Dean's Advice

Preparing to apply as a transfer student? Here's some practical advice.

Students decide to apply to transfer to Wellesley and other colleges for many reasons, but all at some point ask themselves how to use their time at their first school in a way that best prepares them to present a strong application. Here are some suggestions for making good academic choices in advance of applying to Wellesley:

1. Explore the liberal arts. 

Wellesley’s curriculum covers the range of human knowledge and we expect our students to want to experience that. Strong transfer candidates come to us having been successful in courses in humanities, social sciences, math, and natural sciences. This lets us know that they will enjoy completing our distribution requirements, and understand those as a key element of their undergraduate education. 

2. Take a foreign language for at least a year. 

Wellesley has a foreign language requirement because we are educating our students for global competencies, and knowing languages beyond English is a key piece of that. 

3. Take some math and science. 

Like languages, these disciplines teach essential habits of mind and skills that are important in many fields.  While Wellesley may not always be able to grant transfer credit for work in these fields at other schools (for example if lab work is not included in your science course, or if your math is pre-calculus), showing your abilities to work is these areas is important for demonstrating your readiness to succeed across the curriculum. The strongest candidates will have already completed at least pre-calculus prior to enrolling.

4. Explore possible majors. 

Transfer students need to be ready to declare a major within a semester or two of arriving at Wellesley.  Having spent some time exploring possible main areas of interest at your first school is a good strategy, leaving you well-positioned for taking advantage of your time at Wellesley. 

5. Take courses that will help you become a better reader and writer. 

You may have been required to take a composition course, which is a great start, but try to find ways to deepen your reading and communication skills in a particular discipline. 

6. If possible, do independent work or work closely with a professor on a special project. 

This isn’t always possible for young undergraduates at large universities or community colleges, but try to seek out these opportunities. They will let you explore your discipline in new ways, outside the textbook, and leave you excited about doing this kind of work at Wellesley (and ready for that challenge!). 

7. Think about what hasn't worked for you. 

We learn as much from failure and disappointment as from success, and finding ways to reflect on what hasn’t gone well is a very important way to demonstrate resilience and readiness to persevere. If you are thinking about transferring, something is telling you that things can be different, and better, elsewhere.  Having a clear sense of that for yourself is part of your personal growth, but it’s also a piece of your intellectual journey. Do your best to connect these elements, as you think about the story you want to tell us about yourself in your application. 

As you make your plans, it may also help to review our Transfer Credit Guidelines, which describe in more detail the standards we have for accepting work from other schools for credit at Wellesley. 

See Transfer FAQ

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