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Student Transfers 101: Graduate School Edition

Graduate transfer student working at a desk - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

So, you've enrolled in a graduate program to propel your career opportunities, only to find it isn't quite the fit you were hoping for. Maybe you've discovered a passion in another field, or your chosen university just isn't what it was chalked up to be. What now? Instead of settling, starting from scratch, or withdrawing from higher education altogether, transferring programs may be the decision you need to reach your full academic potential. At Tulane SoPA, we're here to help make your graduate transfer process as seamless as possible.

What to Know About Transferring Graduate Programs

According to Indeed, master's degree holders often witness an earnings increase of approximately 20percent from the bachelor's level. Although boosted career and income opportunities commonly fuel the drive to return to school, that doesn't mean every graduate program is one-size-fits-all. From personal motives to financial ease, there are a variety of reasons why graduate students consider making a mid-degree change to another degree program or university. And contrary to what many students might think, transferring programs — and even graduate schools — doesn't necessarily equate to starting back at the basics. In fact, some universities welcome graduate transfer students and even accept a portion, if not all, of the degree credits that accompany them.

Transferring graduate programs is a big decision, but that doesn't mean it has to be intimidating. With proper research, preparation, and the right approach, you'll be equipped with the necessary tools to facilitate a smooth transfer to a program that's better suited for your educational goals.

Steps of Completing the Graduate Transfer Process

1. Do your research

To be sure of your decision to switch tracks, it's important to first review your chosen university's degree and program offerings, as well as any transfer eligibility criteria. This initial step can be completed by exploring the university's transfer student help page to ensure they accept transfer students for master's degree programs. In addition, be sure to become familiar with your chosen school's policy for:

  • The number of credits you'll be able to transfer to your new program
  • Expected timeframes for completing your transfer
  • Any entrance exams or minimum GPA required for admission

For extra guidance, contact the school's advisors or admissions specialists for a deeper insight into how the transfer process applies to your unique situation.

2. Gather your transcripts

As a means to verify your academic credentials, providing college transcripts is often a primary component of any graduate admission process. While requirements will vary depending on the university, many colleges necessitate the submission of official transcripts from each higher-ed institution you have attended — including the university you're seeking to transfer from. Ordering official transcripts can take several weeks to process, so it's wise to request them soon after you decide to make the change.

3. Finalize your personal statement and recommendation letters

A strong personal statement and an assortment of recommendation letters are standard requirements of any admission process, no matter if you're a first-time college student or a transfer graduate student. When crafting your personal statement, keep in mind your reasoning for the transfer and what'll you'll bring to the classroom, including:

  • Your hard and soft skills
  • Your academic and professional experience
  • Any unique qualifications that set you apart

Similarly, compelling letters of recommendation can make a difference in your chances of acceptance to your new program. Reach out to trusted professors, advisors, or employers familiar with your academic strengths, career goals, and work ethic. Most times, a minimum of two to three letters of recommendation are required — so make them count.

4. Submit your application

Once you've gathered the documents you need for your application, it's time to apply. Submit all the details to your new school using the application exclusive to transfer students, if applicable. This step is also where you'll want to arrange for your previously earned grad school credits to transfer to your new program. Often, this can be completed by specifying the credits you wish to transfer using a form provided by the university.

5. Sit back and wait

Now that you've submitted your application, the only step left is the dreaded one: waiting. Universities may take a few weeks of processing time to review your application and inform you of their final decision. In the meantime, don't let the admission uncertainty halt your plans to pursue your academic and career goals.

Join Us at Tulane SoPA With a Graduate School Transfer

At Tulane SoPA, we welcome graduate transfers to join our highly diverse student body and learn from faculty dedicated to helping students explore their academic and professional aspirations. To help ease the graduate transfer process, we provide valuable opportunities for career development, financial assistance, and academic credit for life and work experience. To start your student transfer in New Orleans, request more information from Tulane SoPA today.

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