Step 1: Starting Early to Plan Ahead
Although you may intend to spend two years at your transfer school, you should begin
making your transfer plans the very first semester you enroll. At your transfer institution
you should have several resources available to assist you with your transfer plans.
If not, contact the Office of Academic Transfer and Articulation, as our Coordinator
of Academic Transfer is ready to help you to define your long and short-term goals,
evaluate where you are academically and assist you with your course selection. When
you contact our office, you will also have access to college Bulletins, transfer course
equivalency tables and some articulation agreements. Another valuable resource is
to connect with the Office of Admissions. It's never too early to begin making contacts!
Step 2: Choosing the Right Institution
There are many things to consider when choosing the university to which you intend
to transfer. First decide on some basic criteria:
Location: Do you intend to stay in the Mid-South area or are you open to relocating? Do you
prefer a rural setting, the city or the suburbs? Size: You can break colleges down
into three basic sizes, small (less than 5,000), medium (5,000 � 10,000) and large
Public or Private: Public institutions are supported by state tax dollars. Private institutions are
independent and self-supported. Some private schools have ties to religious organizations
and others are �non-sectarian," meaning they have no relationship to a particular
Cost: Tuition costs in Tennessee can range from around $1,500 to over $20,000. Though
there can be substantial differences in the price of tuition between public and private
institutions, don't make cost your first reason for excluding or including a college.
If you are interested in a particular school, take the time to find out if scholarships,
grants or financial assistance are available.
Majors: Do they have your field of study? Do not forget to ask this important question.
While many colleges offer majors in subjects such as English, History and Business,
other majors (e.g. Architecture, Marine Biology or Nursing) are only offered at selected
Step 3: Investigating Your Choices
The more you know about your school choices and the sooner you know it, the smoother
your transition will be. To decide if a college is the "right fit" for you, begin
asking some important questions:
Admission Requirements: What is the minimum grade point average (GPA) to be considered for admission? Do
grades of �D� transfer, or is the lowest grade accepted a "C"? Are there additional
admission requirements for your intended degree, such as a portfolio, completion of
certain courses or a higher GPA minimum?
Minimum and Maximum Credits: Most institutions have a minimum number of hours that students can transfer with
to be eligible for "transfer admissions status." There are also a maximum number of
credits that are transferable from a community college. (In Tennessee, most 4-year
institutions will accept up to 66 credit hours.) You should also find out if Advanced
Placement credits earned while in high school or other types of test-based credits
such as CLEP count in the total number of credits you can transfer.
Campus Visits: One of the best ways to get an idea of an institution's "qualities" is by a visit
to the campus. You'll want to include in your visit an interview with an admissions
counselor, academic advisor and financial aid/scholarship officer, a visit to at least
one class if possible, a meal in the student center, and an overnight stay in a residence
hall, if you think you may be interested in living on campus.
Step 4: Getting Organized
There are many deadlines to adhere to in the transfer process and the more organized
you are, the less likely you will be to run into difficulties. A couple of areas you
need to pay particular attention to include:
Application Deadline: Schools within the Tennessee Board of Regents operate on a semester system, which
means they have two academic terms per year (fall and spring). Summer terms are optional
and may have a separate deadline or one coinciding with fall applications. Application
deadlines vary greatly though typically the larger the school, the earlier the deadline.
Financial Aid: Financial aid is awarded on an academic year basis. You need to fill out the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January 1 and March 1 for the
next Academic Year. You must reapply for financial aid every year. Some colleges may
also have an additional form for you to fill out, but all require the FAFSA.
Scholarships: Some schools have a different deadline for scholarships than that for financial
aid while other uses the same deadlines for both. Always contact the financial aid
office, or scholarship office if it's in a separate area, EARLY to know your timeline.
Keep Records: When you are completing university, financial aid or scholarships applications,
you are filling out official documents. Keep copies of everything you submit. Also
when you speak with someone from a university, note whom it was you spoke with, the
date, time and the subject matter. Universities get hundreds of phone calls and the
more information you have, the better they can serve you.
Step 5: Developing a Strategy
If you have done your homework on schools, are keeping good records and are working
with your transfer advisor or counselor, you are well on your way to a successful
transfer; it's time to develop your strategy.
Course Selection: Unless you are entering a field that has many lower division major requirements
(e.g. engineering or music) you may want to concentrate on your general education
or core courses. If you plan to transfer to a Tennessee public institution, you should
follow the General Education Program Core Curriculum, which will transfer to any public
institution in Tennessee to meet the general degree requirements. Other resources
available to assist you with course selection include transfer guides. These plans
list the first two years of coursework that you can take at any TBR to transfer to
a specific school for a specific degree. You can obtain transfer guides on the web
at the TBR website.
Alternative Plan: As a transfer student, you will probably apply to fewer schools than if you were
a new freshman, but you should still consider using the same method of determining
your choice. If you have done your homework, then you should be fairly certain of
your chances to be admitted at any given school. But you should still have "alternatives"
in case you aren't admitted, the financial aid doesn't work out, or you simply change
your mind. Locking yourself into one transfer choice sets you up for lots of potential
difficulty if everything doesn't happened exactly as planned.
Your Future: You know it's never too early to start planning your transfer process. The same
could be said of your career process after you transfer and obtain your bachelor's
degree. Working with potential employers now will help guide you toward what courses
you'll want to take, what kind of internship possibilities there are and what the
outlook for employment is in that field when you graduate.
The transfer process is an important one but it does not have to be a chore. If you
stay on top of things, you can have a good time in your search for the best transfer
school for you. The sooner you begin your process, the more time you will have to
enjoy the payoff when you make that smooth transition!