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Transferring Out

Registrar help for 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 for Transfer Students and if they don't use the Common App, 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 (used to be called "registrar report"). We do not use the online method through Common App.

Please create and print the Transfer College Report with your name on it and bring or send the Swarthmore Registrar's Office one copy, along with addressed envelopes for all the schools to which you want to apply.  Our office will complete the Registrar Report and photocopy it one for every envelope you give us.  You should address the envelopes but you do not need to put postage on them. My office will put postage on the envelopes and rubber stamp the back of the envelope to show it came from our office.

About timing: It takes us days to complete the form because we have to collaborate with the deans office to complete the form, 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.

Keep in mind that transcripts do not need to accompany the College Report in its paper version. It is fine for you to request transcripts separately and have them sent separately from the college report.

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.

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 Swarthmore College policy your official transcript for your first semester will only have CR/NC grading -- it will never show your unofficial "shadow" letter grades. Thus to share shadow grades in context, you should share both your official CR/NC grades and your unofficial shadow letter grades.

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

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

One last thing.  After you get accepted and decide to go somewhere else my office can write an official letter of certification of your shadow grades, but we do not do that until you actually go.  Please know we will provide an official certification letter to help you get credit for those first semester courses.  But do not request that until you are admitted.

For 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 know that you are leaving, please tell us. Please email Liz Derickson <ederick1>, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, to tell her that you are transferring. Once you tell Liz, then she will notify the following offices: Office of Student Engagement (which includes housing), Student Health Service, Registrar's Office, and Student Accounts Office.

And if you have any questions about any of this, please ask Martin Warner, the Swarthmore registrar.