The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
As hard as students try to find the ideal college, a significant portion end up somewhere that isn't the best fit. The school might be too expensive, too far away from home or socially challenging.
For those students, transferring to a new school can provide a fresh start.
Across the country, 13 percent of students who started at four-year public universities ended up finishing their degrees at a different school, according to a 2014 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. And that's not even taking into account students who move from two-year to four-schools, which would make the figure much higher.
[ Apply for scholarships as a transfer student.]
Schools had an average of 481 newly enrolled transfer students during the fall of 2012, according to data collected from more than 1,193 schools by U.S. News in the spring of 2013. More than 573,000 students enrolled as transfers during that period.
Of the 10 universities that had the most transfer students, most were located in California, Florida and Texas.
[Explore the controversy over graduation rates of transfer students.]
University of Texas--Arlington had the most transfer students, reporting 8,649 students who started college elsewhere. The school also had the highest acceptance rate of transfer students for the 10 schools on the list: 93.8 percent. California State University--Long Beach had the lowest transfer acceptance rate on the list, at 36.7 percent.
Below is a list of the 10 schools with the most degree-seeking transfer students. Schools labeled RNP, or Rank Not Published, fell in the bottom one-fourth of their ranking category. U.S. News calculates a numerical rank for RNP schools, but does not publish them. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School name (state)||New transfer students enrolled in fall 2012||New transfer acceptance rate||U.S. News rank and category|
|University of Texas--Arlington ||8,649||93.8%||RNP, National Universities|
|Arizona State University||7,228||89.7%||142, National Universities|
|University of Central Florida||6,110||58%||170, National Universities|
|California State University--Fullerton ||4,343||55.4%||35, Regional Universities (West)|
|University of Houston (TX) ||4,299||87.3%||190, National Universities|
|Florida International University ||4,248||73.8%||RNP, National Universities|
|California State University--Northridge ||3,978||52.9%||60, Regional Universities (West)|
|California State University--Long Beach ||3,940||36.7%||32, Regional Universities (West)|
|University of South Florida ||3,902||62.2%||170, National Universities|
|University of North Texas||3,829||75.6%||RNP, National Universities|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find schools with high student transfer rates, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools . The transfer data above are correct as of June 24, 2014.