Tips for Transferring from a Community College
There are various reasons why many students choose to attend community college prior to enrolling at a university. Regardless of the reason behind their decision, the pathway from community college into a university is a unique one, and requires a slightly different perspective and plan than other routes to a degree.
Community college gives you a chance to get your feet wet in the fields that you’re interested in. However, many community colleges lack in depth coursework that allow you for a deeper dive into your chosen major, and often times, community colleges don’t even allow you to choose a major to begin with, providing you solely with a liberal arts overview of general education. As such, it’s important to decide your major early on in your community college experience, and it’s even more beneficial if you’re able to decide prior to enrolling. You are only allowed two years of full-time coursework to demonstrate to university admissions officers that you’re fully engaged and involved with your chosen major. Those two years have to show them why they can’t pass up an opportunity to have you on their campus. Students who plan to move from a community college to finish their degree at a four-year university need to be diligent, focused and thoroughly engaged throughout their time at their college in order to increase their chances of transferring successfully.
To help yourself stay on track, it helps to organize your educational goals, engage with colleges, build connections and take the initiative to find programs and opportunities that will help you complete your degree. To start, you should map out your transfer plans either before you begin your journey at community college or soon after enrolling. Once you’ve chosen your major, you should begin by researching which schools have your major, and whether or not they have articulation agreements. An articulation agreement is a partnership between community colleges and four-year institutions that outlines a clear pathway to college and highlights what courses you should take in order to transfer. Many states have these agreements for their in-state colleges and universities, which makes it easier for students to understand transfer guidelines. If the schools that you are looking into do not have an articulation agreement with your college, then it’s up to you to determine which courses you should take in order to align with the requirements of your chosen degree at the university. At this point, it helps immensely to reach out to both your college adviser and a transfer counselor at the school you’re interested in. Not only will this help you plan out your coursework, but it also allows you to form your first connection at the university. Developing the right connections can be a vital part to your success with both the admissions process and after your acceptance.
You should also build relationships with universities by reaching out to faculty members, internship programs or other offices if you find programs at that university that interest you. This helps you make a good impression on individuals who are already at the university, and these relationships will help by not only giving you a sense of what they’re looking for in terms of their students, but also giving you people in your court that can put in a good word for you come admissions time. These relationships help admissions offices and faculty put a face with the application, which can benefit you in the process.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to keep yourself organized and on track during your time in community college. However, if you work hard, stay focused, and form connection, you should be well off in terms of preparing yourself for the university admissions process.