How to transfer from one university to another in Australia

by Dr. Alan November 30, 2020

Getting into a college is tough but transferring from one university to the other is tougher. Thanks to technology, though, students can switch institutions without a lot of hassles. For, contrary to popular belief, you can transfer paperwork and get other technicalities sorted out online

Earlier, both local and foreign students had to submit a lot of paperwork to change colleges. University transfers were even more complicated as you had to re-register from scratch.

There can be several reasons why someone chooses to switch universities in Australia. I am not here to discuss those reasons but to delve deeper into the transfer procedure. Here is a stepwise guide on how to transfer from one university to another in Australia.

The best time to switch universities is at the beginning of the semester.

Talk to the student advisor.

There are different rules for local and international students when it comes to transferring universities in Australia. For local students, the procedure is comparatively hassle-free because you don’t have the visa requirements.

Although, you still have to speak with the student advisor or head counsellor about your course transfer plans. The authorities can guide you about the transfer policies, the fees structure, the credit transfer, and other issues.

For international students, the counsellor even offers advice on visa application and renewal. Usually, a student has to complete 6 months at their previous university before transferring to a new one. In case you want to get out before 6 months, you need a “Letter of Release” from the current institution.

Sort out your visa requirements

For international students, you have an added issue of visa renewal to consider before applying to a different university. Every foreign student who comes to Australia to pursue a course has a visa or a legal permit to reside in the country. Now, each visa category has specified validity and requirements.

For instance, students with a streamlined students visa are eligible only for transferring to universities that accept this visa type. If your desired university doesn’t fall in this category, then you need to cancel your visa and reapply.

I recommend students to get in touch with a visa officer or authority for further clarifications.

Consider your finances

This is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of university transfers in Australia. Students looking for internal course transfers can do so provided their institution has a provision for it. Whatever be the case, you have to pay the extra tuition fees as part of the application process.

In internal course transfers, you don’t have to re-register. If you plan to change your stream, then the respective department fees, accommodation expenses and other charges are included.

I suggest students to also enquire about refunds at their former university. Consult your advisor about the scholarship programs and subsidies available as well.

Contact the new university.

This is kind of an obvious point but an important one, nonetheless. You need to decide on the new university, the coursework, and the fees structure. Some universities also allow students to transfer mid-semester. However, upon doing this, you might not be eligible for university grants or student loans.

Also, check if there is any backlog with your previous university before you switch to the next one. Contact the new university authorities to enquire about the registration process and documents required for it.

Check the eligibility criteria.

Every coursework has its specific academic requirements. Students cannot drastically change their streams without proper academic credibility to show for it. Also, check the designation and syllabus carefully before applying for it.

Most university websites in Australia give you this information on their official homepage. Do your research, find out if you are eligible for the coursework and then apply. It saves everyone a lot of time and trouble.

Pick your course

Check the degree and course before enrolment. For instance, you cannot apply for a post-graduate course at your new university without completing your undergrad. Also, pick your area of specialization and subject carefully.

Some universities allow students to change their central midway. However, there are institutions where you may not get this provision. Get in touch with the university and your respective department ASAP.

Also, check the official university website for online application forms and other tests/interviews following your transfer. Also, have a word with the Department of Home Affairs to get an electronic certificate for confirmation of enrolment.  

Application and transfer procedure

The online application form and other documentation ensure that you transfer and re-registration happens without any hassles. For instance, the Monash course transfer requires the students to submit their academic certificate and other credentials beforehand. Here are some requirements you need to fulfil to be a part of the Monash course.

  • You must already have Monash enrolment, i.e. your institution must be affiliated to Monash.
  • You must meet the minimum requirements of the new coursework.
  • You must maintain credible academic performance at the previous course.
  • You must successfully complete a Monash course with 12 or higher credit points.

To transfer from Monash university to another institution, you need special permission by the VATC or Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre.

Students are free to pick and choose their courses and curriculum when they transfer universities.

Talk to the department head.

After checking the credibility and your academic calibre, you can talk to the department had to take things further. The department head usually stops through your application and arranges for a personal interview.

Some universities also have a test where they check your understanding of the topic. The test scores, combined with your previous academic performance, validate your application.

In the personal interview, the department head may ask you questions about your subject and the research done in it. You can ask the advisor about the coursework and how to customize the curriculum to your convenience.

Choose your curriculum

The curriculum offers you several options to pick from. It is here that you choose your classes and lectures for the semester. Usually, for undergrads, the students have to pick their principal and a couple other auxiliary subjects.

A few common questions about transferring universities

Students are often confused when it comes to switching universities. Is it a prudent decision? How and when should you go about it? Whom should you approach? These are a few questions to ponder over before deciding the next step.

Lucky for you, I am here to help. Here are some commonly asked questions that I get from students about transferring universities.  

Can a student transfer to any course?

Technically, yes. Students are free to pick and choose their courses and curriculum when they transfer universities. However, your academic calibre, previous degrees and availability of seats play a significant role in this decision.

Whom to contact when transferring universities?

The first person you should reach out to is your student advisor. The student body is presided over by a senior and an office staff of the university. These authorities can help you identify the issue you’re facing in the current university. Plus, they can also guide you with the next course of action.

After that, you can contact the department head of the current and future university to decide the course and curriculum.

When is the best time to switch universities?

Ideally, the best time to switch universities is at the beginning of the semester. This way, you don’t lose out on an academic year. Plus, it is easier for students to catch up with the syllabus and improve their performance.

Do the students have to start again?

Well, if you apply at the beginning of the semester, it gives you an added advantage to start again. Although your performance at the previous university doesn’t go to waste. You can transfer your score and academic credits to the new university as well.

What happens to your previous scores and performance?

Usually, the new university you transfer at considers your academic performance. Although, if the institution follows a different curriculum, your scores might not be validated. You can apply to have your scores and credits transferred to the other university as well. I would advise students to consult their department head about this.

Can a student transfer mid-semester? Is it advisable?

Yes, a student can transfer universities mid-semester if necessary. Although, you might have some issues catching up with the curriculum and maintaining your score. Some universities like the University of Sydney, prefer students to complete one full-time year at their previous university.

The university is a member of the Go8 credit transfer agreement that simplifies the student transfer process for international applicants.

Quick links and references

I have curated a list of credible websites and platforms you can refer to for more information on the transfer process.

Guide to choose your curriculum by UT University

Course transfer guide for Monash University

Changing Universities guidelines by Sydney University  

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, transferring to a different university is the best way out of an issue. For, you cannot gauge the true value of an institution without actually studying in it. Some students choose to switch universities because of the marking scheme. Others pick different colleges because of new opportunities and course options.

Whatever be your reason, I hope that this blog clarifies a few of your doubts about the transfer procedure. It is relatively simple, provided you know what to do and whom to approach.

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