Utilize our advice and practical tips for students interested in transferring community college credits to a four-year university.
Many college students are getting their start at community colleges
today, providing a cost-effective path
to four-year degree program. However, the plan only works if all those credits earned at the community college successfully transfer to the four-year degree program. To ensure the transfer process works properly, students must plan in advance for the transition from one school to the next. We have 10 tips to help students make the community college transfer process
as smooth as possible.
Look for Articulation Agreements
Articulation agreements are transfer agreements between two and four-year schools. According to The College Insider, these articulation agreements may even guarantee admission into the four-year school if students meet course and GPA requirements. When formal agreements are in place, there is no worry over which course credits will transfer and which ones won’t. The program is clearly laid out ahead of time, making the transfer process smooth sailing for students.
Find Your Area of Interest
Community college is a budget-friendly place to explore various fields of study before heading to a four-year institution. Students who use their first two years at community college to identify their major will be that much farther along when they move to the next level. At the same time, students are fulfilling undergraduate requirements at the community college, so they can move directly into their major area of study when they move to the four-year school – and the higher tuition prices.
Students should begin the transfer process as early as possible, visiting potential universities and talking to managers and others already working in their industry of interest. By planning ahead, students are able to make the best possible school and course choices to effectively launch them on the career path of their choosing. With a target goal in mind, community college becomes a launching pad for the rest of the higher education experience.
Find the Best Four-Year School
Not every four-year college will offer the best program for a student’s specific needs. While shopping around for a community college, it is a good idea to carefully peruse four-year schools at the same time to find the best one for your field of study. By shopping for both schools at the same time, students also have the opportunity to find two institutions that will offer a seamless transfer process.
Talk to an Advisor
U.S. News and World Report
recommends meeting regularly with an advisor at the community college
you attend to stay abreast of your transfer plans. Advisors are well-versed in how the transfer process works at various area institutions and can help students choose the right courses to advance them in their transfer endeavor. Hopping into the transfer process without professional assistance may mean you don’t take full advantage of the transfer opportunities.
Maintain a High GPA
If you are serious about transferring to a four-year school after community college, it is essential to maintain a high grade point average throughout your two years at your initial school. The College Insider warns that just because a student is transferring from community college, that doesn’t make the application and admission process any less competitive. The higher your grades, the more choices you will have when it comes time to transfer to a four-year school.
Complete Admission Process
When you have chosen a four-year school to attend, complete the application process – both for the university and for the specific program you want to attend. Some students may qualify for admittance into the school, but fail to get into the department they want, such as business or engineering. It is important to know that you are admitted to the four-year school as early as possible, so you can plan your transfer process for a specific institution.
Complete an Associate Degree
U.S. News and World Report cites national research that shows students who earn an associate degree
before transferring to a four-year school are much more likely to complete their bachelor’s degree as well. By completing an associate degree, students are on a much more focused path that will transfer credits efficiently for a four-year degree program, rather than simply racking up a hodge-podge of college credits from the community college.
Some students make the mistake of skipping orientation at the four-year school because they assume they already have the information necessary to succeed after spending two years at community college. However, colleges can vary greatly in terms of academic demands, culture and environment, especially between two and four-year institutions. Find out everything you can about your four-year school before you begin taking classes, to increase your odds of a successful transition.
Prepare for the Rigors of a Four-Year School
Although students may see considerable success at community college, entering a four-year institution may be like starting over in a completely different environment. To help students prepare for the transition, the California Colleges website
recommends that students get ready for a faster academic pace and rigorous coursework when they arrive at their four-year school. The website also advises students to make studies a priority, get involved in campus activities and services, and seek out career contacts early in the process.
Community college has become a popular place for students to begin their exploration into higher education, in part because of lower tuition costs and due to the plethora of study fields available at community colleges today. If your goal is to transfer from a community college to a four-year school in the future, setting goals early and planning ahead for the process will make transfer efforts more efficient and successful.