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How to Transfer

Do you want to go to a four-year college or a community college? Maybe you'd prefer a vocational or technical school. Depending on your circumstances, it might be best for you to start at one type of school and transfer to another to complete your degree.

To make your transfer as smooth as possible, it's best to plan ahead. Here are some steps to take to ensure a smooth transition.

Understand the Transfer Policies

Every college has its own policies on how credits transfer in from other institutions. Talk with the college you are considering transferring to so you understand their transfer process and how they will review the courses you have already taken. Some questions to ask:

  • How will my credits transfer? Will your classes be transferred in as core requirements or elective credits? Some colleges may transfer in your science or math as an elective credit if it doesn't meet their own course standards. 
  • Is there a limit to how many credits you can transfer in?
  • Is there a limit on the types of classes that you can transfer? 
  • Does your transfer college recognize the college you are coming from and accept their course credits? Accreditation matters to many schools and some will only accept credits from similarly accredited schools.

Articulation Agreements

In Iowa many colleges have designed articulation agreements that outline exactly how credits will transfer from one school to another. For example, the University of Iowa has a two-plus-two program with Kirkwood Community College that recognizes courses taken at Kirkwood as the first two years of a University of Iowa degree.

The Iowa Board of Regents has worked with Iowa community colleges to create the Transfer in Iowa website. The site outlines the transfer process for community college students wishing to transfer to Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, or the University of Northern Iowa. Click here to visit the site.

There are agreements between two-year colleges and private colleges in the state of Iowa. To learn about private school transfer policies, it's best to contact each private school individually. Click here to see a list of private college in Iowa.

Talk to Your Advisor

Discuss with your academic advisor about your plans to transfer, and where you want to go. They can help you review the both colleges course requirements and work to ensure a smooth transition. You can also involve a transfer counselor from your intended school in your planning discussions.

Apply for Admission

Research the admission requirements of your intended transfer school. If the program you are transferring into has a waitlist, you may be able to apply and get on the list in advance of being ready to attend. Get in touch with the admissions transfer counselor and ask about admission requirements for transfer students such as test scores, transcripts, orientation and financial aid.

Request an Official Transcript

Depending on admission requirements you may need both your official high school transcript and the official transcript from you current college. Understand the requirements and request the documents you need from each school.

Apply for Financial Aid

If you plan to transfer at the start of the next school year, add the new school to your FAFSA application for that year.

If you are transferring to a new college in the middle of the school year you need to add the new school to your current FAFSA form to apply for financial aid. You also need to tell your current school's financial aid office you intend to transfer so they can release any unused state or federal financial aid to the next institution.

If you have scholarships, contact the organizations that provided them to ensure you can transfer those scholarships to your new school.

Apply for any scholarships your transfer school offers. Scholarships you received from your current school will not come with you to your new school. 

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