Louis Apraku-Boadi, a senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is set to earn his degree in chemical engineering. But he didn’t begin his quest for higher education at the famed engineering school. Rather, he spent three years at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton before transferring to complete his degree program. He isn’t alone.
Today’s college students are finding new paths to earning a college education. Sixty-four percent of students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree do so by calling more than one institution of higher learning their alma mater, according to statistics from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Roughly 40 percent of freshmen begin their college careers at community colleges and transfer to four-year institutions. And college admissions offices now view transfer students as a significant part of their student bodies. In the past, many admissions offices took the position that transfer students were less desirable than incoming freshmen, but that opinion has changed with evolving academic realities. Reasons for student transfers are varied and include financial considerations, majors offered or a desire to study at a particular school, among others.
The many colleges and universities dotting the metro Atlanta landscape are destinations of choice for transfer students. Within a relatively small geographic area, you can find the perfect university to meet your higher education needs, including public state universities like Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State and Georgia State and private institutions like Emory University and Life University. And although admission requirements vary from school to school, one thing remains constant: a desire to accommodate the growing numbers of transfer students by making the transition into a new university home truly seamless.
The many colleges and universities dotting the metro Atlanta landscape are destinations of choice for transfer students. Within a relatively small geographic area, you can find the perfect university to meet your higher education needs.
For Georgia State University, a 2016 consolidation with Georgia Perimeter College has simplified the process and created an entirely new segment of its student body—the transition student. Students who are accepted at Georgia Perimeter transition easily into Georgia State to continue working toward their bachelor’s degrees. Carol Cohen, director of the University Advisement Center, adds that Georgia State is one of the largest intake institutions for transfer students. She says that the universal issue of concern for transfer students is whether or not their already-earned credits will be accepted. “The University System of Georgia has done a very good job to make sure classes translate between institutions,” she says. “Georgia has been leading the way on that issue.” In fact, the University System of Georgia has a comprehensive articulation policy that includes the Technical College System of Georgia and facilitates the automatic transfer of 27 classes system-wide. “The easier we can make it for the student coming in, the easier it is for everyone,” Cohen adds.
Kennesaw State University shares that philosophy. “We continue to be one of the top transfer destinations for students in Georgia. Our geographic location makes us a prime spot for those wanting an active campus experience, yet close enough to drive to internships in downtown Atlanta,” says Natasha Talreja, associate director of Transfer Student Admissions. “We also are an affordable choice for many students. Some come to us after having studied out of state with high tuition rates, so financial aid is important for them. Others transfer to Kennesaw State knowing exactly what they want to major in, whether it is nursing, engineering, business or education.”
Georgia Tech, one of the top engineering schools in the country, received 2,804 applications for transfer last year with an admit rate of 58 percent for students transferring from other schools in Georgia. Because of the competitive nature of admission to Georgia Tech, the institution offers a number of different pathways for transfer, including a dual degree engineering program working in tandem with other Georgia institutions, a veteran’s pathway and an arts and sciences pathway. Apraku-Boadi notes that the dual degree program was his path to Georgia Tech, which wouldn’t have been on his radar as an incoming freshman because he didn’t have the grades he needed to be accepted. “If I hadn’t gone to West Georgia, I wouldn’t be here in the first place,” observes Apraku-Boadi, who is president of the Transfer Student Association at Georgia Tech and is instrumental in helping transfers achieve success at their new university home.
Transfer students who pursue Emory University, a private institution, are required to complete two years (four semesters) at Emory, and the university will consider whether credits will transfer once the student has been accepted—and the university does makes every effort to give credit for a student’s past accomplishments. “Because of Emory’s reputation and prestige, you see a very strong applicant pool,” says Jared Richardson, transfer admission coordinator, but that shouldn’t dissuade students from applying. “I encourage more students to take a shot at Emory because we’re happy to take a shot at them.” Last year, about 25 percent of transfer applicants were admitted.
Life University in Marietta likewise prides itself on making a smooth pathway for transfer students. It boasts comprehensive articulation agreements with a number of Georgia institutions, making the transition particularly seamless. “With 14 undergraduate degrees in the health sciences, business, nutrition and psychology fields, as well as four graduate programs in sport health science, clinical nutrition, positive psychology and athletic training and the world’s largest single campus College of Chiropractic, you will have a wide range of degree options to choose from at Life, and the pathway to pursuing them will be stress free,” says Curtis Coleman of Life University Admissions.
If you are seeking to transfer into any of metro Atlanta’s colleges and universities, your first stop should be the university’s website, where you can check out the majors offered and find out about admission requirements. Next, visit the universities in person—because whether it is a second, third or even a fourth stop on your academic journey, it needs to be a good fit to accomplish your ultimate goal: earning a degree.
For more information about these institutions, visit the following sites: