Expert Advice on How the Transfer Process Works

Making your home at a new college or university can be an intimidating task. Dozens of questions about the transfer process fill your mind, and you’re not exactly sure what to do. Not to fear: expert advice is here to help. Kelly Frank, associate director of admission and transfer counselor at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, answers the questions you have.

Q. What are the general steps involved in the transfer process?

A. To be considered for admission, students should first send in their transfer applications. Second, they should have their high school and college transcripts sent to the college to which they’re applying. Once they’ve completed those steps, an evaluation of previous credit, along with the admission decision, is made and provided to them.

Q. How early should transfer students begin the process of applying to their school of choice?

A. If students wish to attend classes during the winter semester, they should begin the application process in October. To begin in the fall semester, they should start the process in January.

Q. Typically, how does a student’s GPA transfer to a new university?

A. Grade point average does not transfer. Students must begin their academic careers with a 0.0 GPA.

Q. What are some resources students can use to determine which of their credits will transfer?

A. Sending in a transcript for review by the appropriate department faculty members or admissions advisors is the fastest way to get the answers. Course check sheets, often available in each dean’s office, are helpful resources. Students should visit their university’s Web site for information on credit transfer. 

Q. What are some common mistakes you see transfer students make during their transition? How can these be avoided?

A. Applying too late, missing deadlines, and sending transcripts to the wrong office are common mistakes. Students can avoid these pitfalls by contacting the transfer admissions representative at their university to obtain deadline information and proper application guidelines.

Take the Credit

Meeting with your academic counselors or advisors at the new university you’ll attend is a crucial step in the transfer process. Perhaps the most important subject you’ll discuss is credit transfer. Follow these guidelines to save time and to be sure the course credit you’ve earned will carry over to your new institution.


  • Get in touch with the transfer student advisor to find out what types of course credits will transfer. If possible, ask the appropriate authority at the university to preapprove courses you plan to take for credit transfer.
  • Contact the school you’ll attend to find out what its transfer policy is. Some schools will accept only credits for classes similar to those they offer. Others set a limit to the number of transfer credit hours they’ll allow.
  • Generally, universities require that you obtain at least a C in a class in order for the credit hours to transfer. Grade policies differ among institutions, so be sure to ask.
  • Research whether your community college has an articulation agreement or a collaborative agreement with the university you’d like to attend. Articulation agreements outline specific courses a university will accept from a two-year institution and guarantee admission once the two-year curriculum has been completed. Collaborative agreements may not guarantee admission but will designate courses the school will accept as transfer of credit.

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