20 Best Colleges to Transfer to | Transfer Acceptance Rates

June 4, 2024
7 min read
Expert Reviewed


Written by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Written: 6/4/24

Looking to transfer schools but not sure where or when to apply? Should you wait until after you raise your GPA? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and learn more about the best colleges to transfer to. 

Many students opt to transfer colleges either to pursue their dream school or due to dissatisfaction with their current one. Whether you seek a specific major or have other reasons, finding the best college to transfer to is vital. If you're unsure, this article can help you make the right choice!

Top 20 Colleges to Transfer to in 2024 to

Below are our top picks for the best colleges to transfer to. This list weighs the acceptance rate of transfer students among the top 50 national colleges ranked by US News, with over a thousand applying transfer students annually. 

1. University of Georgia

National Ranking: #47 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 75.63%

If you’re looking for a great school to transfer into from anywhere in the eastern United States, the University of Georgia is a great pick. UGA sits at the top of this list with the highest acceptance rate. Most students transfer to UGA for the popular business and science-based majors

2. University of Wisconsin-Madison

National Ranking: #35

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 50%

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers great support for transfer students looking to adapt to their new campus comfortably, with an information center, events, and even extra tutoring. UoWM is a top-fifty school in the nation that accepts over a thousand transfers annually. You can’t go wrong with a transfer application here!

3. University of California, Santa Barbara

National Ranking: #35

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 56.64% 

The University of California includes a group of colleges and makes this list three times; it’s easy to transfer between campuses with all of your credits intact. Santa Barbara is at the top because of its higher ranking and transfer acceptance rate. If you’re looking to transfer, you can schedule a virtual advising appointment with a counselor.

4. University of California, Davis

National Ranking: #28 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 70% 

There might not be a better college to transfer to in California than UC Davis. The university offers guaranteed transfer admission acceptance from any community college in the state, so long as the student meets the requirements. If you’re a community college student looking for a brighter future, UC Davis might be the right path for you.

5. University of California, San Diego

National Ranking: #28

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 62.4%

As another great choice for transfer students among the University of California campuses, San Diego makes this list for its high acceptance rate and national college ranking. If you’re looking for a UC college specializing in math and science majors, San Diego will make a great transfer pick from a state community college. 

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

National Ranking: #22

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 35.4% 

Another strong contender for a good school in the south-eastern US, UNC-Chapel Hill, is a great choice for transfer students! Chapel Hill will support your academic dreams with strong on-campus resources, flexible orientation, and the unique offer of allowing transfer students to start during the summer to catch up or get ahead. 

7. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

National Ranking: #35

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 45-50%

Another top school for students looking to transfer is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. You can research the classes that count for your major ahead of time using the Urbana-Champaign transfer guide. This helps set the University of Illinois apart, as many schools wait to count equivalencies after acceptance. 

8. University of Florida

National Ranking: #28

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 47%

At the University of Florida, they're all about diversity, welcoming plenty of international students and even incorporating foreign language requirements to foster cultural understanding. If you value a diverse educational environment, UF might be the right fit for your transfer.

9. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

National Ranking: #21

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 39.41% 

For students who want a strong contender for a transfer school but need to know everything they can about the transfer process, the University of Michigan Ann Arbor offers transfer equivalency information upfront. If you’re interested, Ann Arbor offers Virtual Transfer Spotlights, a feature that makes it one of the best colleges to transfer to.

10. Georgia Institute of Technology

National Ranking: #33

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 41%

Students looking for one of the best engineering colleges to transfer to should start by researching the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech, transfer students undergo a competitive and holistic application process. 

It takes into account their academic profile, how well they fit with the institution, relevant major-related classes, and any community contributions they've made.

11. California State University, Fresno 

National Ranking: #185 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 50.79%

California State University, Fresno is a solid option for transfer students who value hands-on learning and community involvement. 

The university focuses on giving you real-world experiences that are directly tied to your academic and professional goals. If you’re into applying what you learn in the classroom to the outside world, Fresno State could be a great match.

12. Florida International University

National Ranking: #124 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 75.56%

Florida International University stands out with its strong emphasis on research. It’s a place where you can meet and study alongside a diverse group of students. It also hosts a range of programs across various fields. 

Whether you're interested in science, the arts, or business, FIU has the resources to support your journey and expand your worldview.

13. University of Central Florida

National Ranking: #124 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 67.93%

The University of Central Florida offers a range of programs on one of the largest campuses in the nation. It’s a hub of activity and opportunity, making it a great place for transfer students. If you’re looking for a vibrant community and plenty of options to explore academically - check it out. 

14. California State University--Northridge

National Ranking: #25 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 53.79%

California State University--Northridge looks out for its transfer students. It offers a range of support services designed to help you settle in and succeed. From orientation programs to academic workshops, CSUN is all about creating a welcoming environment.

15. University of Houston

National Ranking: #133 (tie)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 91.03% 

The University of Houston is a great choice if you’re interested in research and innovation. The campus is bustling with activities and opportunities to engage in cutting-edge work. It offers a lively atmosphere that’s perfect for students eager to dive into their studies and extracurricular interests.

16. California State University, Fullerton

National Ranking: #133 (tie)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 36.48%

California State University, Fullerton, is a great choice for transfer students. It plays an important role in Southern California by helping shape the area's jobs and economy. Overall, CSUF focuses on helping students succeed. 

They offer a range of educational programs and opportunities to work on projects with teachers. These can provide you with the support you need to prepare for your future career.

17. San Diego State University

National Ranking: #105 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 19-20%

San Diego State University is a great transfer-friendly option for students. It offers over 200 degree programs, so you have lots of options. SDSU also provides $192 million for research, offering chances to join exciting projects. 

The high number of applicants each year shows it's a popular and respected school. Overall, it's an excellent place to continue your education.

18. The University of Texas at Arlington

National Ranking: #236

Transfer Acceptance Rate: NR

The University of Texas at Arlington is an excellent option for transfer students. UTA graduates have the highest first-year median wage, indicating effective career preparation. 

Also, UTA is ranked fifth for diversity among universities. That means the campus is buzzing with inclusivity and vibrancy. For transfer students aiming for a solid education and career start, UTA is a smart pick.

19. California State University--Long Beach

National Ranking: #105 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 33.42%

California State University Long Beach is one of the easiest schools to transfer to. It provides numerous resources to help students adjust and excel. CSULB cares about helping students develop their creativity and leadership skills to tackle global issues. The diverse mix of students from all backgrounds makes learning more interesting and helps everyone grow personally and academically.

20. Arizona State University

National Ranking: #105 

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 83.65% 

ASU is a solid choice if you're transferring from another college or pursuing a second bachelor's degree. It offers over 400 undergraduate programs and has a reputation for excellent faculty and research. 

ASU also provides strong financial aid options to help manage costs. The university is welcoming and provides resources to support transfer students, making it a solid option to complete your bachelor’s degree.

School Transfer Acceptance Rate Freshman Acceptance Rate # of Accepted Transfer Students Transfer Application Deadline
University of Georgia 75.63% 43% Approx.
March 1
University of Wisconsin-Madison 50% 49% Approx.
Spring: October 1
Fall Priority Decision: February 1
Fall Regular Decision: March 1
University of California, Santa Barbara 56.64% 26% 10,246 November 30
University of California, Davis 70% 41.8% 9,842 November 30
University of California, San Diego 62.4% 24.7% 12,400 November 30
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 35.4% 16.8% Approx.
February 15
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 45-50% 45% NR Spring: October 15
Fall: April 5
University of Florida 47% 23% 2813 Spring: September 15
Summer: February 15
Fall: May 1
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 39.41% 18% 2,019 Fall: February 1
Winter: October 1
Georgia Institute of Technology 41% 17.1% Approx. 1000 Fall: Jan. 16 – March 1
Spring: Aug. 1 – Sept. 15
Summer: Dec. 1 – Jan. 15
California State University, Fresno 50.79% 95% 4,923 June 30
Florida International University 75.56% 50% Approx.
Spring: December 1
Summer A/C: April 1
Summer B: May 13
Fall: July 10
Spring: December 2
University of Central Florida 67.93% 41% NR Fall: July 1
Spring: November 1
Summer: March 1
California State University--Northridge 53.79% 90.1% 12,608 Fall: July 15
Spring: January 17
University of Houston 91.03% 66.2% 5324 Fall: June 24
Spring: Dec. 2
Summer: May 5
California State University, Fullerton 36.48% 87% 8997 Spring: August 31
Fall: November 30
San Diego State University 19-20% 34% 8,420 November 30
The University of Texas at Arlington Not reported 61.4% NR Fall: June 1
Summer Semester & Summer Intersession: April 1
California State University--Long Beach 33.42% 40% NR Fall: November 30
Spring: August 31
Arizona State University 83.65% 40% NR Fall: Feb 1
Spring: Oct. 1

Now that you know some transfer acceptance rates, are you ready to tackle the college transfer process head-on? In this video, hosted by Brittney Vevaina, a former UC Berkeley Transfer Center team member, you're in for some practical advice. 

If you're eyeing a transfer within your state or crossing borders, Brittney offers tips to smooth out the process. Drawing from her own experiences at UC Berkeley and Harvard University, she's here to help you stand out and make that transfer happen. 

When Is the Best Time to Transfer Colleges?

When it comes to the question, “when is the best time to transfer colleges,” there are many reasons to transfer. However, so long as you’re ready to move on and have researched where you want to go, you should be ready to transfer. It’s important that transferring helps move you forward and not set your education back.

Before you decide on the right time, ask yourself the following questions about transferring. Will transferring keep you on your graduation path? Will the credits that transfer be enough to keep you in the same grade? Students often transfer during their second year because it times well with the following. 

Finishing Your Core Classes

Typically, undergrad degrees require you to have a baseline of foundational subject credits before moving into the classes related directly to your major. When transferring schools, not every credit you’ve earned will count, though most colleges accept these general classes. 

It’s, therefore, ideal to transfer during your second year of college since you would have likely completed these requirements.

Affordability is a constant battle for many students. If you’re trying to save, it may be better for you to attend a less expensive college first and then transfer to your dream school, as core classes are most likely to be counted as transferred credit. Your upper-level courses make up most of the learning of your major.

You’ve Raised Your GPA

If you’re unsure of the best time to transfer for you, an increased GPA can indicate that you’re ready to meet the challenges of a more advanced university. A higher GPA will also help improve your chances of acceptance, so be sure to use your early courses as a chance to boost your grades. 

While not every class you take may be transferable, it’s important to note that they typically do not contribute to your GPA at the new school. This means that transferring schools could provide a great opportunity to improve your overall GPA. 

Looking for a New Major

Many students switch majors while attending college—it's fairly normal. However, you may decide you want a major your college doesn’t offer. Transferring to a college that offers the program you want to pursue will help you reach your goals! Remember, the best time to transfer is once you finished your core classes and are starting your major.

Before settling on a school to transfer to, make sure you can pinpoint which credits will count at your new school. Be sure to do your research as soon as you’ve decided that you’re going to switch schools, especially if that is your goal from the start. It’s important that your credits all transfer so you don’t lose any progress toward your degree.

Discover if Transferring Colleges is Right for You

Find out if transferring colleges is the right choice for you with our Transfer Quiz. Making the decision to switch colleges can feel overwhelming, but our quiz is here to simplify the process. 

Whether you're looking for a change of pace, better academic opportunities, or a more supportive environment, our quiz will help you make informed decisions about your college journey.

How to Choose Which College to Transfer

Choosing a college to transfer to is a big decision, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Here are some simple tips to help you through the process:

Refer to Credit Transfer Policies

Before applying, contact the transfer department of the schools you're interested in. Make sure to understand how your credits will transfer. Get everything in writing to avoid any surprises later on.

Consider Accreditation

Make sure the new college is accredited like your current one. Accreditation affects whether other schools and employers will accept your credits. Generally, credits from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted.

Timing Matters

Some colleges have set transfer times, while others offer flexibility throughout the year. Reflect on when you want to transfer and ensure the new college can accommodate your schedule.

Look for Support Services

Transitioning to a new school can be overwhelming, so look for colleges that offer support with admissions, course selection, and more. Consider the student-to-advisor ratio and inquire about financial aid resources.

By considering these factors—credit transfer policies, accreditation, timing, and support services—you can make an informed decision about which college to transfer to. Research and ask questions to ensure the new school aligns with your goals.

Access Free Sample Transfer Essays

Considering a transfer to a new university? We understand that crafting transfer essays can feel like a daunting task. At Quad Education, we're here to simplify the process for you. 

Dive into our collection of transfer essay examples, meticulously curated from successful applicants who've made the leap to prestigious institutions. Gain insight into what admissions officers are seeking and streamline your application journey.

FAQs: Best Colleges to Transfer to

Below, you’ll find some common questions asked by students about transferring schools.

1. What College Is Best for Transfer Students?

The highest-ranked university offering the best transfer rate in America is the University of Georgia. If you’re looking for the best odds that a transfer school will accept you, UGA could make the difference. It’s also a great university for students looking for a variety of popular degree options.

2. Is a 3.7 GPA Good Enough to Transfer?

If you want a strong general GPA before transferring schools, 3.7 is a good start, as it will help you get into most of the best colleges to transfer to. However, be aware of the average GPA of students attending your choice college, as you’ll want to aim for as close to 4.0 to be considered competitive. 

3. What Is a Good College GPA to Transfer With?

To give yourself the best chance of getting accepted, your GPA should at least match the average GPA of accepted transfer students. However, if you still haven’t picked your transfer school, aim to improve as much as possible. As your GPA approaches 4.0, you will open up more transfer school options.

4. Should You Transfer to an Ivy League School?

Yes, you should try to transfer to an Ivy League school, especially if it’s your goal. While the odds are low again, having another chance of getting accepted into the Ivy League is great, and a higher GPA will help. 

While some Ivies have lower transfer rates, like Yale and Harvard, there are others, like Cornell, Columbia, and Dartmouth, that have higher rates. 

5. Can a Community College Help Me to Transfer to a Better School?

Yes, attending a community college will help you transfer to a four-year college; it’s designed too. 

These schools help you prepare to apply or transfer into a four-year college by helping you raise your GPA or get an associate's degree if you didn’t graduate high school. Community colleges are also a cheaper alternative for finishing your core classes.

6. Can I Transfer Colleges After One Semester?

Yes, you can transfer to another school after one semester of college. Depending on where you go now and what school you are transferring to, it may be cheaper to earn general college credits before you transfer. Consider your options and needs carefully when choosing when and where to transfer.

7. Is It Better to Transfer After Freshman or Sophomore Year?

Most students transfer during their sophomore year of college because that’s when they’ve typically settled on their major and finished all their transferable core classes. However, it may be better for you to transfer earlier for several reasons, from costs to educational needs. Make sure to do your research before you transfer.

Final Thoughts

Transferring college is an important step for students working towards higher education but haven’t found what they’re looking for, be it the right school or major. When starting the process, it's important to understand how transferring can be used to your advantage to raise your GPA, keep you on track, and find the school for you. 

Once you’ve decided you’re going to transfer, consider all of your options, from potential student loans to your academic dreams and career goals. It’s important to have done proper research before you attempt to transfer, as you’ll want the best odds you can of actually making it into your dream school. 

Good luck with your transfer application!

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