Study Abroad for Transfers
Updated: November 2015
Transfer students have particular challenges when it comes to study abroad. While these challenges might present special obstacles to transfer students, study abroad scholarships will often give greater consideration to transfer students because of these challenges.
Transfer students typically only have 4-6 semesters at UC Merced for financial aid and enrollment purposes. This means that transfer students, in order to complete degree requirements on time while studying abroad, must be well organized and plan early. Transfer students who do not plan well, may find that they run out of financial aid eligibility or risk running afoul of academic term limits. Native students often have more flexibility in their schedule, but transfers need to be more intentional with their planning, especially in majors in Natural Sciences and Engineering.
Transfer students should begin the planning process as early as possible, ideally before they are accepted into UC Merced. Students who intend to transfer to UC Merced should contact their likely study abroad advisor and academic advisor right away to begin planning and exploring.
Transfer students should apply based on when they intend to study abroad. Deadlines to study abroad are available online based on program and term. Students unsure of when to go abroad or in which program to participate should read below.
UC Merced policy dictates that transfer students from community and junior colleges may apply to UC Center programs or wait until their second semester to participate in other study abroad programs. Students transferring from another four-year institution are invited to apply to any program for participation as early as their first term. UC Merced Study Abroad advisors may recommend that students wait until their second or third semester at UC Merced for study abroad on a case-by-case basis.
SSHA majors have more flexibility and can usually study abroad at any point as a UC Merced student. SSHA students who spend their final semester abroad must ensure that they have the flexibility to meet their degree requirements abroad, often with upper-division electives. Students with majors in Natural Sciences and Engineering should aim to participate in study abroad programs before their final semester; this will leave the maximum flexibility to complete remaining degree requirements upon return from abroad.
Because transfer students usually have already approached or reached a maximum of transferable units before transferring to UC Merced, transfer students should focus on the UC Education Abroad Program or UC Summer Abroad, as both program types will offer UC units rather than transfer units, meaning that all units count toward senior residency and do not count toward the 70.0 unit transfer cap. Transfer students typically should not apply to options within the International Opportunities Program.
Because of the obstacles transfer students face, transfers tend to be significantly underrepresented and underserved in study abroad. As this is a cohort many scholarships intend to support, students may leverage their transfer background to improve their odds of receiving a competitive or merit-based scholarship. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and UCEAP scholarships both give greater consideration to transfer students, but transfer students should disclose that they are transfers in the context of what challenges they have faced in their effort to study abroad. Many of these challenges are outlined on this page such as timing, dependents, reentry, or even veterans.
Transfer students are more likely than traditional native students to have dependents. Dependents present challenges in terms of cost, potential visas, education and/or child care, lodging, and more.
Students with dependents have special challenges and significantly higher costs when it comes to study abroad. Not every program will accommodate dependents. It is best to narrow down programs to a limited set or set some parameters for your program needs (e.g. term, program type, region, needs, etc.) and contact the most appropriate study abroad advisor to inquire about the possibility of bringing dependents.
Students with dependents may have a better shot at competitive study abroad scholarships.
Transfer students are more likely to be reentry students (of non-traditional age, such as 24+, those returning to school after a hiatus, etc.) and/or veterans.
Reentry and veteran students have special challenges when it comes to study abroad. Reentry students may have challenges living in a new environment, they may feel a lack of freedom in a home-stay, or they may have challenges relating to younger students in their cohort. Veterans may have similar challenges as well as other challenges based on prior experiences in the military. Veterans will often be able to use veteran benefits for study abroad in a similar way to how they can use them while on campus for regular studies.
Reentry and veteran students may have a better shot at competitive study abroad scholarships.
UC Merced will not to average UC and transfer GPAs at any stage. When no UC GPA is available, a composite average of transfer GPAs will be used. Once a transfer student establishes a UC GPA, that UC GPA replaces any transfer GPA used for program evaluation or eligibility.
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