Transferring Colleges: an Ultimate Guide (Part Two)

Transferring Colleges: an Ultimate Guide (Part Two)

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The previous part of our ultimate guide was focused on the pros and cons of transferring colleges, the differences between applying as a transfer student and a freshman, and other details of the process. Part two will tell you more about transfer letters, dean’s recommendations if needed, and college transfer essays. We hope you have already picked the college you want to transfer to and are now ready to work on your application following our easy tips.

The Structure of a College Transfer Letter

A college transfer letter is one of the required parts of the transferring process. It tells about yourself and your motivation behind transferring to ask your college to issue a transfer certificate. You might think that it’s pretty similar to a standard application letter that the majority of students write when applying to college as freshmen, and you are not wrong. They have many similarities, such as structure and the overall tone, though they are pretty different. The specific of a college transfer letter is that it is supposed to highlight and describe the reasons why you choose to transfer—some of the reasons we will discuss later in the text.

So, what is the structure of a college transfer letter, and what should it look like? Usually, it’s not supposed to be very long – around one or two pages and consist of the following parts:

  1. Salutation.

  2. Body. State your decision to take transfer. This is the main part where you should express your regret about the choice you made. As it is a formal letter, it should be phrased in the most respectful and understandable way to make sure the purpose of the letter is clear. You can use the phrases like “Unfortunately, I am not able to continue education in [college name],” “I truly regret that the circumstances don’t allow me to continue education in [college name],” “Unfortunately, I have discovered that I am more interested in [name of major/sphere],” etc.

  3. Reasons, details, and achievements. Here you should add some personal information such as reasons why you are transferring, your motivation, plans, etc. This way, you will make the letter more personal and will create a good impression of a student with aspirations, goals, and interests. Mention your GPA if it’s high to emphasize that you transfer not because of your academic performance. You can also list some of your academic achievements.

  4. Complimentary close. Express gratitude for the time and understanding, add a complimentary close, like “Best regards,” and sign your letter.

Usually, a letter like this is addressed to the Dean of Admissions, but you should check information beforehand as there might be some other rules in your learning institution.

Reasons to List in Your Letter

Let’s be honest, even if the reason why you are transferring is your dislike of the college that you are currently in, even if you don’t like the program, the campus, or the learning methods, you still can’t list them in your letter as a valid reason. So, here we have a few ideas for you that you can use when requesting a transferring certificate.


Family emergencies or circumstances can be a solid reason for transferring colleges. You may not want to go into much detail when writing a letter, so it’s not a must to explain what exactly happened. However, you should better avoid stating in your letter that you are homesick.


Not everyone can afford to study in a high-end college. That’s why it’s completely understandable when a student makes a decision to transfer because of financial reasons. You should also avoid phrases like “this college is too expensive for me” or “I have found a cheaper institution.” Simply state that you have financial reasons that affected your choice.


Though it might seem not that obvious, social circumstances can also greatly influence students when they decide whether they should take transfer or not. If you feel like you do not fit into the social life of your current college, you can mention this fact in your letter.


But what if you simply have found that you are not that interested in the field that you are currently studying for? This also happens a lot and can be put in the letter as a reason why you choose to transfer. Mention that you are grateful for the experience and knowledge that you received, but you want to be a specialist in a field that draws more passion in your life.

Dean’s Recommendations

In order to apply for transferring, you might also need a recommendation from your dean. There are two ways to get it – to write a request or to talk to your dean personally. The latter option might not be available in some learning institutions; that’s why let’s find out what the request should look like.

It’s pretty similar to the transfer request letter but has a major difference – it should state that you are in need of a dean’s recommendation for the college you take transfer to. In many cases, it’s just a formality, as often deans will provide such a recommendation without any problems. Chances are it will include pretty general information and also list some of your achievements, your GPA, etc.

Simply follow the basic steps of writing a formal letter:

  • Use formal language, address your dean by Mr./Mrs./Ms./Prof.

  • Kindly ask to provide you with a recommendation letter as it is requested by another learning institution.

  • Express your gratitude.

  • End your letter with a complimentary close.

If you need to attach a dean’s recommendation to your transfer application package of documents, be sure to request it as early as possible. It might take some time for your dean to create one for you because of their busy schedules. You don’t want to miss the application deadline because of this formality.

College Transfer Essay

Some colleges will need you to submit a college transfer essay when you are applying. Basically, it’s a short essay about yourself, why you are leaving your current college, and why you think you are a great fit for a college that you are applying to. The length of it might vary, but in general, it shouldn’t be longer than two pages. Such an essay might be a challenging task for you, so let’s take a look at the list of some tips that we have prepared for you on writing a successful college transfer essay.

  1. Be honest. The best way to impress a committee with your essay is to make it personal and honest. Tell your story and make it worth reading.

  2. List your values. Values are important when it comes to choosing between candidates.

  3. List your achievements. This is not the time to be shy; highlight your strengths and show what you can.

  4. Explain why you have chosen the current learning institution that you are leaving and why you would like to transfer.

  5. Explain what you like about the college that you are applying to and what you think you can do for the college, and the development of the field of your major.

The essay should look like a respectful and clean story about you and your college journey. It should also express your hope for the committee to accept you and let you continue your studying in a college of your choice.

Wrapping Up

Transferring colleges is not a quick or easy process. But we hope we can ease your life a little with our quick tips. We wish you to make the right decisions that you would never regret. Good luck!