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Transferring Out

The Registrar's Office is happy to help you plan how to complete the required Swarthmore forms you will need to apply to transfer out.

Most schools in the U.S. use the Common App or the Coalition Application for transfer students and if they don't use either of those, they will probably have a similar process.

Here are the key parts of the process:

The Transfer College Report

The Swarthmore registrar uses the paper method for the Common App College Report or the Coalition Application Transfer Report. We do not use the online method through Common App. If you do not have a paper College Report form, find one online -- be sure to use the most current version because the form changes from year to year.

Please complete the student portion of the Transfer College Report and email or drop off a hard copy to the Registrar's Office.  Our office will complete the form and email or mail a copy to the institutions to which you are applying. If it is required that the College Report be emailed, we ask that you send us an email with all of the institution's email addresses.

Envelopes: If the institution requires the College Report to be mailed via USPS, please bring the Registrar's Office addressed envelopes for every recipient you want to receive a College Report. You should address the envelopes but you do not need to put postage on them, nor do you need to put a return address on them. Our office will put postage on the envelopes and rubber stamp the back of the envelope to show it came from our office. 

About timing and deadlines: It takes us days to complete the form because we have to collaborate with the deans office but normally the schools to which you are applying will understand if it takes a little longer for the College Report than everything else, even if that means our report gets to the schools after your application deadline. You should meet your application deadline for your application, and you can and should try to send grades and transcripts separately to meet the deadline.

Transcripts should be separate: Keep in mind that transcripts do not need to accompany the College Report. It is fine for you to request transcripts separately and have them sent separately from the college report.

The Transfer Mid-Term Report

Students take this to their profs for their comments, and then send it off, following the instructions from the Common App. The Registrar's Office does not help with this.


Keep in mind that by College policy the transcript for Swarthmore students in their first semester will only have CR/NC grading -- it will not show your unofficial "shadow" letter grades. You need to share both your shadow grades and your transcript:

  1. Share a college transcript with the CR/NC grades, see below
  2. Share your unofficial shadow letter grades and/or evaluations, see below


Normally multiply your Swarthmore credits by four (4) to report semester hour credits, which is the norm throughout higher ed. Here is the relevant catalog rule from chapter 20: "One semester course credit is normally equivalent to 4 semester hours elsewhere."

How to share a college transcript

There are basically two kinds of college transcript you can order using the mySwarthmore Transcript Request procedure, "unofficial pdf" and "official paper". Many schools will accept the unofficial pdf variety. Both the unofficial pdf and the official paper transcript have the same course and grades content -- and neither have shadow grades.

Either or both the unofficial pdf and official paper can be ordered using mySwarthmore "Request Transcript" procedure, with no charge. In mySwarthmore, go to Student Main Menu, Student Records, Transcript Request. You can go through the procedure as many times as you need, once for each recipient. The request procedure collects all the needed information. It is okay to abbreviate as needed.

The unofficial pdf goes to you via email to forward or upload elsewhere, and the official paper can be retrieved at the registrar's office, or mailed by the registrar's office. Swarthmore pays the postage.

We recommend you immediately order an unofficial pdf for yourself to review and become familiar with.

How to share your shadow grades and/or narrative evaluations

There is a "Shadow Grades" listing on mySwarthmore. Separately, you have your email evaluations including the narrative evaluation.

Most admissions offices will be satisfied with just the mySwarthmore "Shadow Grades" listing (and do not need the emails). In mySwarthmore, go to Student Main Menu, Student Records, Shadow Grades.

Print the Shadow Grades page (or save as a pdf) and share it -- from you to the recipient.

Importantly, the mySwarthmore "Shadow Grades" page includes the college policy, so it both explains the reason shadow grades are not on your college transcript, and is an official expression of college policy, making it the closest thing available to an official list of your shadow grades.

Alternately, you could print or forward your shadow grade evaluation emails, which include the narrative evaluations, if you want to share those.

How calculate a GPA

Swarthmore never releases your GPA or rank in class. However, we have a GPA policy web page including a GPA calculator. After your first semester and before your second semester grades are available, you can use your shadow grades in the GPA calculator to calculate a GPA. You should be prepared to explain that you used the unofficial shadow grades.

Normally once you have official letter grades (after your first year) including your shadow grades in a GPA calculation is optional.

Getting credit for first semester and CR/NC courses

After you get accepted and decide to go somewhere else my office can help you credit for your CR graded work -- but we do not do that until you actually go.  We can provide an official certification letter explaining the letter grades you earned, or, if the other school requires it, we can uncover the letter grades on your Swarthmore transcript to help you get credit for those first semester courses.  But do not request this until you transfer out.  As a clarification, we can only share letter grades we have on file, and only if you request us to share them.  For more information about this, see the CR NC policy.

During the admissions process, the pdf of the shadow grade page on mySwarthmore, and your CR grades on the official transcript should suffice.

Tell us when you know for sure!

When you are certain that you are leaving, please tell us. To formally request a permanent withdrawal from Swarthmore College, complete the required leave/return e-form in mySwarthmore. On the leave/return e-form, indicate the latest possible semester in the "Planned Semester of Return" box and select "Transferring out" as the reason for your departure. Your student status will then be updated to Withdrawn Not Returning (instead of Leave of Absence). Withdrawing permanently from the college results in your Swarthmore College email account being terminated in 4 business days. In advance of completing the e-form, be sure to save any info that you need from your Swarthmore email account.

And if you have any questions about any of this, please contact