceptions. If you are interested in fields like engineering, pay attention to the sequencing of coursework (i.e., what is available in the fall vs. spring semester) and understand that may affect your class year and graduation time. All of these questions can be covered by admissions counselors or with an academic advisor to help give you an understanding of what you may expect.
Tell us your story!
Our transfer students have a variety of academic backgrounds, personal histories, and goals. Your story is unique, and we want to hear about it. Tell us what matters to you, why you are interested in applying (or re-applying) to Rochester, and how you will contribute to the campus community. The personal statement and interview are fabulous ways to share your story and are highly valued during the admissions process. In particular, if you have a complex academic history or any important context that is important for us to understand in order to better evaluate your application, connect with our office.
Best of luck to you in your academic journeys. Meliora!