Should I transfer from my T20 semi-target to a stronger target?

I'm a freshman at top 20 non-ivy semi-target (think Vandy/WashU/ND) who has come to realize that breaking into EB/BB in NYC is a long shot from this school (w/o special connections or extreme networking) despite its academic reputation. I'm also not very keen on the school's location or student body, but I won't go into details on those points. I currently have a 4.0 GPA and think I would be a competitive sophomore applicant for Georgetown or junior applicant for Columbia, Penn CAS, Duke, Brown or UChicago (not HYPSM of course). Why sophomore for Georgetown but junior for the others? Because my HS grades were fine but not great (mix of A's and B's, all advanced courses in a prep school), so I would want to try as a junior for the more competitive schools to shift the emphasis to my college grades and EC's (side note: SAT scores were 1540, which won't help or hurt significantly). However, Georgetown is particular is (a) considered an academic peer of my school and (b) has a somewhat higher transfer acceptance rate (~15%, whereas the others are ~5-10%) so I think I could be competitive as a sophomore applicant. So my three options are (a) stay at my current school, crank out a 3.8+ GPA as an econ major and network my ass off (b) try for Georgetown as a sophomore applicant, giving me access to Junior SA recruitment if I get in (c) try for the others as a junior applicant, only giving me access to FT recruitment junior year and making for a more difficult social transition but giving me a slightly more prestigious brandname. What would the pros and cons of each choice be, from the perspective of someone who's been through this whole process? Also how do my chances sound for the schools I listed as a sophomore or junior transfer applicant?

TLDR; Would it be worth it for a strong student at a semi-target to transfer to a stronger target either as a sophomore or a junior to improve his/her prospects for landing at a EB/BB in NYC?

Comments (15)

Most Helpful
Jan 29, 2019

I would stay where you are. A junior transfer is not really worth it, you won't have a GPA from the target for SA recruiting and FT recruiting is a bloodbath. You also wouldn't be in a business school at any of those I believe, so OCR is lower (such as Penn CAS/Brown, recruiting won't be big enough to be worth it) and you wouldn't get any finance classes. Georgetown is a good school, but you will be one of many talented, hungry finance majors trying for NYC. Personal preference there, but I would stay at your school and focus my efforts on standing out instead.

Network like your life depends on it. All 3 of those schools are indirect feeders to regional hubs (think Atlanta/Houston/Chicago) so consider those along with New York, even if only as a back up. 3.8+ in econ, school involvement, and being personable/well spoken should make you a strong candidate.

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Jan 30, 2019

Thanks for the response, your points are well taken. I suppose the effort it would take to transfer to a target could be equally well-spent becoming one of the top candidates at my current school. I can shoot for the stars with some help from connections in NYC but fall back on the OCR we get for MM IB in secondary cities if the connections can't pull through.

Jan 30, 2019

Freshman from a non-target about to start a second IB internship. Considering you go to a semi-target, I'd think there are many alumni for you to reach out to. Although it makes it easier to have alumni, it isn't seriously hard getting on the phone with random bankers at BB and EB (if done right). My advice would be to stay at your current school unless you really think it isn't for you. Anything is possible man, you just got to put in the mindset and work. Best of luck to you!

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Jan 30, 2019

Thanks. There are a fair number of alumni on the street, especially from more recent years. I will reach out to as many of them as I can once I have a bit more of a resume to push, and hopefully due to the smaller number of students reaching out to them (there isn't a lot of interest in IB here) they will be receptive and willing to help.

Jan 30, 2019

I think you're underestimating the opportunity you have where you are and overestimating your opportunities at the schools you're considering transferring to. WashU, Vandy and ND all have solid placement in IB, and the fact that they aren't as heavily targeted as the other schools you mention can benefit you in that there are fewer students that will be gunning for those jobs aggressively to compete with. **There might be a higher percentage of Duke and Georgetown kids that get into IB, but I'm not sure that those schools have a significantly higher percentage of kids that make it out of all of the kids that want to. ** From your school, your summer internship opportunities will make much more of a difference in your candidacy for IB than the marginal benefit of attending a slightly more targeted school.

Your best shot of getting into IB is to stay where you are, continue performing well, and devote significant time and energy into networking, relevant ECs, and getting solid summer work experiences.

If you're dead set on transferring to one of the schools you mentioned, definitely take the gamble and apply to all of them as a soph. I think you a have a solid shot now, and I think you'd be shooting yourself in the foot if you transfer junior year. You'll find it tough to stand out from a crowd that's been there for a few years and have already benefited from the internship opportunities, alumni relations, etc. Getting in front of the recruiters during OCR is only a tiny part of the battle, believe me.

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Jan 30, 2019

There might be a higher percentage of Duke and Georgetown kids that get into IB, but I'm not sure that those schools have a significantly higher percentage of kids that make it out of all of the kids that want to

Good point, I hadn't quite thought about it that way.

Your best shot of getting into IB is to stay where you are, continue performing well, and devote significant time and energy into networking, relevant ECs, and getting solid summer work experiences.

This is most likely what I'll end up doing. Thanks for the advice.

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  • topboy
  •  Jan 30, 2019

^^^ This, OP. I transferred to a target school as a Junior, and had to take a semester off to delay my graduation effectively making me a sophomore for recruiting purposes. You should only transfer if you'll get there early enough to reap the benefits of the alumni network and early processes for 2nd year students.

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Feb 14, 2019

I decided to pull the trigger and am applying to all of these schools as a sophomore transfer. Wish me luck, I'm really hoping for Columbia or Brown but will take any of them over my current school.

Feb 15, 2019

As far as I understand, you should be fine with your GPA at the current school you are attending. It would really only be worth transferring if you hate the school.

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Feb 15, 2019

To be honest I'm pretty much just prestige hunting. I'd rather graduate from Columbia, Penn, Brown etc. and have that be on my resume for life than my current school. Also, location is a big driver because I wound up staying in my hometown just for the academics at this school which was a poor choice (this is what I'll spend most of my transfer essay talking about, not the prestige factor lol). And as far as IB goes, it would still be easier to break in from one of these schools than my current one, although that's not a primary consideration as I know I can make up for that with networking to a good extent.

Feb 15, 2019

If I were you, I would throw in some applications for sophomore transfer to the targets. At least that way, you have the option rather than regretting it.

Not worth it for junior transfer. A lot harder to be part of the community, make friends, transfer classes, and then you're late on the recruiting timeline and without a GPA at your new school. Plus, you already have a good shot at IB at your school.

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Feb 15, 2019

Yeah that's what I've decided to do. I talked to a few college counselors and they told me that I have a decent chance at being admitted to a (rough) peer school like Brown, Georgetown or Northwestern as a sophomore transfer. I'm not counting on it, but it's worth a shot.

Feb 15, 2019
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