Researching & Applying
When developing a list of transfer schools, students are advised to consider size, location, selectivity, faculty to student ratio, majors offered, access to internships, study abroad and research opportunities, campus life, diversity, financial aid, and more. Through research students should be able to create a short list (6-8) of schools that meet the criteria outlined above. Resources exist to help facilitate the process for students including:
Personal connections: Current faculty, members of the Win Commons, Simon’s Rock alumni and transfer school admissions representatives are good resources.
Campus visits: A campus visit will enable students to evaluate the school from both an academic and social perspective. In addition to meeting with admissions counselors students should speak with students and try to sit in on a class with a faculty member of interest.
Reference books: Reference books can provide unbiased commentary about a school’s academic and social life—often with quotes from students. They also have the most up-to-date acceptance and admissions data. Following are a few books that can help you with your college search. These and other resources can be found in the Win Commons:
- Ruggs Guide: This book is particularly useful for students who know what they want to study. Organized by major, rather than school, the book provides lists of schools, grouped by selectivity, that are known for excellence in a particular major or field.
- Fiske Guide to Colleges & The Princeton Review’s Guide to the Best 361 Colleges: Both these books are full of student quotes about campus and academic life and provide up-to-date admission statistics.
- Colleges That Change Lives: This book discusses 40 schools that are lesser known, yet provide a terrific education and college experience.
Applying to Transfer Schools
The Common Application currently provides both online and print versions of its First-year and Transfer Applications. The Common Application is accepted by more than 400 US public and private institutions and is often a starting point for the admissions process. For a list of participating institutions or to set up an account visit,.
The admissions process is based on many factors. Colleges are interested in getting to know the “whole person”. In addition to the college transcript (often the first and most important component of the application), they consider a number of additional components. In no particular order, these include:
- Dean and faculty recommendation letters
- Standardized test scores
- Extracurricular activities
- High school transcript
Requesting your Simon’s Rock Transcript
To request a transcript you must complete and sign a Transcript Request form and submit it to the Registrar’s Office along with the names and addresses of schools you need a transcript to be sent. Transcript Request Forms are located outside of the Registrar’s Office in the Hall College Center or can be downloaded here.
The Transfer Versus Freshman Question
Most Simon’s Rock students apply as transfer students, however different schools recognize different numbers of Simon’s Rock credits and accept students in a variety of ways—as transfers, freshmen, freshmen with advanced standing, etc. This makes it difficult to give a “one size fits all” answer. These issues are best addressed on a case-by-case basis. It is therefore important for students to work closely with their academic advisors and the Win Commons.
Standardized test scores remain an important part of the admissions decision at many four year colleges. Some schools, however, do not require standardized tests. These schools are listed at:.
The ACT versus the SAT:
- The ACT has a science component; the SAT I does not.
- The ACT is scored from 1-36; the SAT has three components, Math, Critical Reading and Writing, each scored from 200-800.
- The ACT permits “score choice” whereby students can choose the scores they want to send to colleges; the SAT does not.
SAT I: The SAT I includes three sections: Verbal, Math and Writing. Each section is scored from 200-800 points. The Writing component has a student-written essay that is scored from 1-6 points. The SAT I is offered 7 times per academic year. Score reports include the results of all SAT tests a student has taken. The Win Commons posts testing dates and provides transportation to locations for those who need to take them.
SAT II Subject Tests: These hour-long exams are offered in Writing, Literature, U.S. History, World History, Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and a variety of languages. SAT IIs are administered 6 times per academic year. Students can take up to 3 tests in one day. Free SAT II subject test prep booklets (which include sample tests) are available in the Win Commons. Sample tests can also be downloaded at the
Registration for the SAT I AND SAT II: Students can register online at. A list of test dates and registration deadlines can be found at the .
The ACT: The ACT, traditionally taken by students in Midwestern states in lieu of the SAT I, is gaining popularity on the East Coast. Unlike the SAT, which is designed to measure reasoning and critical thinking skills, the ACT is designed to measure academic achievement in English, math, reading and science. Because of this some students may feel more comfortable with the ACT. The ACT has an optional writing component. To be competitive with the new SAT I, students should take the optional writing component of the ACT. ACT practice tests are available in the Win Commons. Students can register online at.
Different Standardized Test Requirements at Different Schools
Many schools require the SAT I, or the ACT (with the optional writing component) plus two SAT II subject tests, however some require fewer and some more. Students can quickly look up admission requirements of different schools by using the “College Quickfinder” at .
Forwarding Standardized Test Scores to Colleges
Students are responsible for having their test scores forwarded to colleges. Neither the Win Commons nor the Registrar’s Office send SAT or ACT scores to colleges. SAT scores can be forwarded at:
ACT scores can be forwarded at:
General Equivalency Diploma (GED): Some institutions will require a high school diploma or a GED in addition to a college transcript. The Massachusetts Department of Education awards the high school equivalency certificate to those who pass the GED exam. The GED covers five topics: Language Arts, Reading and Writing, Social Studies, Science, and Math. To pass the GED you must receive a minimum of 410 on each test AND receive an overall average of 450 on all five tests for a total score of 2250.
Berkshire Community College is a local testing center and the Win Commons will arrange transportation once per semester. The Win Commons will post GED dates.
Pre-registration is required to secure a seat for the exam. Applications are available in the Win Commons.