First Semester

  • Start ASAP! Your transfer process should start when you begin your first semester at your two-year school.
  • Make plans to attend one of the CAP Center's “Transfer Basics” Workshops.
  • Start thinking about a major. Talk with academic advisors, our transfer counselor, faculty members and representatives of four-year colleges about what is available. Research potential careers to help your decision-making process. Talk to our career counselor, this can help you define your strengths and interests, which will help you choose a major. 
  • Attend the Fall and Spring Transfer Fairs. Obtain information from many four-year colleges and universities. Also meet with any four-year college representatives who visit our campus.
  • Make an appointment with a career or transfer counselor.
  • Check the CAP Calendar for Transfer Events.

Second Semester

  • Get on mailing lists. At college fairs and other college visits to campus, sign up for college and university publications. Pay particular attention to the material about transferring your credits and majors offered. Once you’re on a mailing list, you will receive invitations to open houses, information about scholarships, and brochures that address the major you are interested in studying.
  • Search for colleges with your major.
  • Start looking for scholarship money. The CAP Center may have information on transfer scholarships. 
  • Talk to some faculty. E-mail admissions offices and department faculty of the colleges in which you’re interested for information about degree requirements and deadlines.

Third Semester

  • Schedule an appointment to discuss your transfer plans to a four year institution.
  • Plan to attend an Instant Decision Day Workshop (IDD) and receive your IDD Information Package for this annual on-campus, by-invitation-only event.  IDD is coordinated by the CAP Center, and held every February. Instant Decision Day invites selected participating tri-state area institutions to meet prospective GCC graduates on a one-on-one basis, and offer applicants on-the-spot admission decisions. The invitation is extended ONLY to students who have filed a Graduation Petition and are scheduled to graduate in May or summer, and those who have graduated the previous December. Should you decide not to participate in IDD, then…
  • Apply as early as possible. Some colleges consider transfer applications on a rolling admissions basis throughout the year.  Others have deadlines, be sure to check the deadline dates, they are critical to the admissions process. Planning to transfer in the spring? Apply no later than September or early October. Planning to transfer next fall? Apply by mid-November the year before. 
  • Create an application portfolio. Include an essay or writing sample that demonstrates your abilities.
  •  Submit a resume. Have it critiqued first by our career counselor. Then ask some favorite professors to write you recommendations.
  • Have an admissions interview so you can express your interest in a particular school. Interviews give admissions officers a sense of who you are beyond your college transcript.
  • Visit the CAP center should you need help in completing application forms.
  • Request your college transcript. Official copies of your transcript must be forwarded to the admissions office of the four-year schools to which you’re applying. If you have attended other colleges, you must contact them and request that they send official transcripts as well. Check to see if High School transcripts are needed, typically they are not required if you are transferring from a two-year college with an associate degree.
  • Figure out what’s important to you. Identify the college characteristics you care about most. Use the following list to start:
    • Public or private
    • Rural, urban or suburban
    • Geographic location and distance from home
    • School size
    • Undergraduate and graduate programs
    • Full-time or part-time status requirements
    • Costs
    • Financial aid available, including scholarships
    • Transfer student scholarship opportunities
    • Housing
    • Degree requirements
    • Faculty-student ratio within major
    • Clubs and organizations
    • Recreational activities and intercollegiate sports
    • Internship and co-op opportunities
  • Apply for admission. Follow all application procedures, including filling out any program-specific application forms, and make sure you’re aware of all application deadlines. This is particularly important for high-demand programs. 

Fourth Semester

  • Apply for need-based financial aid. Fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA, as soon after Jan. 1 as possible. 
  • Visit the colleges to which you’ve been accepted. Schedule an appointment with an admissions officer three to four weeks in advance. Ask about opportunities to stay overnight in a dorm and sit in on classes. If you’re interested in a college sport, meet with the team’s coach. Also meet with a financial aid counselor if you have questions.
  • Talk to other people. Contact alumni and/or current students to get their opinions of the school’s programs.
  • Make sure your deposits are in by the deadline dates.
  • Re-read your acceptance letter. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into. If you applied to a special program or major, make sure the letter indicates that you have been accepted into that particular program. Also check to make sure you have been accepted for the appropriate semester!
  • Read all your mail! Take advantage of the special orientation, advising and registration programs offered. Participation in these programs will help you understand the college’s environment, give you the chance to meet other transfer students and acquaint yourself with the opportunities available.
  • Review your financial aid. Understand what each item in your package means and whether or not the package will be renewed each year. Understand your loans and what is involved in borrowing and paying loans back.
  • The better prepared you are, the sooner you will feel comfortable at your four-year alma mater. 
With contribution from G. Christopher Belle-Isle, director of the career center at Monroe Community College. Belle-Isle is a past president of the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association (NYSTAA),, which advocates for transfer students on two- and four-year campuses.