The University will make its transfer application available early in the fall of this year, according to its undergraduate admissions website. Transfer students will be admitted to the University for the first time in 28 years starting in fall 2018.
The transfer program looks to enroll a “small group of exceptionally well-prepared transfer students from a range of backgrounds.” Applications from U.S. military veterans and students from low-income backgrounds and community colleges are particularly encouraged to apply.
The University decided not to admit transfer students in 1990 as a result of a high general admission retention rate of 98 percent and an increasingly large volume of applications that strained admissions officers to evaluate several applicants for 20 or fewer spots, according to an editorial published by the ‘Prince’ calling for the admission of transfer students in 2013.
The decision to now admit transfer students is an attempt at attracting “students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, such as military veterans and students from low-income backgrounds, including some who began their studies at community colleges,” according to the University’s strategic planning framework. The framework, adopted early last year, called for the start of planning a transfer admissions program with the goal of “meeting Princeton’s responsibilities for leadership in research and education.”
The transfer admission program expects applicants to be prepared to “thrive in our diverse and rigorous learning environment,” according to the admissions website. It will include an individualized holistic review of applicants’ talents, achievements, and potential to contribute to learning at the University.
The student’s academic standing at the time of entry will be determined by University faculty and college deans after an evaluation of transfer credit. Most transfer students will be expected to begin their sophomore year at the University. However, in some cases, they may be required to enter as first-years or permitted to enter as juniors.
Transfer students will be able to enroll only in the fall term, according to the University’s admissions website. This is similar to the policy for first-year students at the University.
The University was the only one of the eight Ivy League universities to not admit transfer students. Harvard typically enrolls 12 transfer students each from its average pool of more than 1,600 applications. Yale receives more than 1,000 transfer applications for between 20 and 30 spaces, yielding a transfer acceptance rate of two to three percent. Dartmouth typically admits between 15 and 25 transfer students from a pool of over 700. Brown admits between 100 and 200 from a pool of almost 1900. Penn and Columbia each admit less than 10 percent of their transfer applicants. Cornell admits about 550 transfers each fall and 100 in the spring.
The University’s strategic planning process began in January 2014. The resulting framework will be reviewed annually by trustees and administrators to evaluate progress towards its goals, including the transfer admission program. Other announcements in the framework included planning for 125 more undergraduates per class, construction of a seventh residential college, growth of the University’s international programs, and building an interdisciplinary program and new facilities in environmental studies.