How To Transfer From Community College to Ivy League (FAQs)11 min read

Transfer From Community College to Ivy League: You have decided that you want to transfer to a bachelor’s degree awarding college after completing or are on the verge of completing your studies at a community college.

But you aren’t interested in just any college or university; instead, you have your sights set on attending one of the prestigious schools in the Ivy League and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from there.

It is feasible to move up in education level by transferring from a community college to an Ivy League university.

But because acceptance rates for transfer students are usually lower than those for freshmen, a transfer student must have a high undergraduate GPA and a strong application to get into the Ivy League school of their choice.

Are you interested in learning how to successfully transfer from a community college to an Ivy League institution? No need to look any further!

This article will cover all you need to know about transferring from community college to Ivy League.

Are Transfers from Community Colleges Accepted at Ivy League Schools?

The answer, in a word, is yes. If a student has gone to a community college, they can get into one of the Ivy League schools.

228 students from community colleges have successfully transferred to Cornell University over the past two years (2019 and 2020 stats).

Cornell admits the highest proportion of students who transferred from community colleges as the only university in the Ivy League that publishes data on the number of students who transferred from community colleges.

As well, both the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University accept a lot of students who come from other schools, like community colleges.

Even though Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth accept a much lower percentage of transfer students overall due to a limited number of transfer student spots, some well-prepared community college students are accepted each year.

People are starting to see what a unique contribution you can make as a community college graduate, both in the classroom and the larger campus community.

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Reasons to Attend a Community College Before Transferring to an Ivy League School:

It is much easier to earn a competitive grade point average (GPA) than that required for admission to an Ivy League school or any other prestigious college or university if you first attend a community college.

This is one of the many advantages of attending a community college.

Consider this a second opportunity to earn grades of which you can be proud, even if you were dissatisfied with the ones you made in high school.

Going to a community college before applying to another university not only raises your grade point average, but if you are willing to put in the effort, it also gives you the potential to have a score on the SAT or ACT that could impress the admissions authorities at an Ivy League school.

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This is especially true if you work hard while attending community college.

Ivy League Schools That Accept Transfer of Students:

1. Yale University:

No simple grades, test scores, or interests can guarantee that a transfer applicant will be accepted to Yale.

So, because of Yale’s exceptionally high undergraduate retention rate, very few students leave the university or drop out, which results in fewer open seats for transfer students.

In the case of transfer students, they can start in their second or third year and must be enrolled at Yale for at least two years (four terms) to get a bachelor’s degree.

The requirements include an application fee of $80 or a fee waiver, a common app or coalition app, an official copy of a high school transcript, an official copy of the college transcript, a college report, and a Mid-term report.

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2. University of Pennsylvania:

The University of Pennsylvania welcomes quite a few community college students, as evidenced by the fact that they accept nearly 200 transfer students annually.

This is partly because the University of Pennsylvania has a larger undergraduate student population than the other Ivies, and as a result, more spaces open to transfer students.

As of the most recent application cycle, the University of Pennsylvania accepted only 165 of the approximately 3,500 students who had applied to transfer to the university.

This reduced the acceptance rate for transfer applicants to just under 5%, the same as for regular applicants.

More so, Penn accepts both the Common Application and the Coalition Application from transfer students.

They don’t prefer either format and use both the same way. They want you to look at what each application format offers and use the one that works best for you.

You should only send one application per round of admissions and not mix and match applications from different platforms.

The requirements include an application fee of $75 or a fee waiver, a common app or coalition app, an official copy of a high school transcript, an official copy of college transcript, a college report, and a mid-term report.

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3. Dartmouth: 

A transfer is a type of admission where current college students apply by March 1 and find out if they got in by the middle of May.

Transfer students have a big impact on the community at Dartmouth.

Most transfer applicants have good academic records, so the Admissions Committee also looks at how well you can adjust after transferring and how much you can contribute to the College, both in and out of the classroom.

The requirements include an application fee of $90 or a fee waiver, application through Dartmouth, college transfer application, official high school transcript, official copy of college transcript, college report, and two evaluations from college instructors.

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4. Columbia University:

Out of the total number of applicants, Columbia only accepts a small number of transfer students to Columbia College and Columbia Engineering each year; typically, the acceptance rate is less than 10%. 

If getting to or through community college took you a little longer than two years, Columbia also has a School of General Studies to choose from if you want to continue your education.

The curriculum provided by this program is on par with that offered by Columbia College. However, it is tailored to meet the needs of returning and nontraditional students.

You do not need to have completed a certain number of credits to apply to the School of General Studies.

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The requirements include an application fee of $85 or a fee waiver, coalition app (Common App is for first-year applicants only), Coalition App transfer report, Coalition App curriculum report, official high school transcript, and official copy of college transcript.

NB: College is a journey, and people often end up in places they didn’t expect to be in the beginning.

Columbia College and Columbia Engineering work hard to welcome more than 100 transfer students from two- and four-year colleges and universities each year.

They value the unique and different perspectives these students bring to our community.

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5. Princeton University:

The transfer program at Princeton University was revived in 2018, and the university is encouraging community college students in particular to apply.

In 2021, out of 1,349 applicants, just 16 transfer students, most of whom were from community colleges, were accepted.

Its usual acceptance rate of 4% is already quite difficult. However, the transfer acceptance rate of around 1% is much lower.

The requirements include an application fee of $70 fee or a fee waiver, a coalition app or common app, Princeton’s transfer supplement (submitted via the Coalition App or Common App website), an official copy of high school transcript, and an official copy of college transcript, college report.

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6. Harvard University:

Getting accepted into Harvard is never a walk in the park. They have accepted an average of 12 transfers out of approximately 1,500 applicants in the past few years.

This amounts to about 1%, a tiny fraction of their typical admissions rate of 4%. But some students from community colleges are part of that small but select group of transfer students.

If you want to go to Harvard, you must show that you have maintained a high academic accomplishment while attending your community college.

The admissions authorities anticipate that you will have participated in a “rigorous program of study,”, particularly in the area of study you wish to concentrate on while attending Harvard.

Therefore, ideally, you will have completed all of the advanced level courses in your field offered at your college and received As in all of them.

Transfer applicants to Harvard must also demonstrate “a potential for leadership, creativity, resiliency, intellectual curiosity, and independent thinking,” according to the university’s admissions website.

You should be able to show these qualities in your essays, extracurricular activities, and other projects you worked on while in community college.

The requirements include an application fee of $75 fee or a fee waiver, a coalition app or common app, a coalition app or common app writing supplement, Harvard College Questions, an official copy of high school transcript, and an official copy of college transcript.

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7. Cornell University:

Cornell University is the Ivy League institution that exhibits the strongest commitment to the education of students who have previously attended a community college.

The school welcomes more transfer students than any other Ivy League school. It also includes students who have completed their first two years of education at a community college or another institution.

In 2020, Cornell had an acceptance rate of 18.4% for transfer students. Among the 638 transfer students who ultimately enrolled at Cornell, 147, or 21.5%, had previously attended a community college.

Cornell’s regular acceptance rate has been going down yearly and is now at 8.7%. However, the university’s acceptance rate for transfer students has stayed between 17% and 18% for the past few years.

One of the reasons Cornell can brag about these numbers is that it is the largest university in the Ivy League and has a lower retention rate than the other Ivy League schools, which means that it has more open slots for transfer students each year.

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It is important to remember that Cornell University consists of seven distinct colleges, each with its own admissions criteria.

NB: Even if you’re transferring from another Ivy League school, Cornell welcomes you with open arms. Since the university’s inception in 1865, transfer students have been integral to the community.

A transfer student, Emma Sheffield Eastman (Class of 1875), was the first woman to graduate at Cornell.

Between 500 and 600 transfer students enroll in Cornell each autumn and spring, bringing a wide spectrum of life experiences to the classroom and campus.

The requirements include an application fee of $80 or a fee waiver, a common app, an official copy of the high school transcript, an official copy of the college transcript, an Academic evaluation, a college report, mid-term report.

8. Brown University:

Brown University is consistently ranked as one of the best Ivy League schools for transfer students. This is because it accepts anywhere from 100 to 200 transfer students annually.

However, a student who shows great initiative and freedom is a good fit for Brown’s Open Curriculum.

This could be a factor in why transfer students do so well academically and socially at Brown.

Brown’s most notable alums may have come to the university after spending a year or two at a different college or university.

The requirements include an application fee of $75 or a fee waiver, a common app, an official copy of a high school transcript, a college transcript, a college report, mid-term report.

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Frequently Asked Questions on How To Transfer From Community College to Ivy League:

Does Harvard accept community college transfers?

Getting into Harvard isn’t always easy. The average number of transfers admitted over the last few years has been 12—less than 1% of the school’s normal 4% admission rate. Students from local community colleges have been included in that elite group of transferees.

Do Ivy Leagues accept transfer students?

All transfer students are normally admitted to the Ivy League schools at the sophomore level. A typical transfer credit award at a top college is in the range of 45 to 60 semester hours. Prospective transfer students should be aware that most Ivy League institutions do not allow students with bachelor’s degrees to do so.

How hard is it to transfer to an Ivy?

To begin, the number of first-year applicants far exceeds the number of students transferring in. It’s more difficult for transfer students to get into the Ivies than for first-year students to get into the schools.

Conclusion

Every Ivy League university is looking for ambitious students now enrolled at community colleges to transfer to one of their campuses in the autumn.

In that case, it is perfectly possible to transfer from a community college to an Ivy League university after completing your first two years of higher education at a community college.

Your background won’t be seen as a detriment by admissions staff; rather, it will be seen as an asset. 

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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