As a prospective transfer student, I had a lot of questions about the academic side of transitioning to a new college. In this post, I answer the questions I had on my mind at the time. I hope it will be helpful for future transfer students, as well!
I absolutely felt supported coming into Tufts, though I definitely had to be on top of reaching out to those who were there to help me. All incoming students at Tufts are paired with a pre-major advisor, and the person I was paired with specifically worked with incoming transfer students. I met with them several times on Zoom over the summer as I prepared to choose classes. They helped me choose my classes for the semester and assisted me in the credit transfer process. Transfer students do have to take agency with staying on top of completing the items on their New Student Checklist, but the support is there if you need it!
All incoming first-year and transfer students are also paired with an Advising Dean, based on your last name. My Advising Dean has been incredibly helpful with helping me choose classes and finding a workload that I was able to balance as a transfer student. I met a few times on Zoom with my Advising Dean in the first couple weeks of each semester and they also worked closely with my pre-major advisor to provide support for me as a new student at Tufts. The process of coming to Tufts felt much easier with this personalized level of support.
The credit evaluation process was very straightforward and easy; I think the whole process took me one or two hours to apply to transfer credits from 16 classes. I submitted the syllabi for each class I’d taken at my previous university and almost all of them were approved as transfer credits. I also submitted my AP classes and those counted toward my Tufts class requirements. I received an answer on most of the credits I requested to transfer within a couple weeks of submitting them, so I had time to see what counted before I applied for classes.
There is a limit of transferring credits, which is up to 60 credits for Arts and Sciences transfer students, and potentially more for engineering students. More information can be found here. I haven’t reached the credit transfer limit yet, and I transferred quite a few. Your pre-major advisor will also help you with the transfer credit process. I had to follow up with a couple professors who hadn’t approved my credit transfer, and my pre-major advisor helped me follow-up with them via email.
I transferred from a university of over 50,000 students, so the process of choosing classes at Tufts was much easier in comparison. I got into more than half of the classes I wanted for my first semester at Tufts. A couple of the classes were full and I emailed the professors individually to explain my situation. I told them that I was a transfer student and explained why I was interested in their class, and I was let into one of the classes I’d been on the waitlist for. I’d recommend any incoming students to reach out to professors for classes they’re on the waitlist for; it’s worth trying!
And remember, if you can’t get into a class in your first semester at Tufts, you’ll have many semesters in the future, and you will choose earlier as you move up each semester (seniors choose first, then juniors, etc.), so you’ll have a chance to take all the classes you want within your time at Tufts.
More information about transfer students selecting classes can be found here.
Many of the required classes at Tufts overlapped with the prerequisites at my previous university, so I entered Tufts on track with other sophomore students in terms of required classes. I went over the rest of the distribution classes which I would need to take with my pre-major advisor and created a plan for the rest of my time at Tufts. There is a lot of flexibility and choice in classes that will fulfill both distribution and major requirement classes (and there can be overlap, as well).
In terms of my required classes for my major, I met with my major advisor (more information on choosing an advisor on the question below) and we created a plan for fulfilling my required courses. I feel confident in knowing which classes I will be taking in the next couple years at Tufts, and I still have a lot of flexibility in my schedule.
Because I transferred many credits from my previous university, I entered Tufts as a second-semester sophomore. At Tufts, the major declaration process deadline is your second semester as a sophomore, so I was a little nervous because I had to choose an advisor for my major fairly quickly into being at Tufts. However, the process was much easier than I’d anticipated.
I knew I wanted to be an English major coming into Tufts (and if you don’t know your major but need to declare, remember you can always switch if you change your mind!). I checked the English department’s website and selected some professors who were teaching classes that I’m interested in. Then I emailed four of them requesting a meeting and they were all more than happy to meet with me. Though some of them didn’t have room for more students to advise, they directed me to professors in the English department who had space to advise more students. I found a professor who had time to help advise me and we talked through my goals while I was at Tufts and what classes I was interested in taking in the future.
I really like that you choose your advisor yourself at Tufts because you can find a professor who you feel comfortable with and form a personal connection.
It’s also possible to change advisors at any point! I know friends who have major advisors in different disciplines than the ones they study, because they really connected with a certain professor. I also know people who have switched advisors when they switched majors or have two advisors because they’re double majoring. It’s a flexible process, and while most people I know have stuck with their original advisor, it’s really easy to switch.
More information about finding advisors can be found here.