International Student Blog

What if an International Student Wants to Transfer Programs

What if an International Student Wants to Transfer Programs


Many international students come study abroad in the United States each year. However, not all international students stay at the university or program that they started at. Many students may realize at some point that they want to transfer schools or programs. There are a number of different reasons for this, but a common reason is change of interest. For example, let’s say you started out studying engineering, but realize after doing some course work that it’s not for you. As a result, you may want to transfer to a different program. Or, we can say you started out studying engineering at one school but find out that there is another school that has better resources. That can be another reason to transfer.

What are the Steps to Transfer 

When it comes to transferring schools, international students may need a little help due to their F1 visas. Keep in mind that if you are transferring programs within the same university, the process may be a bit easier. Please talk with appropriate officials at your university for more information.

As an international student, you may be familiar with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. If you wish to transfer schools, the school you want to transfer to must be certified by the SEVP. A list of certified schools can be found on their website. Once you have found the new school of your choice and been accepted into it, you will need to contact the designated school official at the new school. They will assist you more with the transfer process.

Next, you will have to meet with the designated school official at your current school on transferring to the new school. You will figure out what credits will transfer, the date you will transfer, etc. For international students, the most important aspect is having the SEVP record transferred and keeping it up to date. An international student can officially transfer once the new school takes over your SEVIS record.

Finally, once you transfer, the new designated school official will work with you so that they can create a new Form I-20 for you. This is also very crucial to the international student transfer process and making sure that you maintain legal F1 visa status.

Please remember that this is a general overview of the transfer process, and not an exhaustive list of steps by any means. You also have to go through the international student admissions process for the new school you wish to study at as well. If you are already studying abroad in the US and wish to transfer, please contact your designated school official for more information and to see the steps that the international student process entails.

Why Would I Want to Transfer

It is important to remember that transferring is a personal decision. Some transfer because they realize that their school or program is not right for them. Other international students transfer because they could not initially get admission into the school or program that they wanted to. Instead, they went to one where they could get in, studied for a while, and now want to try transferring into the program of their dreams. Both of those categories are common examples of why international students would transfer. Please keep in mind that no two universities are the same. As a result, it varies school-by-school which credits of yours will transfer, along with what completed courses will transfer. Contact your designated school official in order to see what courses and credits may likely be transferred.

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John Romanucci

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