Most private colleges take very few transfers. At USC, about 1,500 get a spot each year

Xavier Garcia sat at a welcome dinner the evening of move-in day at USC, shoulders straight, shirt tucked, hands folded over a notebook filled with questions to ask and people to meet.

With Ds in high school and no family with college degrees, he once had dismissed the possibility of attending a private school. But at Sacramento City College, he had buckled down. Now here he was, a transfer student at the so-called University of Spoiled Children.

Transferring into an elite private college is not easy. Princeton hasn’t taken a transfer in more than two decades, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics. In the fall of 2015, Stanford enrolled 15 transfer students; Yale, 24. Cornell and Georgetown University, known for accepting transfers, took in 497 and 186, respectively.

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