Transfer Admissions Rates for US News 2012 Added

We just added the recently released Fall 2010 transfer admissions numbers for some of the top schools in the US (the “2012” Top 50 National Universities according to US News).

Check it out by clicking here, or by hovering over the “Stats” tab at the top of the page and clicking on the first option in the dropdown menu.

Additionally – because we love you, obviously – we also put together a table comparing the transfer admissions rates in 2010 and 2009 at the same schools. Click here to check it out, or hover over the “Stats” menu and click on the second dropdown. It’s one thing to see what a college’s transfer admission rate was in a given year, but it’s even more helpful – we hope – to see how consistent (or not) the admissions rates are over a period of time.

Generally speaking, it looks like the trend of shrinking admissions rates continues this year.

20 of the 50 schools had higher transfer admissions rates than freshman admissions rates, while 29 of the 50 had lower transfer admissions rates versus freshman admissions (Princeton, which doesn’t take any transfers, is the remaining school).

21 of the 50 colleges had their transfer admissions rates increase versus last year, while more schools (27 of the 50) became more selective. Harvard began admitting transfers again as of Fall 2010, so their rate went from 0% in 2009 to 2% this year. We could not get previous year data for George Washington University, which was not in the Top 50 last year, so we couldn’t track how their transfer admission rate changed.

Looking at the largest moves, Lehigh University’s transfer admissions rate shrank from 70% last year to 36% this year, while UC Davis’s increased to 66% from 37%.

Obviously the transfer admissions rates are a function of a large number of factors (the quality of the applicant pool, the number of students that choose to apply, the spaces available given the admitting colleges’ own dropout/transfer out rates, etc.). So, just use the stats as a metric to get a roundabout sense of how hard it may be to transfer to a particular school, knowing that the numbers can change fairly significantly, but not too dramatically in any given year. Either way, if you’re targeting a school and have good reason to transfer to it (such as any of the many successful real stories mentioned in the book), the stats shouldn’t affect your approach too much either way.

Question of the Day: Do you see any interesting patterns in the stats? Surprised that a particular school has a particular transfer admissions rate? Intrigued that a certain college’s transfer admissions rate changed so much? Let us know in the comments! We plan on following up with some of the schools to better understand their particular policies toward transfer admissions.

(Photo: kkoshy)

  • Rtkpandita

    Hey guys, I am a CC student interested in Georgetown- and am appalled at their increase in transfer rate. The university seems to be really ambiguous with their transfer policies, any knowledge on this? 

  • anon

    The most recent transfer rate at Georgetown is 10%, not 23%.  Why did you guys do 2010?  Aren’t most 2011 numbers available?

  • Lan

    That’s interesting.  May we ask where 10% comes from?  According to the College Board website, there were 1616 transfer applicants and 364 accepted were accepted.  Doing the calculations, 361/1616, the transfer admission rate is about 23%.

    As of now, the most complete admissions information is available for 2010.  By Fall 2010, more complete  admissions information for 2011 will be available.  If you have found a website that lists all the admissions rates for 2011, it would be awesome if you shared it here.

    Here’s the Georgetown Profile on the College Board site:

  • Anonymous

    See the 2011 section in the table:

    I think the issue is that College Board is a year behind. Their numbers don’t match the most current data on Notre Dame or Vanderbilt’s websites either.

  • I think I can clear things up a bit. As you point out, Georgetown and several other schools choose to release early numbers on their own, either on their own websites, through press releases, or in some cases when they talk to their own campus newspapers.

    A lot of schools, though, don’t release their transfer admissions statistics until up to a year later. We like to present a complete table, so we wait till everyone has their data in to the College Board.

    Hope that clears everything up. Thanks!

  • Hey Rtkpandita, thanks for the comment! As awdfg pointed out above, Georgetown is one of the schools that releases transfer admissions data ahead of the College Board (, so we know that the transfer admission rate for Fall 2011 went back down to 10%.

    On that page they also note that, as is the case for most colleges, “the number of students accepted through [the] transfer process varies each year depending on space.” It looks like they had a bit fewer applications for Fall 2010, as well as some more space, hence the unusually high acceptance rate.

    As a side note, the fact that transfer acceptance rates often fluctuate even more than freshman rates is one of the reasons we strongly recommend applying to multiple schools in the book (even if you’re pining for a particular school).

  • Anonymous

    I am struggling greatly in one of major classes. I’m probably going to receive a C or a D in it. But in my other 4 classes I am dong A level work in them. I’m expecting to receive an A- and three A’s and on C this semester. Currently, my gpa is a 3.29. I’m hoping to be admitted to American University for the Fall 2012 semester. I’m in my 3rd semester of college and I have received C and C+ in my first and second semester, respectively. And because of this I have been spiraling towards depression because of my grades and the thought that I won’t be able to transfer anywhere. Based on my gpa, do you think that I’ll be able to transfer into American? I probably should mention that I’m a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and I joined two clubs in my current school. And I’m a sophomore. Even though, American University is my first choice, I’m also going to apply to the University of Arizona, George Washington University, and the University of Georgia.

  • Hi Anonymous! First, sorry for the late reply, it’s been crazy around here lately! If you have a follow-up question, I’ll reply right away.

    So if your GPA is 3.29, you may still have a decent shot. American U’s average GPA for admitted transfers is 3.39, which means they do take in students below that GPA.

    As we’ve tried to stress over and over in the blog and the book, however, your GPA is the number one factor in transfer admissions. Try to get your GPA higher, even if that means dialing back your club involvement (though doing so can depend on to what degree you’re involved in the clubs, how they relate to your genuine interests, etc.). Membership in that honors society isn’t really going to be a factor.

    Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Adam

    Don’t worry about it! I’m sure it is quite hectic for you guys! 

    I”m hoping that my gpa will take small increase forward to a 3.33 even though my semester gpa won’t be as high as it was last semester. I received a 3.06 my first semester, a 3.53 last semester and this semester it will either be a 3.53 again, or around a 3.3-3.53. 

    I remember that I was rejected from American U two years ago as a high school senior. I put myself in a better position now than I was since I’ve been communicating with an AU admissions rep and  she tells transfer students to have at least a 3.0 gpa to be competitive for admission. And I just have a feeling that I will be accepted to transfer to either American or George Washington. I haven’t gone to club meeting in the past month to focus on my improving my gpa. 

    At one point, I was considering Georgetown but I decided against it. I’m considering applying to the University of Minnesota, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, University of Arizona,  Ohio State University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Florida State University as well as American and George Washington. Based on my gpa, how do you think my chances would fare in getting admitted to the following schools. I know some of them have a chapter of the honor society that I’m in. And I’m also planning on changing my major to Political Science and switching my current major (Criminal Justice) as my minor. Will that have a factor in an admission decision?


  • Unfortunately, I don’t have data for all those schools on hand. I would just call them and follow the script Lan wrote in this very popular post:

    Regarding the major change, it shouldn’t really be a factor. Schools, especially the larger ones you’re applying to, look at your overall record and if the story you tell (which should include how you chose your major) makes sense. They don’t really check for department fit, or if the department you’re applying to has space (an exception would be if you’re applying to a particular school, like a undergrad business school).


  • d’Artagnan


    I bought your book a while back (it helped alot, thank you!) and came back to ask a question that has probably already been beaten to death a hundred times. I am currently a sophomore in a top-20 school seeking to transfer to Columbia. However, my GPA stands at 3.47. Intending to graduate college within 3 years, I had overloaded on my credits and since I matriculated with 32 credits from AP classes, I didn’t have many introductory courses to take and so jumped right on to the 300s from my 2nd semester freshman year. I know this is no excuse but as a result of all of this, my GPA plummeted. Columbia “encourages” students to have an overall minimum GPA of 3.5. I already knew my chances were bleak because of my GPA but I hadn’t realized they had an unofficial cut-off. I believe I have strong ECs and will be able to get good recommendations and flush out a stellar essay. I also have a near perfect SAT score. My GPA is the only hindrance at this point. Should I bother trying applying? Thank you in advance for your advice.

  • Hi d’Art,

    First, thank you for all the good work you musketeers do. Second, thanks for checking out the book!

    As for your question, I can’t give you a yes/no answer: for example, I don’t know what you’ve been doing outside of school, so you
    could have some really fascinating accomplishments that totally outweigh
    the GPA thing. I think this is really a case where you have to contact the school, explain your situation, and see what they say. See this blogpost for tips on how to talk to admissions people, whether over phone or email:

    My guess is they would tell you to apply anyway (the more people apply, the better for them), but, again, I’m not Columbia and we’ve found they’re pretty responsive and sometimes give brutally honest answers.

    On balance, given only what you’ve just told me, I would also tell you to apply. In the words of Wayne Gretsky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    Let me know if you have other questions, best of luck with the process!

  • Heavensojiro92

    Hi, after reading your essay and half of the book, I want to ask you if there is a chance for me at Georgetown University as a junior. I am currently in George Washington University with a GPA of 3.3-3.4 and have been interning at Embassies and non-profit organization. With regards to what you know, is there a shot for me or should I just disgard it? I’ll appreciate it very much if you’d answer me. Thank you so much

  • Bryony

    Hello. I have a horrible GPA of 3.0 and an atrocious SAT score of 1980.
    It is highly unlikely my top schools of choice will accept me.
    Considering I get a 3.8+ in college, will I have the slightest chance at
    a competitive school? (the schools I am referring to are in the top 20
    in the U.S. News Rankings) Or is your high school transcript still the most important factor as a sophomore transfer?

  • Well, Georgetown is an interesting case since they’re extremely open about the profile of the transfer students they admit. See here:

    There they note that the average admitted student’s GPA has been around 3.75-3.83 for the last few years. Note that this is the average, so they do admit students with lower GPAs (though they don’t say anything about the variance around that mean).

    On balance, it means that it’ll be tough to get in, but maybe you’ve got some really amazing stuff besides your GPA going on, I just don’t know.

    That’s our honest answer, good luck!

  • One of the great things about transfer admissions is that students who mature late after doing poorly in high school can have a second chance at going to a great school, and you sound like you could be a textbook example of that kind of student.

    As we stress in the book, your college GPA is by far the most important factor in transfer admissions, so you’re in good shape from that angle.

    But if you think your high school performance was really bad, you may want to wait to apply and transfer as a junior to build up an even longer record of success at the college level before you apply to transfer.

    Hope that helps!

  • chip

    Hello, I am a college freshman hoping to be admitted to Trinity College for transfer.    My high school GPA is around a 3.2 and I got a 1230 on the Math and Verbal sections for my SAT.  I had a 3.4 GPA in my first semester and hope to improve on that.  In addition I am a member of a student committee and play lacrosse for the college.  I was wondering if you could maybe shed some light on my chances at acceptance for Trinity.
    Thank you

  • Hi Chip,

    Trinity tells transfer applicants that they should have a B (3.0) average or better, so you’re definitely in the ballpark. Your overall chances depend on a lot of things: your course choices, your reasons for transferring, your essays, what you say about why you want to transfer, letters of rec, etc.

    In your case, on thing I would recommend strongly is putting in a call to the people in charge of transfer admissions at Trinity to tell them that you’re a lacrosse player and to ask about the possibility of transferring into the lacrosse team there. It could make a major difference!

    Hope that helps!

  • Adam

    Hey, I commented a couple of months ago saying I had a 3.29 gpa and that I was applying to American University and various other schools. I improved my gpa to a 3.35. However, my semester gpa was a 3.46 which was down from my the 3.53 I had in the Spring of 2011. So, did my chances improve based on the fact that my overall gpa increased even though it was a decrease from the previous semester. And how important is the major gpa to schools?


  • Lan

    The American University website says, “Competitive transfer applicants have a GPA of at least 2.5/4.0 at their current institution.”  Here’s the link:

    With that said, 3.35 is well above the minimum.  However, the minimum is not always enough, especially if the application pool happens to be more competitive than usual.  If you have a strong reason for why your GPA decreased, consider providing a succinct explanation in the Additional Information page.

    It seems that schools generally look at your overall GPA because a lot of transfer applicants are undeclared at their current school.

  • Pjs28641

    Hello, first of all, as a subscriber of this blog, I would like to appreciate your valuable information and posts. They really, truly, and greatly motivated me. I want to ask if I have some chance for ivy league schools. I am an international student  attending one of the top 10 liberal arts colleges as a freshman. My high school GPA is 3.9/4.0, which put me on the second place in my class. I got 3.79/4.0 (top 15%, honor roll+dean’s list) in the first semester of college,  and 3.87~3.94 for my mid term. I tried my best to exhibit a rigorous courseload, so most of my courses are either 200 level or 300 level. Since my original SAT was unsatisfactory, I retook in this January and got 2260(730/800/730). I am planning to apply to Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, U. Chicago, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins. Can you also give me some advice about the school list? (Do I need more safety schools?)
    Thank you very much! 

  •  Thanks for your kind words, and thanks for reading! It sounds like you’re in very good shape and your list sounds fine.

    But, if you want to add an additional school as a safety, I wouldn’t necessarily stop you, especially since I don’t know all the details of your applications, etc.

    Good luck! Let us know how things go!