The Reverse Transfer Process

The Reverse Transfer Process
Learn about the reverse transfer process and how it can benefit your education.

For the majority of students in the United States, the standard road to a higher degree is as follows: it starts in elementary school, continues on into middle school, becomes the focus of the high school, and then – finally – the bachelor’s degree is earned in college. It is a pattern with which most of us are familiar.

However, with the increased popularity of community colleges, some are walking a different path to higher education. These students are considered Reverse Transfer Students, and if you choose to become one, you may find your educational experience greatly affected in a positive way.

This video recounts a student who transferred from a four-year college to a community college.

What is a Reverse Transfer Student?

Although many people are comfortable with the traditional journey to higher education, some students need the opportunity to “back up” while on the road to a higher degree.

These reverse transfer students have graduated high school, and they have attended college for a period of time or, in some cases, have even graduated from a traditional four-year college. For a variety of reasons, though, these students decide that the traditional four-year college is just not for them, and they embrace the opportunity to enroll in and to attend a two-year community college.

Subsequently, they transfer from their four-year college and join a two-year college, and while they are moving forward in terms of their education, they are “taking a step back” by switching from a traditional college or university to a community college. Hence, they are reverse transfer students.

This video offers a look at the reverse transfer process.

Why do students become Reverse Transfer Students?

Reverse transfer students choose to leave their four-year college for a two-year community college for any number of reasons. Some students find the rigors of their traditional college too daunting, and they are afraid the school may ask them to leave because of their poor academic performance.

Other students may have conflicts with faculty members, may feel unprepared to live away from home, or may simply just feel “lost” (especially if the student is attending a larger college or university).

Some students, who are also considered reserve transfer students, decide to attend a community college while attending a traditional college or university. They may be looking to supplement the classes they are taking at their four-year school, hoping to finish of prerequisites for their four-year degree, or they may be taking specialized classes available only at the community college.

Still, others attend a community college after graduating from a four-year school. They, too, are labeled reserve transfer students. They may do this to take a specific class or course that will help with their career or will give them an extra boost of earning power.

Some students may undergo a reverse transfer to a community college because of changing financial circumstances. Whether they lose a scholarship or grant or no longer have the financial wherewithal to pay the steep tuition, community college becomes a great, affordable option. They can simultaneously work on their degree, yet alleviate financial burdens.

However, regardless of the reason, these students do not have to give up on their dreams of receiving a higher education, and they have the option to become reverse transfer students. Maybe you are one of those students. You have realized that your traditional school is just not the right fit for you, or maybe you are hoping to move up on the pay scale. Regardless, enrolling in a community college could be the answer to the challenges you face, and if you choose to become a reverse transfer student, there are numerous benefits waiting for you.

This video recounts the story of a student who did the reverse transfer.

Benefits to becoming a Reverse Transfer Student

While the immediate effects of becoming a reverse transfer student may seem obvious – the student is no longer in an uncomfortable or stress-filled environment, or a higher level of earning power is within reach – there are other benefits that are not initially evident.

Save significant amounts of money

First of all, there is a savings benefit. For the most part, two-year community colleges cost less than a four-year traditional college. In an ideal world, people would not have to worry about finances when considering what college to attend. Unfortunately, our world is a little different, and the cost of college is a factor in the decision-making process. For students who are finding the cost of a traditional college too high, becoming a reverse transfer student has an immediate, tangible benefit: they are saving money.

Enjoy smaller classes and closer discourse with professors

Secondly, two-year community colleges usually have smaller class sizes. In some of the larger traditional colleges, a required class can have hundreds of students enrolled in it. A community college is different. Most strive to keep their enrollment at reasonable levels, and that ensures smaller class sizes and more direct communication between the instructors and the students, which both parties usually find beneficial. In fact, most community colleges eagerly welcome reverse transfer students to their schools because they feel the reverse transfer students can be good role models for other students, helping to facilitate a positive learning environment in the classroom and throughout the school.

Obtain your bachelor’s degree in a shorter period of time

Another benefit of becoming a reverse transfer student is by attending a community college is that you may actually speed up the process of earning your bachelor’s degree. By attending a four-year college and a two-year college at the same time, reverse transfer students may have a more challenging workload, but they may also be “knocking out” more required classes at a faster pace, thus putting them on the road to obtaining their degree more quickly. That idea, of course, has a secondary benefit as well. The faster a student is done with college, the quicker he or she can stop paying for college and can start earning money in his or her career.

There are many other advantages to becoming a reverse transfer student, including more convenient class times and locations, better career training opportunities, and the possibility of improving one’s grade point average. In the long run, though, being a reverse transfer student gives you more choices, and that may be the greatest benefit of all.


Most students are still following the traditional path to higher education. However, a growing number of students are embracing the idea of being a reverse transfer student. If you choose to follow that path, know that the process of becoming one is relatively simple, and the benefits will stay with you long after you have left school.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook @communitycollegereview.

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