The Best Tips for Transferring to an Ivy League School
For the vast majority of college students in the United States, the undergraduate experience involves attending one school for four academic years and then graduating from that same school. However, that does not mean that there are not several different paths that students also commonly take. Learn how to transfer to an Ivy League school now!
One of the most common alternatives is to transfer from one school – whether it is a four-year school or a community college – to a different four-year program. There are a lot of reasons why students end up transferring, and one of the most common is that a student is looking to attend a more competitive or prestigious college or university with the hopes that the move will offer them a better academic experience as well as more promising professional prospects down the line as a result.
Of course, eight of the most prestigious schools in the United States make up the Ivy League. If you don’t feel good about your chances of getting into an Ivy League school like Harvard or Yale as a first-year applicant, you might be interested in learning more about how to transfer to an Ivy League school.
If that is the case, then you have absolutely come to the right place!
At AdmissionSight, our admissions consultants work with both first-year applicants as well as transfer students to help them gain admission to some of the most competitive schools in the country. Of course, that means that a lot of the students that we work with from one year to the next have Ivy League schools sitting firmly at the very top of their list.
When it comes to offering the students that we work with the experience, tools and strategies that they need to overcome the incredibly low acceptance rates at these schools, we know that our track record speaks for itself. Since we began operating in the elite admissions environment, 75.0 percent of the students that we’ve worked with have gone on to either get into an Ivy League school like Penn, Columbia or Brown or a top 10 school that is not in the Ivies such as Stanford, MIT or UChicago.
The truth is that while all of these schools are unique and have different admissions processes and values, they are all looking for generally the same kind of students. That is to say, they are all looking for the best students in the world that a given high school graduating class has to offer.
For that reason, if you are wondering how hard it is to transfer into an Ivy, the simple answer is that it is incredibly difficult! But that does not mean that it is impossible. Every year, students apply – and get in – to Ivy League schools as transfer students. Students that accomplish that goal include students who applied as first-year students and didn’t get in, students that have never applied to an Ivy, students coming from four-year colleges or universities and students coming from community colleges.
Those are the simple and most straightforward facts! Before we break down some of the most important tips that any student who wants to transfer to an Ivy League school should know, we wanted to go over some of the more detailed bits of information that any student looking to go down this path could benefit from.
So, if you have a question like, “What GPA do you need to transfer to the Ivies?” Or want to ask, “Is it easier to get into an Ivy League as a transfer?” Simply continue reading to learn the answers to those questions and many more!
Let’s get started.
When to consider transferring to an Ivy League school?
The first thing you should really be thinking about when you are thinking about trying to transfer to an Ivy League school really is not how to transfer to an Ivy League school, but rather if you should even try at all.
The truth is that applying to an Ivy League school as a transfer student is incredibly difficult and will demand a lot of your time and energy. If you decide to go down that road and try to apply to an Ivy as a transfer, you need to be sure that you are in it for the right reasons.
After all, only that will be enough to motivate you to be able to not only turn in the best application that you are capable of submitting, but also keep up with your current schoolwork and extracurricular activities on top of that! No matter how you cut it, the months that you spend applying to an Ivy League school as a transfer while also working as an undergrad student are going to be incredibly demanding ones.
So, if you are wondering what you should be thinking about when weighing your options of whether or not to apply to an Ivy as a transfer, keep some of these considerations in mind.
You want to transfer based on a specific set of opportunities
The simple truth is that wanting to apply to a school like Harvard or Yale simply because they are more prestigious programs than the school that you are currently at is likely not going to be enough to convince an admissions officer at such a school to offer you a spot.
Whether you are looking to transfer to an Ivy League because of its award-winning program that you want to major in, unique resources, or famous faculty that you want to learn from, those are all solid reasons to try! But, if you want to transfer just because you want to be able to brag about attending an Ivy League school, the journey of trying to get in as a transfer likely is not for you.
You are looking for a different college atmosphere
The kinds of students that attend a given university or college play a major role in the overall culture and community that exists on campus. If you were not able to get into an Ivy League school as a first-year applicant, you might have ended up at a school that is very different. One thing that students certainly love about attending Ivy League schools is that an emphasis is put on student involvement, smaller classes, and a general sense of community across all students. Those can be really hard to find at bigger state schools that can often offer classes that have hundreds of students in them at one time!
Beyond that, state schools do tend to put a bit more emphasis on things like partying, Greek life, sports and more. If those are not things that interest you, and you are looking for something new, trying to get into an Ivy League school may be a great option.
You are trying to accomplish a personal dream
For students that are determined to get into an Ivy League school as first-year students, not getting offered a spot in the incoming class can be a pretty heartbreaking experience. We have worked with students who had dreams of attending Harvard, Columbia or Dartmouth for years only to get rejected. But just because you get rejected as a high school applicant does not mean that you have to let go of your dream just yet. Attending a different four-year school or community college with the goal of improving your academic record, extracurricular achievements and more to improve your chances of getting into your dream Ivy League school is a very real strategy that many students before you have utilized to great success.
With that in mind, it is really important to know that the path to how to transfer to an Ivy League school is no easier just because you have a year or two of undergraduate experience behind you. The path is just as – if not more – competitive for transfer students compared to first-year applicants.
How hard is it to transfer into an Ivy?
After really considering the options that are available to you and have determined that you are trying to transfer to an Ivy League school for the right reasons, you will soon want to start preparing to give yourself as much time to fill out and perfect your application and the additional documents needed.
Part of that preparation process should include gaining important information about what it takes to get into any Ivy League school as a transfer student. Is it easier to get into an Ivy League as a transfer? The simple answer is a definitive no, but how hard is it really to get into these schools?
To start off, let’s look at some of the most recent statistics that we have regarding acceptance rates at the eight Ivy League schools for transfer applicants ranked from most difficult to get into to easiest. Take a look!
- Cornell University: 4,762 applied, 852 accepted for an acceptance rate of 17.9 percent
- University of Pennsylvania: 2,715 applied, 221 accepted for an acceptance rate of 8.1 percent
- Columbia University: 2,536 applied, 170 accepted for an acceptance rate of 6.7 percent
- Brown University: 1,862 applied, 95 accepted for an acceptance rate of 5.1 percent
- Yale University: 1,240 applied, 31 accepted for an acceptance rate of 2.5 percent
- Princeton University: 1,360 applied, 13 accepted for an acceptance rate of 1.0 percent
- Harvard University: 1,553 applied, 16 accepted for an acceptance rate of 1.0 percent
- Dartmouth College: 829 applied, four accepted for an acceptance rate of .5 percent
Now that you have taken a look at these rankings, you may want to think about whether or not some of these numbers surprise you! Perhaps the most surprising thing that we see is that while Dartmouth is considered to be one of the easier schools to get into in the Ivy League for first-year applicants, it is clearly the hardest to get into for transfers! That is a really important reminder to make sure that you are learning about the expectations for transfers compared to those for first-year applicants.
Keep in mind that how to transfer to an Ivy League school is not the same as applying as a first-year applicant! With that in mind, it is true that admissions officers looking at transfer applications are going to consider many of the same exact components as a first-year students’ application. Academic records, extracurriculars, personal essays and letters of recommendation still make up the majority of what will determine your transfer application’s date at any top school. So, what GPA do you need to transfer to the Ivies?
The truth is in order to really stand a serious chance of getting into an Ivy League school you are going to have to earn practically perfect grades in your undergraduate education up to this point. Admissions officers at certain schools will still look at a student’s high school grade point average as part of a transfer student’s evaluation process, but your undergrad grades are going to be weighed more heavily.
If you have just begun your undergraduate education at a different school and are already thinking about how to transfer to an Ivy League school, one of the best things that you can do to help your chances of success is get as many A’s as you possibly can. Truthfully, to improve your chances as much as possible, you are going to want to apply as a transfer as a 4.0 student.
After all, admissions officers at Ivy League schools are looking for students that they believe will thrive within their school’s competitive and rigorous academic environment. The best way to show them that you will do just that is by acing your college courses at the school that you are currently studying at.
Best tips for transferring to an Ivy League school
Now that you have some basic information on how to transfer to an Ivy League school, we wanted to finish up what we hope has been a really informative blog post by going over some of the most useful tips that we have identified when it comes to making sure that your Ivy League transfer journey ends in success.
Tip 1 – Make sure you’re doing your research
No matter how much you want to go to a school, you need to make sure that you know as much as you can learn about the logistics and challenges that you may face as a transfer student. Keep in mind, the reality of transferring is always more important than the dream of attending an Ivy League school. Do your research to make sure that you know what you are signing up for!
Tip 2 – Grades play a massive role
You already know the answer to the question, “What GPA do you need to transfer to the Ivies?” However, we wanted to quickly establish this just one more time so that you really cement it in your brain. If you are not earning basically straight A’s at whatever four-year university, liberal arts college or community college that you are currently at, you may want to reconsider applying to an Ivy as a transfer at all. You’re going to be facing highly intelligent and determined students, and a 3.8 grade point average or below is very likely not going to cut it.
Tip 3 – Stay engaged in your current school’s community
Even if you know from the very first day of your freshman year that you have plans to apply to an Ivy League school – or any other school – as a transfer student, you are going to want to make sure that you remain engaged and involved in your current school’s community. Extracurricular activities aren’t just important in high school.
Whether it’s a sports team or a volunteer role, make sure you’re active on campus. College admissions officers will want to see what you’re doing to get involved and make an impact. Participating in extracurricular activities can also be an excellent way to add to your resume, develop professional experience, and build your skill set to prepare for the transition from college to career or graduate school.
Tip 4 – Make sure you know the why behind your application
Whether it is in your personal essays or your admissions interview, you can be sure that you are going to have to answer this question at some point. Why do you want to attend an Ivy League school? Make sure you have really ruminated on this question and know the answer yourself. In our experience, the best answers usually have to do with a different school offering something that no other schools can.
Learn how to transfer to an Ivy League school
At AdmissionSight, we have helped many students accomplish their goal of transferring to an Ivy League school. While it is certainly a hard road, it is not an impossible one! If you are curious to learn more about what is needed to apply to one of these fantastic schools, contact us today to set up a free consultation.