Common App Brings Good News for Transfer Students

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In the past, students hoping to transfer to a new college had to use individual schools’ transfer applications. Now, the Common App aims to simplify the transfer process. University Business reports that the Common App has launched an early adopter program for transfer students. The application will be available for the 2018-19 admissions cycle, with nine four-year institutions kicking on the program.



Why Create a New Application for Transfer Students?

Nearly 40% of higher education students will transfer at least once during their college careers. Students choose to transfer for a variety of reasons: Some start at two-year institutions and complete their education at four-year colleges; others transfer for financial reasons; some take a gap due to extenuating circumstances or family obligations; and many simply want to make a change.


Despite representing a larger portion of applicants, transfer students have been largely ignored in the admissions process and must use entirely different applications for each college to which they apply. The new Common Application aims to change that.


Transfer students bring unique perspectives and experiences from those of incoming freshmen, and their application needs to reflection that. For instance, many of them are first-generation students balancing work and family needs.



Special Features of The Common Application for Transfer Students

The Common App convened a Transfer Advisory Committee to guide the process of creating the application, with 29 institutions offering input. The new Extended Profile includes “tailored pathways and programs based on age, goals, degree status, and credits earned.” Features include:


  • A section for prerequisite coursework: Applicants can fill in courses they’ve completed to fulfill requirements for specific programs.
  • A document-collection feature: Applicants may append documents such as the DD214, Joint Services transcript, and financial transcript, among other documents needed to apply to college.
  • An activity/experiences section in which applicants can report volunteer, internship, work experience, and other outside activities, honors, and awards.
  • A Common App Recommendation Portal to facilitate ease in completing recommendations; applicants may also choose the type (Academic, Professional, Personal) and automatically deliver messages to recommenders.
  • A feature enabling students to only request transcripts from their most recent institution once; it will then be sent to all institutions to which the student is applying.

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Early Adopters

Early adopters include:


  • DePaul University
  • Dominican University of California
  • King’s College
  • Lynchburg College
  • Mount Holyoke College | Frances Perkins Program
  • Robert Morris University
  • St. Edward’s University
  • University of Dayton
  • Valparaiso University



What’s Next?

This should come as welcome news to students looking to transfer, as well as institutions that welcome a sizeable number of transfers. The Common App for Transfer will play a role in increasing diversity and streamlining the process for nontraditional and other transfer students.


Visit the Common App’s website to learn more about the new application and take a tour.


To learn more about the transfer process, check out:


A Guide to Transferring: What You Need to Know About the Transfer Admissions Process

How Do Colleges Evaluate Transfer Students?

Can I Attend a Top College if I’m a Nontraditional Student?


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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.