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Articles / Admissions / Will Admission Committees Look Down on Multiple Transfers?

May 21, 2020

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. :-)

Written by

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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