Carnegie Mellon may be one of the most difficult schools in the country to attend as a transfer student. According to recent enrollment statistics, there are less than 60 transfer students in any given class of students.
At the same time, it is no surprise why someone might be interested in attending Carnegie Mellon as a transfer student.
With what might be the nation’s best computer science program, its spot as one of the top 25 universities in the country, and its focus on interdisciplinary research and education, CMU will be the ideal university for a wide array of students.
Carnegie Mellon demonstrates its interdisciplinary focus through the creation of research departments and centers that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional academic departmental boundaries.
Such centers and programs include their division of behavioral economics, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, and the Department of Decision Science.
This interdisciplinary focus is part of the reason for CMU’s academic success, as the networks of intellectual collaboration throughout the university are robust and fruitful.
At any given time, there are roughly 13,000 CMU students. This article lays out vital information one needs to know to join the select group of transfer students who number less than 300 of that overall total.
In doing so, this article will discuss acceptance rates for transfer students, requirements necessary for transferring, resources for transfer students, and more.
By the end, readers will hopefully have everything they need to start their journey of becoming one of the select few who have earned their place as a CMU transfer.
According to CMU’s transfer student page, “Each year, Carnegie Mellon admits a small number of transfer students as space permits.”
Although one can’t control whether class sizes will permit transfer students or if one’s specific college will have a high number of transfer student applications, one can control the quality of their application.
This article seeks to aid students in having the best chance possible of becoming a CMU transfer student.
Carnegie Mellon University Transfer Acceptance Rate
Carnegie Mellon University’s transfer acceptance rate sits at a competitive 7.6%. Though this acceptance rate will vary from year to year depending on the amount of space available in any given class, it is unlikely the acceptance rate will rise above 9%.
In comparison, the general acceptance rate for CMU students is 17%.
For example, during 2013-2014, around 700 transfer students applied to the university, whereas only 53 were accepted.
With so few transfer students being accepted, being a transfer student at CMU truly is an honor. It means one was judged as standing out from a very competitive pool of applicants.
As noted previously, CMU forthrightly claims that they only admit a small number of transfer students as space permits. Rather than having a set amount of transfer students they attempt to take in, they only admit transfers on a minimal basis.
For those applying to the College of Fine Arts, however, they will be considered by the admissions team as a first-year applicant.
However, the downside of this is that admitted transfers in the College of Fine Arts are likely to be given first-year status.
Application Requirements & GPA for Carnegie Mellon Transfers
Although the minimum technical GPA for Carnegie Mellon transfer students is a 2.0, a 3.8 will likely be necessary to be considered. However, in order to be a competitive candidate, a GPA closer to a 3.9-4.0 is preferred.
The CMU transfer application has standard application components such as high school/college transcripts, the Common Application, and standardized test scores. Notably, a letter of recommendation for transfer students is not optional, but required of all applicants.
Those applying to the College of Fine Arts will also have to submit separate materials depending on their specific artistic specialization. This could include an audition, portfolio, or other samples of one’s creative work.
Carnegie Mellon University Transfer Deadline
For fall transfers, the application deadline is February 15th. March 15th is the deadline for submitting all additional application materials, and admissions decisions will be made available to students no later than May 15th.
For spring transfers, the application deadline is October 15th. November 1st will be the final deadline for submitting additional supporting documentation for one’s application, and decisions will be posted no later than December 15th.
Spring transfers will have had to complete one semester of coursework at their previous institution prior to applying.
As such, students can not enroll in an institution then apply to CMU as a transfer during their first semester at said institution.
For the College of Fine Arts, performing arts students must submit their applications by December 1st, and visual arts students must apply by January 3rd.
What is the Decision Date for Carnegie Mellon University Transfers?
Students must accept their letter of admission and submit an $800 enrollment deposit by June 1st.
May 1st is the decision deadline for students applying to the College of Fine Arts. CMU doesn’t state an official decision date for spring term admits, but they do claim that an $800 enrollment fee is not required for spring admits.
This is due to the short duration between the December 15th acceptance letter date and the start of the spring semester.
As such, one can anticipate that one will have to decide rather promptly regarding their spring admittance.
Deciding Whether You Should Transfer to Carnegie Mellon University
Even those who have earned the coveted transfer student acceptance letter from Carnegie Mellon University may still be left with the question of whether CMU is the right choice for them.
And even though the answer to this question will vary from student to student, there are nevertheless essential factors that are sure to influence the decision of a great many students.
For one thing, it is essential to note that transfer students are unfortunately unable to enroll in BXA degree programs.
This is important to note because for many students, BXA is a primary motivator for their decision to attend CMU, and transfer students should be advised that BXA will not be available to them.
BXA programs are another component of CMU’s interdisciplinary focus. BXA seeks to combine the study of the sciences and humanities with the arts.
However, even without BXA, CMU has a robust selection of interdisciplinary programs. There are still a wide array of degree programs not related to BXA that were explicitly designed with a multidisciplinary focus in mind.
For example, students can major in economics and politics, ethics, history, and public policy, or design their own major.
Therefore, transfer students should not feel as if they will be barred from CMU’s interdisciplinary atmosphere, as there is still a robust network of degree programs and research institutes with which they can explore diverse subject matter.
Furthermore, few universities have a reputation like CMU for engineering and computer science in particular. Every year, they score within the top 3, and frequently as #1, in a wide range of CS-related fields such as IT, design, and general computer science.
Not only that, though, but they were also ranked by Niche as the #8 performing arts school in the nation, the #10 best school for art, and #12 for music.
Make no mistake, CMU makes an effort to ensure its culture of excellence informs all of its majors, not merely the ones for which it is most well known.
As such, CMU will allow students to explore their curiosities, even if one is curious about subject matters that are not traditionally lumped together in the same academic department. In doing so, they will experience excellence at every department on campus they have the opportunity to explore.
RECAP: How to Apply As a Transfer Student to Carnegie Mellon University
To recap, the first thing one will have to do is maintain a competitive GPA at their previous institution. If possible, one’s GPA should be around 3.7-3.8, but a GPA around a 3.9 will be considered competitive.
Then, ensure one has a solid letter of recommendation from a previous professor. Although many universities make such a letter of recommendation option, CMU requires it.
One should craft their Common Application essay and submit necessary documents such as high school and college transcripts.
For those hoping to be admitted in the fall, the application due date is February 15th. For those wishing for spring admission, the due date is October 15th.
Be advised that those applying to the College of Fine Arts will need to submit additional, major-specific materials and that the application due date for College of Fine Arts students is December 1st for performing arts students and January 3rd for visual arts students.
Those hoping for spring admissions will hear back promptly by December 15th at the latest and must accept their offer of admission soon after the acceptance letters go out. For fall admits, they will have until June 1st to accept their offer of admission.
Fall admits will hear back from CMU about their admissions decision by May 15th. College of Fine Arts students will hear back earlier, by May 1st.
And once the application is submitted, accepted, and the enrollment deposit of $800 is paid, all that will be left for that select group of transfer students to do is begin their journey as a Tartan.