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Top Tips for Students Who Plan to Transfer

Make a Plan for Transferring!

If you have been to college at any time in your life and are now planning on enrolling in a different college, you are a transfer students. Here are the top tips for making the transition to your future school smooth and easy.

Make Sure You Get the Credit You Deserve

  • Check the transferability of courses before you take them.
  • If your program allows you to choose from a selection of courses, check with academic advising on your transfer requirements – it could save you the time and cost of taking an extra course.
  • Courses in general education areas such as mathematics, writing, computers, etc., are the most likely to be accepted for transfer – completing them at NECC will save you time and money.
  • When opting for a change of major or a new career goal, the quality of the program you wish to enter should be much more important to you than an ability to transfer more of the credits you have already earned.
  • Many schools may place limits on the ability of a single course to meet multiple program requirements, as you must earn a total number of unique credits to be eligible to receive a degree.
  • Most schools accept transfer credits if the content, level of subject matter, number of credits carried, and standards of performance of the course you have completed (or will complete) matches that of an existing course that they offer – check their course descriptions online or on their course catalog if you want to compare in advance.
  • Your new college has the authority to determine how many credits it will accept for transfer, even if other schools have told you something different.

Give the Application Your Best Effort

Most Applications Will Require One or More of the Following Essays

  • Application essay – you are assigned a specific topic to write about
  • Transfer essay – you are asked to write about your past educational experiences and your reasons for transferring
  • Personnel essay – you are asked to describe yourself including your interests, educational goals, what motivates you, your strengths, etc.

Essay Tips

  • Read the directions carefully
  • Be positive about yourself
  • Always type the essay unless you are told not to
  • Have someone else review and proofread your essay before submitting it. Take advantage of NECC’s Tutoring Center for help.

What Should You Write About?

  • How you anticipate the school you are transferring to will help you achieve your goals
  • How your past has influenced your life, your choices, and your goals
  • What do you like to do when you are not working – why does this activity make you happy?

Plan to Choose a Major

Most four-year colleges will ask you to declare a major subject area of study when you apply for transfer admission. Your choice of major should reflect your choice of a career since these two decisions are inseparable.

Visit your professional advisor in your NECC Academic Center.  The Academic Centers Advising Staff can advise you in choosing a major and reviewing your career goals.

Be sure that the major you choose will lead to a career in the area you want. Make sure you understand what kind of work a particular degree will lead you to. Before deciding on a major, review college catalogs for the specific courses required for that degree.

A Bachelor’s Degree requires about 120 credit hours distributed among three categories:

  • General or Distribution Education Requirements — English, Math and Science, Social Sciences, Humanities, or Fine Arts.
  • General Electives — any approved course that give your education flexibility and variety.
  • Core Major Requirements — 12 to 15 courses in one academic discipline (your major subject area).

Most four-year colleges prefer that you complete most of your General education Requirements and some of your lower division major courses before you transfer. The majority of courses that you take at the four-year college in your third (junior) and fourth (senior) years will be in your major subject area. Your NECC courses will, in most cases, be transferred as General Education Requirements or as electives. Carefully selecting your courses at NECC will assure you that you will be able to complete your bachelor’s degree in two years if you are a full-time student.

Secrets to Success at Any School

  • At your new school, get to know your major’s department head and faculty – talk to them about your interests early and they will be helpful for the duration of your program
  • When transferring to a college that is on a different academic calendar from your previous college, watch for opening session dates, and find out how they calculate credit hours or units
  • Remember that courses, even those required for the major, are often scheduled for only one term during the academic year, so plan ahead if you want to complete your program as quickly as possible
  • Never mail your only copy of any document — you may need it again later
  • Your academic plan (number of credits you plan to take) must be aligned with your financial aid package, which is often based on your credit load for the semester or year
  • Applying on time – each semester – is necessary if you want to graduate on time
  • No matter how well you are doing academically, you should always make use of campus sponsored support services

Watch Out for These Mistakes

  • Defaulting on a student loan can damage your credit rating and your ability to borrow money for college at the lowest possible interest rates
  • If you are a student athlete, make sure you understand the NCAA’s rules regarding your eligibility to participate in sports at your new school before you transfer, or you may end up on the bench or off the team.

Questions to Ask College Representatives

Here are some of the important questions you can ask to learn about a particular college, whether on transfer day or when visiting the College’s Campus.

Campus Life

Campus Life

  • Where is your school?
  • Is there on-campus housing for transfer students?
  • Do you have an orientation for transfers?
  • What sports, clubs, and organizations are on campus?
  • What services do you offer students with special disabilities?


  • What is the deadline for transfer applications?
  • Will I have junior status if I transfer with an A.A. or A.S. degree?
  • What majors do you offer?
  • What G.P.A. is required for my major?
  • How many credits will you accept from NECC?
  • How many credits must I complete at your school to receive a four-year degree?
  • What is the average size of your classes?
  • Do you have support services, such as, a math center or on-campus tutoring?


  • What is the annual tuition? Additional expenses and fees?
  • Do you offer special scholarships for community college transfers?
  • What is the deadline for financial aid applications?
  • Is there a work-study program?
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