Transferring Colleges Could Open Up Scholarship Possibilities

Mixed race woman moving into college dorm room

Picking a college isn’t often easy. From public university to private institution to something nearby or far away, there are a multitude of options to consider.

Do you pick a school because it’s strong in the major you think you want to pursue? What if you decide you don’t like that major or realize you just don’t like the school you initially fell in love with?

Transferring to a new school is an option. More than 37 percent of the students who began postsecondary education in fall 2008 transferred at least once during the next six years, according to a 2015 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center study. Nearly half of those who left one school transferred multiple times during the period.

Of course, some students begin postsecondary education at a community college with the intent to transfer to a four-year school. It’s one way to cut the soaring costs of a college education.

Another way to reduce the cost of a degree is through scholarships. And, yes, transfer students can win scholarships, though many are tied to the college you attend. Here are several scholarships available for transfer students.

The National Society of Accountants offers multiple scholarships to students transferring from community colleges to four-year schools and students who are already enrolled at four-year institutions. The scholarships are open to U.S. and Canadian citizens who are majoring in accounting and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

Awards range from $500 to $2,200. The next application period begins in January 2018; completed applications are due in early April.

The American Association of Geographers presents two $1,500 Darrel Hess Community College Geography Scholarships for students currently enrolled at community, junior, city or other two-year colleges who are transfering to four-year colleges to pursue geography majors. Applications must submit an application and two recommendation letters.

They are evaluated on grades, academic promise and financial need and must have already completed at least two geography courses. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31.


Teachers of Accounting at Two Year Colleges offers a number of $1,000 scholarships to graduates of two-year schools who will start earning their bachelor’s in accounting from a four-year school in the upcoming academic year.

Applicants must have completed at least 20 credit hours, six in accounting, and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Applications include an essay and recommendation letter from an accounting faculty member. Check the site for information on when the next application cycle will open.

Many four-year colleges offer scholarships to students transferring from other four-year colleges. For example, Johnson & Wales University offers a transfer scholarship of up to $10,000 to students who have completed at least 45 quarter-credit hours at another college.

Transfer students who are accepted to the university and meet the criteria are automatically considered for the scholarship. Candidates are evaluated based on their transcripts, and the award is renewable for up to four years.

Other schools that offer scholarships for transfer students include The University of Arkansas, The University of Kentucky, The University of Maryland—College Park, Temple University and The University of Michigan—Ann Arbor’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts. These scholarship opportunities are just a few of the ones available to transfer students.


Transfer Scholarship Do’s and Don’ts

Transferring is never easy – many students lose credits when they change schools. And getting financial help in conjunction with a move can be difficult.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for applying for aid as a transfer student.

Don’t wait: As soon as you decide on schools you’re interested in transferring to, contact their financial aid offices to determine whether they provide scholarship help for transfers.

Dopay attention to the rules: Scholarship requirements rarely are flexible. If you’re not eligible, move on and don’t waste your time or the award committee’s time.

Don’tdepend on a generic response: Yes, scholarship applications often request the same information and even have similar prompts for essays. But don’t just copy and paste your scholarship essays. Personalize them for each scholarship you seek.

Doget your documents together: You’re going to need transcripts from your old school and possibly letters of recommendation. Make sure you have them when you need them.

Don’t count on flexible deadlines: For most scholarship organizations, the deadline is just that – the deadline. Respect it.

Remember, regardless of your reason for transferring, you’re not alone. Many students opt for a fresh start at a new college or university. Luckily, you have some financial options to help remove transferring as a financial obstacle to earning a degree.