Placing yourself in a choice college can be a numbers game, and if your GPA or tuition veers off, your most frugal and strategic bet might be to transfer.

“A lot of people are going to community and junior colleges for their first two years,” “Bound For College Guidebook” author Frank Burtnett says.

Plan ahead, and the transfer track can be split by half the cost of matriculating through the alma mater of your aspirations. Meanwhile, time may transform you into a more competitive candidate. And while you’re there, your choice school might just become as intrigued by you as you are by them.


“There is more interest among schools these days to get more transfer kids,” remarks “The College Solution” author Lynn O’Shaughnessy.

A few scattered transfer grants aside, however, that interest hasn’t yet manifested into any appreciable increase in financial aid.

“Often, the money you get as an incoming junior isn’t as good as an incoming freshman,” O’Shaughnessy says. “The big questions you should be asking are what kind of aid you’re going to get and what credits will transfer.”

Don’t let those questions linger unanswered. “If you have schools in mind, you need to call those schools and make sure you take the right subjects,” O’Shaughnessy says.

And look for matriculation agreements between your junior college and its big-name sibling. “That could mean automatic acceptance,” Burtnett says.

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