Why Top Colleges Like Transfer Students

Transfer Students, Top Colleges Love Transfers, Transfer Applicants

Highly selective colleges add to the diversity of their student bodies through the admission of transfer students (photo credit: Namkota).

Why do highly selective colleges endeavor to admit a round of transfer admits each and every year? It’s simple. Transfer students often significantly contribute to a university’s diversity. You see, in the transfer round, college admissions officers at our nation’s most elite schools are able to offer admission to students who tend not to apply in the regular admissions cycles out of high school. Maybe they’re students from community college. Maybe they’re veterans of America’s military. Maybe they’re students from low-income families. These groups of students can greatly enrich a university’s student body. And there’s one other benefit: the school can admit these students in the transfer round and these students’ grades and scores won’t be included among the data mined by “US News & World Report” in their annual all-important rankings. As we’ve suggested before, transfer students are data ghosts.

Veterans in the Transfer Round

In the transfer round, a highly selective colleges can offer admission to a young man who served his country gallantly overseas without having to worry in the back of their minds that his SAT score from four years ago — back when he was in high school — will adversely impact the school’s ranking. Whereas that score would have likely eliminated his chances of admission just four years before, it’s of less importance in the transfer round. After all, this student’s life experiences and contributions to our nation’s security supersede how he performed on a test back when he was a high schooler, which is precisely how it should be.

Community College Students in the Transfer Round

As reports Elissa Nadworny for “NPR” in a piece entitled “Top Colleges Seeking Diversity From A New Source: Transfer Students,” “Private colleges across the county have embraced this method: Amherst College in Massachusetts hosts job fairs and open houses for community college students; the University of Southern California has one of the largest transfer programs among elite schools, with about 1,500 students getting slots each year. In Minnesota, several of the state’s private colleges have transfer agreements with local community colleges, and similar agreements are happening across the country…Here’s a look at the numbers: Community colleges enroll 41 percent of all U.S. undergraduates. 56 percent of Native American undergrads are enrolled in community colleges. 52 percent of Hispanic undergrads are enrolled in community colleges. 43 percent of African American undergrads are enrolled in community colleges.”

Top Colleges Are Right to Admit These Transfer Students

We’re glad “US News & World Report” considers transfer students to be data ghosts. It allows colleges to admit students with their hearts and minds without paying such careful attention to students’ numbers. Many American veterans, community college students, and students from low-income families (side note: many of the veterans with whom we work on a pro bono basis in the transfer admissions round check all three of these boxes), are deserving of admission to these elite schools. The transfer admissions round makes that possible and we hope more and more of our nation’s top universities admit even more transfer students in the years to come.


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