The Ivy Coach Daily

September 28, 2020

Transfer Applications During Covid-19

A CNBC piece suggests there could be a surge in transfer applications this year.

Will transfer applications to our nation’s highly selective colleges be up this year? If you read an article on CNBC entitled “College acceptance rates for transfer students may rise due to coronavirus” by Jessica Dickler, you’d be convinced that transfer applications to our nation’s elite colleges will skyrocket this year, that more students than ever before will choose to switch schools. We beg to differ. You see, while we don’t disagree that some students will choose to, say, attend college closer to home in light of the pandemic, we don’t foresee students transferring from the University of Pennsylvania to attend school closer to home at Hofstra University. Sorry, Hofstra. But it’s just not going to happen.

Private College Counselor Suggests Colleges Are Desperate for Tuition Dollars

One of the core objectives of our college admissions blog is to correct misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process — misconceptions perpetuated by the press, by private college counselors, by postal service workers, by school counselors, and by anyone else under the sun. So we just can’t let this piece up on CNBC slide. In the article, Dickler writes (note we’ve redacted the name of the college counselor cited so as not to embarrass him as we wish him no ill will), “With a number of undergraduates sitting this semester out, and many international students unable to enter the U.S., some colleges and universities are well below their enrollment numbers for the 2020-2021 academic year. ’This has proven to be a boon for students wanting to change schools,’ said [a private college counselor]. ’Many are taking advantage of the lack of competition, knowing that schools have too many openings and not enough enrolled.’…’These schools are also desperate for tuition dollars,’ [the college counselor] added. ’If they can recoup half the year, they are going to do that.’”

But Our Nation’s Elite Colleges Will Not Struggle to Fill Seats

But while our nation’s highly selective colleges sure do love their tuition dollars, contrary to the words of the private college counselor quoted, these schools are by no means “desperate.” You don’t think each and every Ivy League school is going to fill their incoming class? You don’t think there will be way more applicants to these universities than are available seats in the Class of 2025? Please. What openings is this private college counselor speaking of? Surely his words don’t apply to our nation’s most highly selective universities and yet the vast majority of schools the counselor cites by name in the piece are indeed highly selective colleges.

It’s Just Too Early to Tell If Transfer Applications to Elite Colleges Will Surge

The fact is it’s too early to tell if these schools are going to receive a surge in transfer applications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s late September. Transfer applications to most of our nation’s elite universities are due in March. So we find ourselves scratching our heads when we read, “[The private college counselor] said his office has been inundated with calls from eager applicants. ’We’re seeing a record-breaking number of students applying as transfer students to their dream schools,’ he said.” In our over quarter of a century of helping students earn admission to the colleges of their dreams, in our experience, most transfer applicants don’t contact us until the end of the year so, in our opinion, it’s just too early to gauge skyrocketing transfer applications, though each company is different. Maybe this private college counselor really has experienced a surge in interest in transfer applications. Or maybe he’s boasting about, well, nothing.

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