Best Colleges for Transfer Students
If you think earning admission as a high schooler to America’s top colleges is difficult, know it can be even more challenging as a transfer applicant. For transfer applicants, not only does everything from high school still count (e.g., coursework, testing, extracurriculars), but college coursework and grades count, too. Yet it’s not impossible to earn admission to America’s most highly selective universities as a transfer student.
Indeed, some of these institutions — like the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, Cornell University, Columbia University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Los Angeles, Emory University, New York University, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, the University of Southern California, and the University of Virginia — show more love to transfer applicants than even their first-year applicants by admitting them at a significantly higher rate.
So which of America’s top universities admit the most significant percentage of transfer applicants? It’s time to find out!
Transfer Admission Rates for Top 25 National Universities
Below you’ll find the transfer admission rate at each school ranked in the top 25 by US News & World Report for “Best National Universities.”
|College/University||US News 2023 Rank||Transfer Admission Rate for 2021-2022|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||#2||1.67%|
|University of Chicago||#6||13.62%|
|Johns Hopkins University||#7||6.8%|
|University of Pennsylvania||#7||4.58%|
|California Institute of Technology||#9||3.94%|
|Washington University in St. Louis||#15||20.65%|
|University of Notre Dame||#18||25.74%|
|University of California, Berkeley||#20||19.69%|
|University of California, Los Angeles||#20||19.63%|
|Carnegie Mellon University||#22||11.27%|
|New York University||#25||41.47%|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||#25||41.5%|
|University of Southern California||#25||22.11%|
|University of Virginia||#25||35.91%|
Analysis of Transfer Admission Rates for America’s Top Universities
So, transfer admission rates aren’t exactly surging at our nation’s top schools. At most of America’s elite institutions, transfer admission rates are lower than the respective overall admission rates. But it’s not like these numbers offer no hope to students hoping to switch schools.
Top Universities with Higher Transfer Admission Rates Than First-Year Admission Rates
Several elite institutions boast exceedingly high transfer admission rates (relative to their first-year admission rates). Below are the top-ranked institutions whose 2021-2022 transfer admission rates were higher than their first-year admission rates for the Class of 2026:
|College / University||2023 US News Rank (“Best National Universities”)||Class of 2026 Overall Admission Rate||2021-2022 Transfer Admission Rate|
|University of Chicago||#6||7%||13.62%|
|Johns Hopkins University||#7||6%||6.8%|
|Washington University in St. Louis||#15||10%||20.65%|
|University of Notre Dame||#18||13%||25.74%|
|University of California, Berkeley||#20||11%||19.69%|
|University of California, Los Angeles||#20||9%||19.63%|
|Carnegie Mellon University||#22||11%||11.27%|
|New York University||#25||12%||41.47%|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||#25||18%||41.5%|
|University of Southern California||#25||12%||22.11%|
|University of Virginia||#25||19%||35.91%|
Top Universities with Relatively Exceedingly High Transfer Admission Rates
UChicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, WashU, Cornell, Columbia, Notre Dame, Cal, UCLA, Emory, NYU, Michigan, USC, and UVA, in particular, boast extraordinarily high transfer admission rates relative to their first-year admission rates.
NYU’s Transfer Admission Rate is Over Three Times Its First-Year Admission Rate
And of all these schools, we draw your attention to NYU — a school whose transfer admission rate for the 2021-2022 cycle was over three times their first-year admission rate for the Class of 2026. Yes, NYU loves its transfer students.
Transfer Applicants Address Institutional Needs for Diversity
But, as you can see, NYU is not alone. After all, many elite universities seek to accept transfer students to add diversity to their student bodies — underrepresented minorities, first-generation college students, low-income students, veterans of America’s military, community college students, and more.
These are the students — whose grades and test scores from high school will not count towards or against these institutions’ data reported to US News & World Report (they’re data ghosts!), who will fill out the student bodies to meet institutional needs.
Ivy Coach’s Assistance with Transfer Admission
If you’re interested in optimizing your case for admission as a transfer student, fill out Ivy Coach‘s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to outline our services for transfer applicants.
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Great blog post, but with a BIG caveat***! The schools you have listed also have the top undergraduate business schools in the country. And each of those schools has a separate admissions rate for their B Schools- as they are all (or most) direct admit schools. Those acceptance rates are Far lower than the ones you state. I know that for fact.
I think it’s safe to assume from these numbers that HYPSM are what as known as transfer snobs, as in sniff, we are too good for transfers! But I think Ivy Coach advocates for transfers getting a shot at the tippy top schools- so good for you. Let’s hope they get in tune with everyone else.