Transfer Advising for International Students

Here are some common questions students ask about transferring to a four-year university

Shoreline offers a wide variety of Transfer Programs that can help you prepare to transfer to universities all over the country to study almost any major. You can find out what classes are recommended to prepare for the most common majors using our University Transfer Planning Guides. If you do not see your desired major listed, you can most likely still prepare for it at Shoreline. Please meet with an Academic Advisor to create an individual plan.

If you have questions about the transfer process, please talk with an Academic Advisor or consult our Transfer Handbook.

The 5 schools that Shoreline students most often transfer to are:

  1. University of Washington
  2. Seattle University
  3. Washington State University
  4. University of California system (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UCLA, etc.)
  5. Indiana University

Shoreline students have also recently transferred to many other prominent universities, including:

  • Arizona State University
  • Bentley University
  • California College of the Arts
  • California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
  • Cornell University
  • Drexel University
  • Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  • Northeastern University
  • Oregon State University
  • Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
  • Pepperdine University
  • Purdue University
  • Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • University of Virgina


College credits earned at Shoreline are widely recognized by universities all over the country, but it is up to each university to determine exactly how and if credits will transfer. Some universities publish equivalency guides that include Shoreline courses (see Resources for links to some of these), but for universities outside of Washington, we cannot guarantee that all the courses you take at Shoreline will transfer. You can always contact a university that you plan to apply to ask about a certain class, but most universities will not officially evaluate your transfer credit until after you have been admitted.

Some courses usually do not transfer. Courses numbered under 100 (like English 099 or Math 098) do not transfer.  ESL and Human Development classes usually do not transfer. Physical education and professional/technical classes may not transfer. Some universities will not accept courses graded P/NC or with a grade below 2.0 for transfer credit.

No, you can transfer as soon as you are accepted by a university, but there are advantages to finishing the degree. In many cases, universities prefer or require transfer students to have close to the 90 credits required to earn the degree. Also, if you apply with just 15 or 30 credits, the university will rely more on your high school record and may require SAT or ACT scores to accept you. At some universities, finishing the associate degree at Shoreline may mean you have completed all general education requirements. Other universities will exempt you from taking the TOEFL or IELTS test if you finish the degree.

 It is your decision how many universities to apply to, although we always recommend applying to more than one. If you are applying to universities that are not highly selective, 2 or 3 may be enough. If you want to apply to very selective universities, you may decide to apply to 8 or 10 or even more. We always recommend that you include on your list at least one “safety” school, where you are very confident you will be accepted. The number of “match” (where you meet the transfer requirements and have a good chance to being accepted) and “reach” (schools that are highly selective or where you are not as competitive) schools you apply to is really up to you.


Participating in multiple clubs, sports, and music is not as important for transfer students as it is for freshman applicants. But universities are still looking for well-rounded transfer applicants who get involved on campus in meaningful ways. If you want your application to stand out, just joining one or two or even a dozen clubs is not enough. Universities are looking for ways that you show leadership or gain experience toward your future career through your involvement in extracurricular activities.

Look for opportunities to become an officer, plan an event, or start a new club. Find ways to apply the skills you will use in your major and future career. If you plan to major in marketing, for example, volunteer to coordinate publicity for an upcoming club event. These types of extracurricular involvement show you have initiative and leadership potential, two characteristics universities are looking for.

 If a university has a priority deadline, applying by that date will give you the highest priority in the admissions process and may make you eligible for more scholarships. In most cases, though, universities with a priority deadline will continue to accept applications after the deadline until the program is full, sometimes for many months after the priority deadline has passed. In Washington State, most universities (but not the University of Washington, Seattle) use priority deadlines.

 Not necessarily. Some universities, including the University of Washington, Seattle, and Seattle University, require a TOEFL or IELTS test for all students whose first language is not English. Many universities, however, accept completion of English composition classes (sometimes with certain minimum grades) or a certain number of college credits at a U.S. institution as proof of English proficiency. To find out what the university you are applying to requires, try searching for that university and “English proficiency.”

 It depends. Most West Coast universities, particularly the public ones, do not require a high school diploma or GED for students who have already completed a substantial number of college credits. Other universities, mostly in the Midwest and on the East Coast, require a high school diploma or GED for all transfer students. There are exceptions to these general rules, however, so it is important that you research the requirements at the universities you plan to apply to.