Princeton University announced that it will begin admitting transfer applicants for the first time since 1990 as part of a strategic plan to help it achieve its goals for growth. (Please note the transfer plan won’t be in place until 2018.)
There certainly are strong arguments to favor transfer applicants. They contribute a lot of diversity to the campus. There is a track record of transfer applicants adjusting quickly to their new campus and finding both academic and extracurricular success. Transfer admission can also be used to bolster athletic programs.
Nonetheless, transfer admissions has always been extremely competitive at the top colleges. Quite simply, they have very low student churn. (The students they admit generally don’t flunk out and have few better options than staying put and finishing their degrees.) The end result is very few spots open each year for the much larger number of students who find success at lower-ranked schools and become disenchanted and/or decide they want the challenge/prestige of attending a top-tier college. For quick reference, Stanford admitted 33 transfer applicants from a pool of 1764 for a 1.87% acceptance rate and Yale admitted 36 transfer applicants from a pool of 1,031 for a 3.30% acceptance rate.
The transfer admissions statistics have been released and Princeton University admitted 13 of the 1,429 transfer applicants for an acceptance rate of 0.9%. Congratulations to the admitted transfer applicants to Princeton!