One in 5 College Students Transfer

A new report from the federal National Center for Education Statistics documents there are more transfer students at four-year colleges than you’d think. Nearly one in five students transfer from one four-year college to another.

When my daughter’s friends came home from their freshmen year in college this summer, most of them were happy campers. The colleges and universities these teenagers had picked out as high school seniors had lived up to their billing.

A few of Caitlin’s friends, however, weren’t thrilled with their choices. They found the schools they picked impersonal, the wrong academic fit or they never got used to settling for a school that wasn’t their top choice.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that colleges don’t always click, but there are plenty of opportunities for second chances.

I’ve seen this happen with one of Caitlin’s dearest friends who spent her freshman year at George Washington University. Her first choice was Georgetown University, but her academic profile wasn’t quite good enough for the extremely selective school. While earning excellent grades as a freshman at George Washington, she applied to her dream school and she got an acceptance letter from Georgetown just a couple of weeks ago.

My nephew did the same thing. He wanted to attend the University of Southern California, but he was originally rejected. Instead he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, which is an excellent liberal arts college, but he never lost his desire for USC and Saturday football games. When he applied to USC for his sophomore year, the school accepted him. He ultimately graduated from USC.

I know other students who were so unhappy in their freshmen year at four-year institutions that they decided to regroup and save money during their sophomore year. They did so by attending a community college, which can be a wonderful alternative.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for

Further reading:

How Many High School Students are Ready for College?

Do Transfer Students Succeed in College?

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