Transferring to a U.S. university

It is possible to transfer from an Indian university to a U.S. university, as well as between U.S. institutions, without losing all of your previous academic credit or starting over. The flexibility of the credit system at U.S. universities allows coursework completed at one institution to be recognized by another, provided certain criteria are met. Over one million students every year, including international students enrolled at a non-U.S. institution, transfer to a new U.S. university each year.


In general, the recommended timeline for transfer applicants mirrors that of prospective first-year students. Prospective transfer students should begin the application process at least 12 months before the date they wish to enroll at the new institution.

One notable difference in the transfer application timeline is that application deadlines will be different than the typical deadlines for first-year (freshman) applications. Transfer applicants applying for autumn entry will submit their application materials in early spring (typically February or March) and those applying for spring entry will apply by early autumn (typically October). Alternatively, some institutions may have no deadline, but rather "priority dates" for which you should aim. It is very important that students contact the individual universities to which they will apply for further information.

Application Process

The transfer application process differs slightly from that of first year applicants. In addition to the typical application requirements, such as the application fee, transcript and letters of reference, transfer students may be asked to submit a transfer application form and/or supplemental information.

In addition to the standard admissions essays, transfer students are usually required to write a personal statement outlining their reasons for wishing to transfer. This additional essay should not be a negative statement about your current institution, but instead detail why the university to which you wish to transfer will be better suited to your academic needs.

Most transfer students will not be required to sit an admissions exam. However, we recommend you check with the institutions to which you are planning to apply to confirm.

Admissions Criteria

The majority of U.S. universities and colleges prefer students to have completed a minimum of one year of study before they enroll as a transfer student at their institution; however, this requirement varies from university to university. Most universities have a two-year residency requirement prior to graduation. This means that a student must spend at least two years studying at their new institution in order to graduate and be awarded a degree from that university. Most transfer students are in their sophomore or junior (second or third) year when they arrive at the new university.

Beyond meeting the basic university entrance criteria, transfer applicants are expected to have performed well at their current college. It is important to note that transferring is not an easy way to gain entry into the more selective universities; in fact, many of the more competitive colleges have even more demanding admissions standards for transfer students than for first year applicants.


For any query on U.S. higher education, call us on our EdUSA toll-free hotline 1800-103-1231 between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm (Monday-Friday)