Greetings Undergraduate Students & Families,

In COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TRANSFER APPLICATIONS I discussed many of the issues to know about your transfer application and earning your undergraduate degree.    Understanding what colleges consider in a transfer application and undergraduate degree requirements can help you assess how to be successful in your transfer application. I invite you to have an initial conversation to evaluate whether transferring is the right decision and I can help you assess which colleges may be a better fit for your emerging academic and post-graduate plans.

Whether you just began your freshman year of college or maybe you’re a few years into your undergraduate program of study and still uncertain about your major area of study or maybe, you’re ready to begin to consider your post-graduate career or educational planning, — my post a few days ago is for you.  Given my thirty years of experience teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, assisting young adults discover how to navigate and leverage their academic strengths and interests is incredibly rewarding and I hope you’ll reach out to have an initial conversation

College Transfer Acceptance Rates: Which Colleges Accept the Most Students?

College transfer acceptance rates are lower than the corresponding freshman acceptance rates. That said, with substantial attrition rates of currently enrolled undergraduates- colleges are actually seeking more transfer students.  Don’t be discouraged by the published numbers—but build a your college admissions plan early increasing your opportunities for success as a transfer student.

An expected transfer is a student starting close to home at a two-year college and this particular situation requires far more planning than the “unexpected” transfer. Often the two-year degree program and the academic advising aren’t as solid as they should be. Student are funneled through advising teams armed with check-lists – but lacking the time to explore your longer-range educational and career plans.  The unexpected transfer is a student who has begun studies in a four-year college of choice but for a variety of reasons – academic and/or social -has decided to change universities. This student has very likely enrolled in classes that will satisfy degree requirements upon transferring. Please refer to my earlier blog noted above about these points.

There’s a wide variety of acceptance rates that vary across the types of transfer students.

I’ve included a list of colleges with some of the highest transfer acceptance rates.

Many universities have established pathways for students to move from community colleges to four-year schools by creating articulation agreements with two-year colleges.  Many state systems including University of California, the State University of NY (SUNY) and the Florida systems are examples.  Not only are the two-year public universities providing clear paths into 4-year state universities- but so are private four-year universities.

The application process for undergraduate transfer students is fairly straightforward- so planning ahead will prepare you for what to expect if you decide to transfer during your undergraduate degree- either expected or unexpected.

Please don’t expend unnecessary energy worrying about whether  the perceived stigma that transfer students weren’t  initially prepared for a four-year university will some how impact your chances of a college acceptance. Taking the most challenging classes in your initial two years, complemented by meaningful internship and research experiences can land you in a selective four-year university.

For example, the University of California @Los Angeles—is not only a highly selective college, but has one of the highest undergraduate transfer acceptance rates. Transfer applicants are only considered for fall enrollment.

As you review various colleges for transfer acceptance – seek out answers to these questions:

  • How many credits will be accepted toward my bachelor’s degree?
  • How many credits will be accepted toward the requirements for my major?
  • Is campus housing available and guaranteed for transfer students?
  • What is the minimum number of credits that must be completed once accepted as a transfer student? How long a stay is required–typically this is at least 30 credits- but as noted in my previous blog- the more selective colleges often require a 45 to 60 credit hour residency requirement to earn a degree.


A Sample of Colleges with High Transfer Acceptance Rates

A significant reason that many colleges have higher transfer percentages is that they’ve implemented articulation programs with 2-year colleges to make transferring easier.  Doing so helps ensure that more credits transfer keeping students on target to earn their degree in eight semesters.



School Transfer Acceptance Rate Number of Transfer Students Admitted
San Francisco State University 72% 16,904
University of Maryland University College 99% 16,434
California State University–Los Angeles 63% 13,076
San Jose State University 62% 10,409
University of California–Davis 61% 10,317
California State University–Sacramento 81% 10,144
University of Central Florida 67% 9,938
California State University–Long Beach 30% 9,159
California State University–Northridge 50% 9,109
California State University–Fullerton 34% 8,586
California State Polytechnic University–Pomona 54% 8,324
University of Houston 86% 7,772
Florida International University 73% 7,352
University of South Florida 61% 7,343
University of California–Los Angeles 25% 5,720
Texas State University 89% 5,553
San Diego State University 20% 4,885
University of Texas–Arlington 69% 4,199


The University of Maryland University College, has an outstanding transfer acceptance of 99 percent, given established partnerships with all 16 community colleges in the state, and 90+ colleges throughout the US.

The University of Central Florida has a variety of programs designed to assist students with transferring, including a guaranteed admission for students attending many universities.

Early planning might include finding a partner college and clearly doing research as soon as possible to know the classes you need to complete while enrolled in a two-year program to make your transition into a four-year setting seamless and avoid redundancies.


Transfer Rates at Highly Selective Universities

Here are the transfer acceptance rates at US News’ top-ranked national universities:

As detailed in my earlier blog- if you find yourself trading-up, having a very self-informed and clearly articulated reason for wanting to transfer requires you do the research.  Taking the most challenging and relevant courses enriched through research and internships will increase your likelihood of an acceptance and success post-transfer.  Think of your application as the warm-up to your graduate school applications-your response to the required transfer essay prompts needs to clearly articulate your academic vision and direction and demonstrate how the university aligns and supports your educational aspirations. Please schedule a conversation with me about your plans and together we can build your transfer COLLEGE PLAN for success.

Careful and thoughtful planning are essential to receive a positive admissions decision and to be a successful student at highly selective universities.

Again, ignore acceptance rates- a strong application based on clear goals and a solid plan should be your focus – rather than how low or high the published transfer acceptance rates might be.


School Transfer Acceptance Rate Number of Transfer Students Admitted
Princeton University n/a < 20
Harvard University 1% 16
Columbia University 6% 170
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4% 24
University of Chicago 5% 48
Yale University 0% < 30
Stanford University 1% 31
Duke University < 5% 26
University of Pennsylvania 8% 221
Johns Hopkins University 10% 113
Northwestern University 15% 282
California Institute of Technology 1% 3
Dartmouth College < 1% 4
Brown University 5% 95
Vanderbilt University 29% 404
Cornell University 17% 852
Rice University 9% 54
University of Notre Dame 26% 235
University of California–Los Angeles 25% 5,720
Washington University in St. Louis 20% 228

If you’re settling into your freshman year, planning a transfer application or ready for graduate school planning- please reach out to schedule a consultation.

I wish all  high school and undergraduate students a peaceful and successful 2019-20 academic year.
Warm regards,
Bonnie R. Rabin, PhD
Educational & College Admissions Consultant
Professor Emeritus & Cornell University South Florida Alumni Representative
561.509.0021  or 833.MY.ESSAY