• Michael Poting Cho

College transfer is the best way to enter a top university for immigrant students in the US and How


Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz on Unsplash

Many immigrant students came to the age of middle school or, worse, of high school. Their parents spent large amounts of money and effort to reside in the best school district they can find. Those parents hope that the school will send them to the best college and have a bright future. However, many colleges and universities request minimum academic requirements. For example, an immigrant student who does not have 4 years of regular English in high school does not qualify for University of California Freshman admissions. This is very common among immigrant students who came at the ages of middle and high school and were put in the English-as-Second language program. Due to the language inadequacy, they are barred from many other courses that qualify them for many admission minimum requirements. Lucky for many immigrant families and students, the path of going to community college first and transferring to a good college is offered by many across the United States. Some facts regarding transfer admission:

  • 37% of students transferred at least once. 40% of the transfer students originated from a two-year community college. Transfer students are common in the US.

  • Transfer students have more versatile experiences and bring diversity to a college campus, graduate at a higher rate than freshman admits, and adjusts better to an independent lifestyle

  • Get a prestigious college name and save more than $5,000 a year compared to attending a four-year public school. Save more if a student successfully transfers to a four-year top private school like USC or NYU.

  • Transfer students have less time to explore a school campus and its resource, and more difficult to make connections with their peers since they join in the junior year, which most students who started as a freshman already formed cohorts.

I personally transferred from Pasadena City College to UC Berkeley and have been providing college transfer counseling for more than 4 years. If you can prepare yourself for the transfer and try to leverage your campus resources to the maximum extent possible after transferring, you won’t miss too much. The upside outweighs the downside. Are your children considering college transfer?

  • Speak to a local community college counselor and ask for the general requirement for college transfer no later than the second semester of senior year in high school.

  • Enroll in the first class in the community college during high school. I suggest English or Maths first.

  • Use Transfer Made Easy Welcome Package and Progress Dashboard to track your progress of courses that meet the transfer requirements.

  • Apply for college admission in 2 years.


Michael Cho I am a college counselor and write education and personal development.


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