Tips on Transferring from a 2-Year to a 4-Year College

Many students use a community college or another two-year college as a stepping-stone to a four-year college and a bachelor’s degree. If you want to take this path, here’s what you should do:

  • Make sure that the credits you earn from your classes at the two-year college will count at your four-year college so you can start out there as a junior. This can save you time and money.
  • Sign up for a transfer program at a two-year college. These programs include the same kinds of courses that you’d take in your first two years at a four-year college. They’re designed specifically to help you succeed at making the transition.

Plan Ahead and Ask Questions

Since each college has its own requirements, the most important thing you can do to make the transfer process run smoothly is plan ahead.

Get help from these resources:

  • Your high school counselor
  • College websites
  • The admission or counseling office of the two-year college you’re thinking of attending
  • Transfer advisers at the admission offices of the four-year colleges you’re considering

Ask these questions:

  • Does the two-year college have a special transfer relationship — often called an articulation agreement — with any four-year colleges?
  • Will the credits I earn be accepted at the four-year colleges I’m considering?
  • What grades do I need to earn in my classes to get credit at the four-year colleges?
  • What’s the minimum GPA I need to maintain to get into the four-year colleges?

How It Works

So what happens when you transfer? Your four-year college will look at the courses you took and the grades you earned at your two-year college and decide how much credit to give you. Each course is worth a certain number of credits, often three, and students need to earn enough credits, usually 120, to graduate.

Here are more transfer facts:

  • If enough of your courses transfer, you’ll start at the four-year college as a junior.
  • If you don’t get credit for some of your courses, you may need to take them again at the four-year college.
  • When you graduate from the four-year college, only that college’s name will appear on your bachelor’s degree.

You can learn more about transferring to a four-year college, such as information about individual college requirements and application deadlines, by checking out College Search.