College Transfer Acceptance Rates: Which Schools Accept the Most Students?

With a focus on creative writing, Melissa Brinks earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington in 2014. She has spent several years preparing K–12 students for their college education by tutoring them in a variety of subjects, including SAT prep.

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Does this school offer my intended major?

You should also find out what each school’s transfer requirements are. While some schools have specific and rigorous requirements, others’ requirements may be more flexible. Some schools may have minimum GPA, SAT, or ACT score requirements, ask for letters of recommendation from instructors at your current school, or generally have very low transfer admissions rates. Some schools only allow students to apply to transfer for a particular year or semester of college. For example, the University of Pennsylvania only allows transfer students to enroll in their university during the fall semester. This is commonly seen among highly competitive schools, including Ivy League and other top-ranked colleges and universities.

Other schools, however, have more flexible transfer requirements and accept a higher percentage of transfer students each year. For example, Boston University does not require students to submit recommendations from professors at their current schools, and the University of Virginia does not require transfer students to submit standardized test scores.

Transfer Admission Rate versus Freshman Admission Rate

You should definitely consider the difference between each school’s freshman admission rate and transfer admission rate in addition to the ease of transfer. You statistically will have better chances of admission as a transfer applicant than as a high school applicant in comparison to the overall applicant pool at many top schools because transfer admission rates are often double or triple those of freshman admission rates.

Schools With Favorable Transfer Admission Rates

To help you start building your transfer list, here is a list of universities with transfer acceptance rates that are higher than their freshman acceptance rates. Schools are ranked according to the ratio of their freshman admissions rate to their transfer acceptance rate. The Fall 2021 admissions cycle served as the basis for all admissions rates.

To reorder the list, click the yellow arrows to the right of each column header.

Rank School Freshman Accept % Transfer Accept % Factor Increase (Number) Percentage Increase (%)
1 Emory 13.1 33.7 2.57 157.25%
2 Vanderbilt 7.1 17.6 2.48 147.89%
3 UNC 19.2 46.9 2.44 144.27%
4 Georgia Tech 18.3 40.7 2.22 122.40%
5 UMichigan 20.2 41.5 2.05 105.45%
6 BU 18.6 36.6 1.97 96.77%
7 Barnard 11.5 22.1 1.92 92.17%
8 Tulane 9.6 18 1.88 87.50%
9 UCLA 10.8 19.6 1.81 81.48%
10 Cornell 8.7 15.7 1.80 80.46%
11 UVA 20.7 35.9 1.73 73.43%
12 Notre Dame 15.1 25.7 1.70 70.20%
13 UCSB 29.2 48.8 1.67 67.12%
14 UCSD 34.3 54.8 1.60 59.77%
15 Dartmouth 6.2 9.9 1.60 59.68%
16 UMiami 28.5 44.2 1.55 55.09%
17 William and Mary 36.5 52.7 1.44 44.38%
18 UC Irvine 28.9 37.7 1.30 30.45%
19 UC Berkeley 14.5 19.7 1.36 35.86%
20 Pomona 6.6 8.4 1.27 27.27%
21 Northeastern 18.4 20.4 1.11 11.00%

Top 10 Schools to Transfer To in 2022

The top ten schools are listed here with additional details, ordered by factor increase. The factor increase in this instance refers to the rise in transfer acceptance rates relative to freshman acceptance rates. Almost all of these schools are doubled!.

Early on in your research process, make sure to look up the specific transfer requirements and deadlines for each school.

Transferring to Emory University

Emory Transfer Admission Rate: 33. 7% / Emory Freshman Admission Rate: 13. 1%.

Emory’s world-class academics and stellar school spirit are bound to welcome you warmly come fall. While Emory’s minimum cumulative GPA is a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, most applicants have a GPA of 3.5 or better, so you’ll want to make sure that your performance at your current institution stacks up to the talented and competitive transfer applicant pool for this Atlanta institution.

Transferring to Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt Transfer Admission Rate: 17. 6% / Vanderbilt Freshman Admission Rate: 7. 1%.

Like Emory, Vanderbilt offers a transfer admission rate more than double its freshman admission rate, at 17.6%. Students seeking transfer admission to Vanderbilt must apply in the spring for fall admission. Vanderbilt reports that 220-240 students join their school each fall! While the priority application deadline is March 15th, Vanderbilt reviews transfer applications on a rolling basis throughout the spring and typically stops accepting new applications by May 1st.

Transferring to University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

UNC Transfer Admission Rate: 46. 9% / UNC Freshman Admission Rate: 19. 2%.

Michael Jordan’s iconic alma mater also accepts a significantly greater percentage of transfer applications in comparison to freshman applications, with a transfer admission rate more than twice as high as its freshman admission rate! With no specific course requirements, the school’s holistic review process should definitely appeal to students with a diversity of interests looking to take advantage of the amazing opportunities available in North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Transferring to Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech Transfer Admission Rate: 40. 7% /Georgia Tech Freshman Admission Rate: 18. 3%.

Ranked as one of the top public universities in the United States and offering a 40.7% transfer admission rate, Georgia Tech is a fantastic option for transfer students, especially those seeking to study engineering. If that sounds like you, you’ll want to devote quite a bit of time to researching and understanding the school’s transfer requirements for each major, and making a plan to fulfill your requirements in time for the deadline relevant to your intended application cycle. Georgia Tech accepts fall, spring and summer transfer applicants, offering you flexibility as you work to complete your transfer requirements.

Transferring to University of Michigan

Michigan Transfer Admission Rate: 41.5% /Michigan Freshman Admission Rate: 20.2%

UMich’s transfer admission rate is more than twice as high as its freshman admission rate, and 41.5% is unbelievable for a top-ranked public university with an international pedigree in the arts, business, and sciences. Furthermore, with transfer-specific advising, mentoring, and housing services, the school is bound to have you chanting, “Go Blue!” before you know it.

Transferring to Boston University

Transfer Admission Rate: 36.6% / Freshman Admission Rate: 18.6%

As one of the top schools in Boston, BU offers a transfer admission rate more than 1.9x higher than that of its freshman class and requires only 12 credits to apply, meaning that you can apply to transfer into BU after completing just one semester at another college or university. BU allows students to apply for either September or January admission. Ultimately, 700 students transfer to BU each year, so the school’s sizable transfer population is bound to make you feel at home sooner rather than later!

Transferring to Barnard College

Barnard Transfer Admission Rate: 22. 1% / Barnard Freshman Admission Rate: 11. 5%.

Barnard College’s transfer admission rate is almost exactly double that of its freshman admission rate. Barnard allows students to apply to transfer in both the fall and spring, allowing students more flexibility when choosing which semester they want to apply. The all-female college gives transfer students the exciting opportunity to study in New York City and take Ivy League courses at Columbia University!

Transferring to Tulane University

Tulane Transfer Admission Rate: 18% /Tulane Freshman Admission Rate: 9.6%

Imagine a second chance at your New Orleans dream school with a transfer acceptance rate approximately double its freshman admission rate! Plus, with test-optional requirements, you’re only two transcript submissions away! Why not take advantage of Tulane’s vast transfer ambassador infrastructure and financial aid, and become one of the 175 students who transfer to Tulane next spring or fall?

Transferring to University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA Transfer Admission Rate: 19. 6% / UCLA Freshman Admission Rate: 10. 8%.

As a state institution, the UC system prioritizes transfers from California community colleges, so these students reap the majority of the higher admission rate benefits. After California community college students, the UC system then prioritizes transfers from other UC campuses, so definitely consider transferring to this prestigious UC campus if you’re unhappy at your own. The median transfer GPA, 3.92, and other information about transferring to UCLA, can be found here!

Transferring to Cornell University

Cornell Transfer Admission Rate: 15. 7% / Cornell Freshman Admission Rate: 8. 7%.

Of the Ivies, Cornell University is a school with one of the best transfer rates, nearly double their first-year acceptance rate. Each college and school has its own requirements for admission. For example, the College of Arts and Sciences requires students to submit a list of all courses they have taken that are prerequisite or required courses for their intended majors, while the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Architecture, Art and Planning both have majors requiring the submission of separate portfolios. Cornell welcomes between 500 to 600 transfer students each fall or spring semester.

Schools with Low Transfer Admission Rates

On the other hand, many top universities actually have lower transfer acceptance rates than freshman acceptance rates. This chart shows just a few schools that fall in this category. For example, Yale University and Princeton University only accepted about 15 students in the fall of 2021. You might notice that most of these schools have a low freshmen acceptance rate to begin with. Considering these stats, be mindful of balancing your list when applying as a transfer!

Rank School Transfer Accept % Freshman Accept % Factor Decrease (Number) Percentage Decrease (%)
1 Yale 0.7 5.3 7.57 657.14%
2 Swarthmore 1.6 7.8 4.88 387.50%
3 Princeton 1.3 4.4 3.38 238.46%
4 Williams 3 8.8 2.93 193.33%
5 Bowdoin 3 8.8 2.93 193.33%
6 Stanford 1.7 3.9 2.29 129.41%
7 Haverford 8.7 17.8 2.05 104.60%
8 Tufts 7.3 11.4 1.56 56.16%
9 Bucknell 22.8 34.5 1.51 51.32%
10 Wake Forest 19 25.2 1.33 32.63%
11 Brown 4.3 5.5 1.28 27.91%
12 Carnegie Mellon 11.3 13.5 1.19 19.47%
13 CalTech 3.9 3.9 1.00 0.00%

Advice for Prospective Transfer Students

A strong transfer application makes the case for why the student needs to change schools and leave their current one. Strong justifications for transferring frequently include the absence of the desired program at the current institution or the desire to take on more challenging coursework. As a result, it is much more challenging to convince a student to transfer to a school that offers programs comparable to those at their current school.

Put your best foot forward at your current school until the very end wherever you choose to attend, and choose your courses carefully. Finish strong!You can also read Command Education’s guide on how to transfer into your dream school for a more detailed guide on the transfer process!Regardless of how simple your dream school’s transfer process is, college transcripts will always carry considerable weight in the transfer application!

Best of luck with your transfer!

Rank School Freshman Accept % 2020-2021 Transfer Accept % 202o-2021 Factor Increase (Number) Percentage Increase (%)
1 Emory 19.2 32.6 1.70 69.79%
2 Vanderbilt 11.6 36.8 3.17 217.24%
3 UNC 23.5 44.6 1.90 89.79%
4 Georgia Tech 21.3 38.3 1.80 79.81%
5 UMichigan 26.1 45.8 1.75 75.48%
6 BU 20.1 53.7 2.67 167.16%
7 Barnard 13.6 27.6 2.03 102.94%
8 Tulane 11.1 25.8 2.32 132.43%
9 UCLA 14.3 24.5 1.71 71.33%
10 Cornell 10.7 18.4 1.72 71.96%
11 UVA 22.6 40.4 1.79 78.76%
12 Notre Dame 19 43.5 2.29 128.95%
13 UCSB x x x x
14 UCSD 38.3 55.9 1.46 45.95%
15 Dartmouth 9.2 28.6 3.11 210.87%
16 UMiami 33.1 52 1.57 57.10%
17 William and Mary 42.2 60.1 1.42 42.42%
18 UC Irvine 29.9 40.5 1.35 35.45%
19 UC Berkeley 17.5 20.6 1.18 17.71%
20 Pomona 8.6 9.8 1.14 13.95%
21 Northeastern 20.5 48.4 1.11 11.00%

Schools With Highest Transfer Acceptance Rate

3 Biggest MISTAKES of Transfer Applications!


What schools have the highest transfer acceptance rate?

Schools With Favorable Transfer Admission Rates
Rank School Transfer Accept %
1 Emory 33.7
2 Vanderbilt 17.6
3 UNC 46.9
4 Georgia Tech 40.7

Which schools are the easiest to transfer to?

Transfer Admission Rates
  • University of Wyoming – 97%
  • Washington & Jefferson College – 95%
  • University of Tennessee at Chattanooga – 94%
  • Old Dominion University – 92%
  • University of Oklahoma – 92%
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville – 91%
  • University of Kansas – 90%
  • East Carolina University – 89%

Which college accepts the most transfer students?

Schools with the Highest Number of Transfer StudentsSchoolLocationEnrolledNational UniversityLa Jolla, CA3,300 California State Polytechnic University–PomonaPomona, CA3,274Texas State UniversitySan Marcos, TX3,112 Eastern Illinois UniversityCharleston, IL2,871

What is the easiest Ivy to transfer into?

Since 2019, 200 community college students have consistently been able to transfer to Ivy League universities. According to reports, Cornell University admits the most community college transfer students. Brown University comes in third, followed by The University of Pennsylvania.

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