Application guide for transfer students

Get tips and best practices for putting together your best application.


Application guide for transfer students

Get tips and best practices for putting together your best application.

Filling out your application takes time.

And if you have to keep interrupting your progress to find information, like a certificate for a continuing education course or the address of your last internship, it can take even longer. Get a head start by collecting this information before you begin.

Below are some materials you’ll need to gather in order to fill out Common App for transfer.

Your college transcript(s) and other educational coursework
  • Some programs you apply to might ask you to provide this information. You can see what each program on your list requires in the College Coursework area of the Academic History section.
  • You also have the option to add any continuing education courses you have taken.
Test scores and dates from any standardized tests

Some programs will ask you to report these test scores. You can check the testing policy of the programs on your list in the Program Materials section.

Employment info, extracurricular activities, and achievements

On Common App for transfer, you have the option to share your experiences, things like research, internships, volunteer work, and more. This is the place to show colleges what makes you unique.

Creating an account is simple.

  • Provide your name and contact information.
  • Make sure you use an email address you check often, as this is how Common App and colleges will get in touch with you.
  • Choose a username and password.
  • Review the Terms and Conditions.

Then click "Create my account" to finish the process.

Before you’re taken into the application, you’ll be asked to complete your Extended Profile. This includes information designed to tailor the application experience to you.

  • Your age
  • College credits you will have earned when you enroll at the college you’re applying to
  • The degree status you will have earned
  • Your degree goal for the program you’re applying to

After answering these questions, you’ll be taken into the application. Congratulations! You’re ready to get started.

Counselor tip

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Use an email address that you check regularly.

Colleges may need to get in touch with you regarding your application.

Now that you’ve created your account and explored schools that accept Common App, it’s time to start adding some programs to your application.

The Add Program tab is where you’ll find and add these programs. If you already have a college or program in mind, you can search by college name at the top of the page. You can also use the filters to search for programs based on different criteria.


  • Program availability
  • State
  • College
  • Start term
  • Deadline
  • Application fee
  • Country

You can select as many or as few criteria as make sense to you. As you select each filter, the program list will update automatically.

To see more information about a particular program, click on that program’s name. An overlay will open with information like the program’s contact information, website links, testing policies, and more.

Adding programs is simple. All you need to do is click the plus icon next to the program’s name.

To see which programs you have already added, click "Selected Programs” at the top of the page. Here you can also remove programs from your list, if you choose.


In addition to your application, many colleges ask for additional documents to be submitted by recommenders on your behalf.

There are four types of recommenders you can invite: Personal, Professional, Academic, and High School Official.

Each program has different recommendation requirements. In order to see a program’s recommendation requirements, go to the program’s section in the Program Materials and proceed to the Recommendation tab of that program. (If a program does not require recommendations, you won’t see the Recommendations tab.)

On the Recommendations tab you’ll find helpful information including:

  • An "Add Recommendation" button to begin inviting recommenders

  • The types of recommenders the program requires

  • The number of each recommendation type they require and how many they allow — for example, a program might require 2 academic recommendations, but will allow up to 4

To invite recommenders:

  1. Select the type of recommendation you'll be requesting

  2. Enter the recommenders name, email address, and a desired due date for the recommendation

  3. Provide a personal message or notes for your recommender (This can be anything you want; you could use it to thank your recommender in advance, provide context for the request, share instructions, etc.)

  4. Choose whether to waive your right to access this recommendation in the future and check the affirmation statements

When you’re ready, click “Save this Recommendation Request” to complete the process. Your recommender will receive an email invitation with instructions on how to proceed.


Some programs may ask for official or unofficial transcripts. Others may not ask for any at all.

You can see programs’ transcript requirements in the Academic History section under Colleges Attended or College Coursework.

  1. If you’re applying to a program that requires official transcripts, you’ll need to download the Transcript Request Form. You can access this form in the Colleges Attended section. You’ll notice that your information will already be entered on the form. All you need to do is print and deliver it to the registrar of the college(s) you have attended.

  2. The college you attend may send transcripts differently than outlined in the Transcript Request Form. Common App for transfer also accepts electronic transcripts from Parchment and National Student Clearinghouse. 

  3. If your school uses a different service, transcripts should be mailed, instead of sent electronically. Be sure to include your full Common App ID # when entering the Common App mailing address.

  4. If a program asks for unofficial transcripts, you can upload your transcript in the Colleges Attended section.

  5. Some programs may not request unofficial transcripts within the Academic History section. Instead, they may allow you to upload an unofficial transcript in their Program Materials section. Be sure to check to see if there is a College Transcript upload option in each programs’ Documents tab.


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