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Easiest Schools to Transfer Into Based on Admission Rates

While there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider as you embark on the transfer process, a crucial step is putting together a list of schools you’ll want to apply to – your College List 2.0. Just as when you created your initial college list, you’ll want to conduct research on each of the schools you are considering, seeking to answer questions like: Does this school offer my major? How easy is it to get into?
So you’ve decided to transfer — amazing! But where should you go?

While there are a number of factors you’ll need to consider as you embark on the transfer process, a crucial step is putting together a list of schools you’ll want to apply to – your College List 2.0. Just as when you created your initial college list, you’ll want to conduct research on each of the schools you are considering, seeking to answer questions like: does this school offer my intended major? Does it offer extracurricular and research opportunities I would like to take advantage of during my time in college? Is it as academically rigorous as I would like?

Most importantly, you should ask: Will it offer opportunities not offered by my current school?

Transfer Requirements

It is also important to find out what each school’s transfer requirements are. While some schools have specific and rigorous requirements, others’ requirements may be more flexible. Some schools may have minimum GPA, SAT, or ACT score requirements or ask students to submit letters of recommendation from instructors at their current schools. Some schools only allow students to apply to transfer for a particular year or semester of college. For example, the University of Pennsylvania only allows transfer students to enroll during the fall semester. This is commonly seen among highly competitive schools, including Ivy League and other top-ranked colleges and universities.

Other schools, however, have more flexible transfer requirements. For example, Boston University does not require students to submit recommendations from professors at their current schools, and the University of Virginia does not require transfer students to submit standardized test scores.

Transfer Admission Rate versus Freshmen Admission Rate

In addition to ease of transfer, you should consider the difference between each school’s freshman admission rate and transfer admission rate. Many top schools have transfer admission rates that are double or triple their freshman admission rates, meaning that statistically, you will have stronger chances of admission as a transfer applicant than as a high school applicant.

Schools With Favorable Transfer Admission Rates

Here is a list of schools that have a higher transfer acceptance rate than their freshman acceptance rate to help you kickstart your transfer list. Schools are ranked by the factor difference between their transfer acceptance rate and their freshman acceptance rate. All admissions rates are taken from the Fall 2022 admissions cycle.
Rank
School
Freshman Accept %
Transfer Accept %
Factor Increase (Number)
Percentage Increase (%)
1
Northeastern
6.80%
30.32%
4.46
345.72%
2
Tulane
11.45%
49.84%
4.35
335.18%
3
Columbia
3.74%
11.34%
3.03
203.51%
4
UCLA
8.57%
24.42%
2.85
184.88%
5
Barnard
8.79%
24.88%
2.83
182.89%
6
Vanderbilt
6.67%
16.63%
2.49
149.29%
7
UC Berkeley
11.40%
24.32%
2.13
113.42%
8
Georgia Tech
17.13%
36.16%
2.11
111.02%
9
Notre Dame
12.91%
26.70%
2.07
106.90%
10
UMichigan
17.69%
36.61%
2.07
106.88%
11
BU
14.37%
29.01%
2.02
101.94%
12
USC
12.02%
23.53%
1.96
95.67%
13
Cornell
7.26%
13.85%
1.91
90.74%
14
UVA
18.66%
34.95%
1.87
87.31%
15
Northwestern
7.21%
12.96%
1.80
79.79%
16
Emory
11.35%
19.11%
1.68
68.31%
17
Wash U St. Louis
11.33%
17.45%
1.54
53.96%
18
Wellesley
13.57%
17.84%
1.32
31.51%
19
Dartmouth
6.38%
7.35%
1.15
15.12%
20
Brown
5.06%
5.36%
1.06
5.96%

Top 10 Schools

Here is a little more information about each of the top ten schools, ranked by factor increase. Many of these schools’ transfer acceptance rates are doubled, or nearly doubled!

As a reminder, be sure to check each school’s specific transfer requirements and deadlines early on in your research process!

1. Transferring to Northeastern University

Northeastern Transfer Admission Rate: 30.32% / Northeastern Freshman Admission Rate: 6.80%

Northeastern’s world-class academics and stellar school spirit are bound to welcome you warmly come fall. Northeastern requires applicants to complete either 12 college-level credit hours after high school graduation “or have attempted at least one semester of full-time coursework and maintained enrollment through the add/drop period” in order to apply as a transfer student. Additionally, the university is test-optional through 2026, allowing students the choice regarding whether or not to submit their ACT or SAT scores.

2. Transferring to Tulane University

Tulane Transfer Admission Rate: 49.84% / Tulane Freshman Admission Rate: 11.45%

Tulane University offers a transfer admissions rate of over 49%—a whopping 335.18% increase over their freshman admission rate of 11.45%. Students seeking transfer admission to Tulane may apply for fall or spring admission, and like Northeastern, Tulane is test-optional. The institution seeks to admit applicants with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, so you should strive to make sure that your performance at your current institution stacks up to the talented and competitive transfer applicant pool for this New Orleans institution.

3. Transferring to Columbia

Columbia Transfer Admission Rate: 11.34% / Columbia Freshman Admission Rate: 3.74%

This prestigious Ivy League university also accepts a significantly greater percentage of transfer applicants as compared to freshman applicants, with a transfer admission rate more than three times as high as its freshman admission rate! Even so, admission to Columbia remains competitive, and the institution requires students to complete at least 24 points of credit (the equivalent of one year of full-time study) by the time they enroll.

4. Transferring to UCLA

UCLA Transfer Admission Rate: 24.42% /UCLA Freshman Admission Rate: 8.57%

UCLA offers a 24.42% transfer admission rate and is a fantastic option for transfer students. As a state institution, the UC system prioritizes transfers from California community colleges, so these students reap the majority of the higher admission rate benefits. The UC system then prioritizes transfers from other UC campuses, making it a particularly good option for students seeking to transfer out of other UC schools. The median transfer GPA, 3.88 for the fall of 2023, and more information about transferring to UCLA can be found here!

5. Transferring to Barnard College

Barnard Transfer Admission Rate: 24.88% / Barnard Freshman Admission Rate: 8.79%

Barnard College’s transfer admission rate is nearly triple that of its freshman admission rate. Barnard allows students to apply to transfer in both the fall and spring, allowing students more flexibility when choosing which semester they want to apply. The all-female college gives transfer students the exciting opportunity to study in New York City and take Ivy League courses at Columbia University!

6. Transferring to Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Transfer Admission Rate: 16.63% / Vanderbilt Freshman Admission Rate: 6.67%

Vanderbilt’s transfer admissions rate is more than double its freshman admissions rate, making it a stellar choice from students considering transferring. Students seeking transfer admission to Vanderbilt must apply in the spring for fall admission. Vanderbilt reports that approximately 275 transfer students join their school each fall! While the priority application deadline is March 15th, Vanderbilt reviews transfer applications on a rolling basis throughout the spring and typically stops accepting new applications by May 1st.

7. Transferring to UC Berkeley

Berkeley Transfer Admission Rate: 24.32% /Berkeley Freshman Admission Rate: 11.40%

Berkeley, renowned for its academic prowess, vibrant campus culture, and groundbreaking research initiatives, has a transfer admissions rate more than double its freshman admissions rate! Berkeley only accepts transfer students for the fall semester and gives priority to applicants from community colleges, but students attending other institutions are welcome to apply! According to Berkeley’s admissions website, transfer applications are evaluated through a comprehensive review process that places particular emphasis on academics.

8. Transferring to Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech Transfer Admission Rate: 36.16% /Georgia Tech Freshman Admission Rate: 17.13%

Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and offering a 36.16% transfer admission rate, Georgia Tech is a fantastic option for transfer students, especially those seeking to study engineering. If that sounds like you, you should devote time to researching and understanding the school’s transfer requirements for each major, and making a plan to fulfill your requirements in time for the deadline relevant to your intended application cycle. Georgia Tech accepts fall, spring and summer transfer applicants, offering you flexibility as you work to complete your transfer requirements.

9. Transferring to Notre Dame

Notre Dame Transfer Admission Rate: 26.70% / Notre Dame Freshman Admission Rate: 12.91%

Notre Dame seeks to admit applicants who exhibit outstanding academic achievement and “who will enrich our campus through their involvement, passions, [and] care for others.” As you consider transferring, keep in mind that Notre Dame looks for applicants with a competitive GPA, often hovering around 3.75 or higher, and who have completed a minimum of 24 transferable credits.

10. Transferring to University of Michigan

Michigan Transfer Admission Rate: 36.61%% /Michigan Freshman Admission Rate: 17.69%

A top-ranked public university with an international pedigree in the arts, business, and sciences, UMich’s transfer admission rate is almost twice its freshman admission rate. Furthermore, with transfer-specific advising, mentoring, and housing services, the school is bound to have you chanting, “Go Blue!” before you know it.

Schools with Low Transfer Admission Rates

On the other hand, many top universities actually have lower transfer acceptance rates than freshman acceptance rates. This chart shows just a few of the schools that fall in this category. For example, Harvard and MIT only accepted 15 and 21 students respectively in the fall of 2022. You might notice that most of these schools have low freshmen acceptance rates to begin with. Considering these stats, be mindful of balancing your list when applying as a transfer!
Rank
School
Transfer Accept %
Freshman Accept %
Factor Decrease (Number)
Percentage Decrease (%)
1
Claremont McKenna
6.19%
10.35%
-1.67
-67.36%
2
Rice
5.00%
8.68%
-1.74
-73.52%
3
Princeton
2.91%
5.70%
-1.96
-95.58%
4
Stanford
1.81%
3.68%
-2.03
-102.82%
5
Bates
5.48%
13.74%
-2.51
-150.82%
6
Yale
1.62%
4.57%
-2.82
-181.92%
7
MIT
1.39%
3.96%
-2.85
-185.46%
8
Swarthmore
2.42%
6.93%
-2.86
-185.97%
9
Williams
2.97%
8.50%
-2.86
-186.44%
10
Harvard
0.86%
3.24%
-3.75
-274.84%

Advice for Prospective Transfer Students

A good transfer application makes a case for why a student needs to transfer out of their current school and into a new one. Strong reasons for transferring often include the lack of the desired program at a student’s current school or the desire to challenge more rigorous coursework. As such, it is much more difficult to make a compelling case why a student should transfer to a school with offerings similar to those available at their current school.

Wherever you decide to apply to, be sure to put your best foot forward at your current school until the very end, while also planning your course selection wisely. Regardless of the ease of your dream school’s transfer process, college transcripts will always carry considerable weight in the transfer application, so finish strong! For further information on the transfer application process, check out Command Education’s guide on how to transfer into your dream school for a more detailed guide on the transfer process!

2021 – 2022 Transfer Admission Rates

Rank
School
Freshman Accept %
Transfer Accept %
Factor Decrease (Number)
Percentage Decrease (%)
1
Emory
13.1
33.7
2.57
157.25%
2
Vanderbilt
7.1
17.6
2.48
147.89%
3
UNC
19.2
46.9
2.44
144.27%
4
Georgia Tech
18.3
40.7
2.22
122.40%
5
UMichigan
20.2
41.5
2.05
105.45%
6
BU
18.6
36.6
1.97
96.77%
7
Barnard
11.5
22.1
1.92
92.17%
8
Tulane
9.6
18
1.88
87.50%
9
UCLA
10.8
19.6
1.81
81.48%
10
Cornell
8.7
15.7
1.80
80.46%
11
UVA
20.7
35.9
1.73
73.43%
12
Notre Dame
15.1
25.7
1.70
70.20%
13
UCSB
29.2
48.8
1.67
67.12%
14
UCSD
34.3
54.8
1.60
59.77%
15
Dartmouth
6.2
9.9
1.60
59.68%
16
UMiami
28.5
44.2
1.55
55.09%
17
William and Mary
36.5
52.7
1.44
44.38%
18
UC Irvine
28.9
37.7
1.30
30.45%
19
UC Berkeley
14.5
19.7
1.36
35.86%
20
Pomona
6.6
8.4
1.27
27.27%
21
Northeastern
18.4
20.4
1.11
11.00%

2020 – 2021 Transfer Admission Rates

Rank
School
Freshman Accept %
Transfer Accept %
Factor Decrease (Number)
Percentage Decrease (%)
1
Emory
19.2
32.6
1.70
69.79%
2
Vanderbilt
11.6
36.8
3.17
217.24%
3
UNC
23.5
44.6
1.90
89.79%
4
Georgia Tech
21.3
38.3
1.80
79.81%
5
UMichigan
26.1
45.8
1.75
75.48%
6
BU
20.1
53.7
2.67
167.16%
7
Barnard
13.6
27.6
2.03
102.94%
8
Tulane
11.1
25.8
2.32
132.43%
9
UCLA
14.3
24.5
1.71
71.33%
10
Cornell
10.7
18.4
1.72
71.96%
11
UVA
22.6
40.4
1.79
78.76%
12
Notre Dame
19
43.5
2.29
128.95%
13
UCSB
x
x
x
x
14
UCSD
38.3
55.9
1.46
45.95%
15
Dartmouth
9.2
28.6
3.11
210.87%
16
UMiami
33.1
52
1.57
57.10%
17
William and Mary
42.2
60.1
1.42
42.42%
18
UC Irvine
29.9
40.5
1.35
35.45%
19
UC Berkeley
17.5
20.6
1.18
17.71%
20
Pomona
8.6
9.8
1.14
13.95%
21
Northeastern
20.5
48.4
1.11
11.00%

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