After mailing day we are frequently asked about upcoming vacations and whether or not office activity will slow down. The truth is that the admissions cycle runs continually throughout the year and that those brief moments of relaxation and cleaning serve as the transition into our next step: transfer admissions.
Vanderbilt continues to serve students who may not have started here, but will make valuable contributions to our community until the day they graduate. Our office processes and reads transfer applications with the goal of admitting a competitive, talented and diverse class of new Commodores who are not exactly new college student.
First things first: a transfer students is defined as any student who graduated high school and has earned any college credit after his/her graduation.
Typically, transfer students come from two different camps:
1. Current college freshmen or sophomores who previously applied for admission to Vanderbilt. Some of these students were not admitted while many others were and simply decided to enroll elsewhere.
2. Students who have previous college credit but have taken a break in their enrollment and now want to return to academia.
For both groups we are concerned with high school performance. However, it is the college performance that really guides our decision. Our logic is that a student who has performed admirably in an accredited post-secondary institution is capable of acclimating him or herself to the environment at Vanderbilt.
Our evaluation of transfer applications is fairly straightforward. We see where and most importantly when a transfer student last enrolled in college. Then we evaluate the strength of the curriculum during college and the grades achieved. If there are gaps in enrollment, we want to know what a student has been up to during those times. Finally, we ensure that transfer students are in “good standing” at previous institutions and has not been expelled for academic or social misconduct.
I know that loyal blog readers will want numbers. We do not release specific admissions statistics on transfer applicants because there is so much variation in the type of student who applies. Ultimately, it’s about Vanderbilt being accessible for everyone who is able to succeed and if we’re convinced that a student will do well here, then we are delighted to give them a chance.
All admitted transfer students are eligible for the same financial aid commitments as everyone else. However, we do not offer merit scholarships for entering transfer students, however, once on campus, transfer students may apply for major-specific scholarships available to upperclassmen. It is also worth noting that due to space restrictions, only new, first-time freshmen live in The Commons.
Unlike our all-at-once process for first-time students, we release transfer admissions decisions on a “rolling basis.” Therefore, once an application is complete it hits our shelves just like any other student. Admissions counselors read them within a day or two, and then letters are mailed shortly thereafter. Afterward, students are given a specific amount of time to mail a deposit and confirm enrollment.
If you haven’t heard from us, please feel free to confirm that your application is complete. Unlike high school guidance offices, college registrars may take some time to send statements of good standing and transcripts. Also, if you have a hold on your college account (like the eleven cents you owe for that overdue copy of “Ender’s Game”) then your transcript may not have been mailed. It is possible that you’re college won’t let you know that it hasn’t been sent. Finally, professors are busy people and those letters may take a bit longer to get out the door.
Be sure to let us know if you have exceptions or challenges. Occasionally we have transfer applications where the student has been out of high school for ten or more years. As a result, it may be difficult to pin down your Spanish teacher from 1995 who has since joined a traveling bagpipe ensemble.