The 10 Best Colleges to Transfer to

A male student is happy holding up papers
August 31, 2023
7 min read


Written by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Written: 8/28/23

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.

Two students in a library looking at a laptop

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 10 Colleges to Transfer to

Below is 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. The University of Georgia

National Ranking: 49 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 74%

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. The University of Wisconsin-Madison

National Ranking: 38 (tie)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 59%

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 makes this list as 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. The University of California, Santa Barbara

National Ranking: 32 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 58%

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. The University of California, Davis

National Ranking: 38 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 57%

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. The University of California, San Diego

National Ranking: 32 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 56%

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. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

National Ranking: 29 (tie)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 47%

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. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

National Ranking: 41 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 47%

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. The University of Florida

National Ranking: 29 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 46%

The University of Florida pushes diversity among its transfer students by accepting many international students and including their unique foreign language requirements designed to promote cultural understanding. If you appreciate diversity among your educational peers, consider transferring to the University of Florida.

9. The University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

National Ranking: 25 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 42%

For students that 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: 44 (tied)

Transfer Acceptance Rate: 41%

Students looking for one of the best engineering colleges to transfer should start by researching the Georgia Institute of Technology. At Georgia Tech, transfer students undergo a competitive and holistic application process that considers their academic profile, institutional fit, classes relevant to their major, and any community contributions.

When Is the Best Time to Transfer Colleges?

A calendar with glasses on top of it

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.

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 too.

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!

Quad Education's Editorial Policies and Standards
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 7x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.