It is not unusual for students to transfer from one college to another. In fact, according to a report published last year by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 38 percent of students who began college in fall 2011 switched schools within six years.
Some students begin their studies with the intention to transfer. For instance, to cut college costs, many first enroll at low-tuition community colleges with a plan to transfer to their target four-year college or university after they have completed two years of study.
Other students rejected by their dream school enroll at a second-choice college with the hope of earning stellar grades that will allow them to qualify for transfer admission.
[See: 10 Things Prospective College Transfer Students Need to Know.]
Some undergraduate institutions make it easy to transfer into their schools by, for instance, guaranteeing admission to graduates of nearby community colleges. By contrast, other colleges rarely accept transfer students.
Among the 1,187 ranked schools that reported these data to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average number of newly enrolled transfer students in fall 2017 was 492. However, these schools varied widely in the number of transfer students they welcomed, with the six institutions that had the most transfers each enrolling more than 5,000 of these students, while schools at the other end of the spectrum had fewer than 10.
While the average transfer student acceptance rate among all ranked schools was 63 percent in fall 2017, 17 colleges reported that they accepted every transfer applicant.
[Read: Transferring Colleges: 10 Frequently Asked Questions.]
The 10 schools with the largest transfer student populations enrolled an average of 5,041 of these new students – more than 10 times the average number among all ranked colleges. Among these 10 schools, the average new transfer student acceptance rate was 64 percent.
Seven of the schools with the most transfers are National Universities, research-focused institutions that offer a plethora of college majors, plus a variety of master’s and doctoral programs. The three remaining schools are Regional Universities, schools that grant a variety of bachelor’s degrees and some master’s degrees but few doctorates. The majority of these 10 institutions are public schools; the only private institution on this list is Liberty University in Virginia, a Christian school.
Below is a list of the 10 schools that enrolled the largest number of new transfer students in fall 2017. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School (state)||New transfer students enrolled in fall 2017||New transfer acceptance rate||U.S. News rank and category|
|University of Central Florida||6,810||68%||165 (tie), National Universities|
|University of Texas—Arlington||6,693||94%||221 (tie), National Universities|
|Liberty University (VA)||5,542||29%||230-301, National Universities|
|University of Houston||5,200||87%||171 (tie), National Universities|
|Florida International University||5,145||74%||187 (tie), National Universities|
|California State University—Northridge||5,017||50%||73 (tie), Regional Universities (West)|
|San Jose State University (CA)||4,496||62%||33, Regional Universities (West)|
|University of North Texas||3,940||81%||230-301, National Universities|
|University of South Florida||3,805||62%||124 (tie), National Universities|
|California State University—Long Beach||3,759||30%||26 (tie), Regional Universities (West)|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find college transfer statistics, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2018 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The transfer data above are correct as of Feb. 19, 2019.