How To Write a Resume as a Transfer Student

Writing a resume as a transfer student isn’t always easy. In this no-nonsense guide, we answer your questions about what to include — and what to leave out.

a year ago   •   4 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
Table of contents

Writing a resume is hard enough without throwing a spanner in the works — like, for example, if you transferred colleges mid-degree.

The good news is, while writing a transfer student resume can be a little trickier, it also has some definite advantages. Transferring schools shows that you’re motivated and not afraid of hard work, especially if you transferred to a better school or more demanding program. Here’s how to make the most of that on your resume.

How to write a transfer student resume

  1. Format your education section as normal — include the name of the schools you attended, your degree and major, and any relevant minors.
  2. As a transfer student, you’ll have two schools to list. Put the school you graduated from at the top and your previous school underneath (see our example below).
  3. (Optional) Include additional details, like your GPA, student activities, internships, awards, study abroad, and relevant coursework.
  4. Once you’re done, run your resume through a free ATS resume scanner to make sure you’ve hit all the major talking points recruiters are looking for.
  5. Bonus: In your cover letter, address the fact that you transferred schools and emphasize any skills you demonstrated while transferring.
  6. Give your reason for transferring colleges only if you have a good one. Wanting to focus on a specific concentration only offered at your transfer school is a good reason; wanting to graduate form a higher-ranked school is not.

Transfer student resume example

Here’s an example of what a transfer student resume should look like:

Stanford University, Stanford, CA — May 2024 (expected)
Bachelor of Engineering in Biotechnology

Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA — 2019-2020
GPA: 3.8/4.0

If you’re a current transfer student or recent graduate and you want to include a more detailed education section, consider using the following:

Yale University School of Law, New Haven, CT
Juris Doctor, expected May 2024

University of New Haven School of Law, West Haven, CT
Completed First Year of Legal Studies, 2020-2021
GPA: 3.8/4.0 (1L Rank: 3/223)
Honors: Cuban American Bar Merit Scholarship; invitation to Florida Law Review
Activities: John Marshall Bar Association, 1L Section Representative

Here’s a full resume sample the works for an internship, job application, or transfer student application:

Example of a transfer student resume
Example of a transfer student resume

For more college transfer student resume examples, check out our entry-level ATS resume templates, available to download via Google Docs or PDF.

What to know when writing a transfer student resume

Do I need to list both schools on my resume?

This is optional but recommended. You should list both schools if:

  • You previously attended a school with good name recognition
  • You want to include activities, honors, or accomplishments from your previous school
  • You graduated from a community college with an associate degree and want to list it separately

On the other hand, it’s a good idea to only list your graduating school if:

  • You transferred to a much more prestigious school
  • You don’t want to list both schools
  • You’re a more experience hire and want to keep your education section as short as possible

Do I need to list my combined GPA or just the one from the graduating school?

This depends on how you’re listing your education. If you’ve only included the school you graduated from, it’s fine to just list your GPA from that school. If you’re listing both schools — especially if your GPA was higher at the school you transferred from — you can list your combined GPA.

Do be aware that some schools have different GPA standards — when transferring between schools, the safest thing you can do is to list your GPA and what it was out of, for example, 3.8/4.0. In any case, listing your GPA is completely optional and you should only include it if it’s above 3.5.

If you’re wondering what else, like your GPA, honors and minors should be included or left off your transfer student resume, upload it to the tool below — it’ll scan it and let you know which of these belong on your resume and which ones to remove.

What not to include in a transfer student resume

Don’t go into details about specific courses at each school or what credits were transferred. Hiring managers don’t care about every detail of your education — just the broad upshot. The only thing you need to list is which years you attended each school.

Where do I put my education section?

If you’re a current transfer student or recent graduate, or if you went back to school as part of a career change: At the top of your resume.

In all other cases: Below your work experience.

Should I list transfer student details as a mid-level or senior hire?

If it was a substantial part of your education, sure! There’s no harm in keeping both schools on your resume, as long as you keep your overall education section short. Once you have a few years of work experience under your belt, omit the finer details like coursework, student activities, and GPA.

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