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Articles / Applying to College / Minimum Credits Required to Transfer?

Minimum Credits Required to Transfer?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | June 29, 2013

Question: I will be a freshman this fall but would like transfer to a top school by next year. I’d like to know whether the minimum criteria of 24 credits in order to be a transfer applicant means 24 credits before applying or by the time of admission?

The credit minimum is most likely for the time of matriculation, not application. This is how these requirements are ordinarily presented on college Web sites (although I’d have to see each school’s instructions to confirm). However, transferring to a “top college” is extremely difficult, especially after being in another school for such a short time, even if you have met the course-credit expectation.

If you did not apply to these “top” schools when you were in high school due to poor advising (or other factors) you probably have a better chance of acceptance than if you DID apply and were denied or waitlisted. However, I’d have to know a lot more about your individual circumstances to say for sure.

Meanwhile, you will need very strong grades and extracurriculars at your soon-to-be new school in order to even be in the running as a transfer student to a highly selective college. So as you embark on your college career, try to do as well as you possibly can in the classroom and to engage yourself in campus or community activities as well. You might even discover that, by making these efforts, you will be very happy where you are and may not even want to transfer after all.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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