Transfer Students: Your Ticket to a 4-Year College or University

Today I’m running a guest column by Lan Ngo and Chris Goodmacher, who wrote the The Transfer Book that focuses on advice for college transfer students. Both started at community colleges, but they transferred to Stanford University and Dartmouth College where they graduated. They also received graduates degrees from prestigious institutions including Oxford University and Columbia University.

Yes, there are ways to transfer to great schools — even Ivy League quality — from community colleges.

At the end of their post, I’ve included some of my own posts on transfer students…

Transferring Out of a Community College

Four-year colleges and universities are courting transfer students from community colleges. And they have transfer agreements or articulation agreements to make that move possible.

So what’s a transfer agreement?  Simply put, it’s a contract between partnering schools that allow qualified students to transfer course credits, but most transfer agreements do more than that. A transfer agreement can be a ticket to a four-year institution. Many transfer agreements tell students at a particular community college what they need to do to transfer over to a partnering four-year school. Here’s what many agreements include:

  • The courses you must take before transferring
  • The number of units you must complete to transfer
  • The minimum GPA required
  • Other specific requirements for certain majors

How can a transfer agreement help you? If you’re a community college student, provided that you’ve completed all the requirements under the agreement, you’ll be given priority consideration for admission to selected colleges and universities. In some cases, fulfilling a transfer agreement gets you guaranteed admission to a partnering four-year school. For example, the Virginia Community College System has transfer agreements guaranteeing admission to the University of Virginia’s College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Once you’re in, you can finish courses towards your bachelor’s degree and you’ll graduate with the same degree as everyone else at your university or college. The difference is that you had that first two years or so to explore your options while saving money by paying less tuition at a two-year college.

Transfer agreements differ among schools, so you will need to do a bit of research and talk to a transfer counselor at your college.

Lan Ngo and Chris Goodmacher write advice for prospective and current college transfer students at

More Reading from TheCollegeSolutionBlog:

Good News for College Transfer Students

Do Transfer Students Succeed in College?

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