Starting their college career at a community college and transferring to a four-year institution to obtain a more advanced degree can be one of the smartest moves high school graduates can make. A community college serves as an ideal launch pad for continuing their education, while helping students save money and maximize their college investment.
How to prepare
Preparation for a two- or four-year school is virtually the same. “In addition to meeting with their guidance counselor on a regular basis, students should take college prep courses and keep up with math and science,” says Christine Casalinuovo-Adams, interim co-director of admissions at Monroe Community College (MCC) in Rochester, N.Y.
When thinking about a community college, it’s also important for high school students to begin visiting schools the summer after their junior year and apply, as well as look for scholarship opportunities, in the fall of their senior year. In January of their senior year, students and their families apply for financial aid packages. “Community college staff and faculty are very engaged with students and provide personalized attention to help them decide if a two-year school with a transfer program is the right fit for them,” adds Casalinuovo-Adams.
Easing the transition
Transfer programs are an ideal option for just about every student for various reasons. For example, a student:
• May need to become better academically prepared for a four-year institution.
• May not be emotionally ready to leave home.
• May wish to explore his or her options before deciding on a major.
• Or, a student’s family may not be financially equipped to send their child to a four-year school.
“For any student whose goal is a bachelor’s degree, a community college is a great place to start,” explains Casalinuovo-Adams. “At MCC, we work diligently to help students decide on a major early on and to ensure all classes they take are transferable. When students maintain the required GPA, the transfer to a four-year school is seamless.”
2+2 = success!
MCC has a formalized 2+2 Program that allows students to easily transfer to any one of approximately 30 four-year colleges across the country. Students may also choose to attend other four-year colleges and universities. The program is best suited for first-time, full-time matriculated students who know where they wish to pursue their bachelor’s degree and in what major.
As part of the 2+2 Program, MCC offers a number of majors including engineering, education, social work, criminal justice, computer science, communications, biotechnology and hospitality. “Historically, community colleges have an outstanding track record of helping students prepare for transferring on to the school of their dreams,” insists Casalinuovo-Adams
Similar transfer programs exist in the community colleges throughout the nation, so encourage your students to find out more about the transfer programs at your local community college.They need to make sure their credits will transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year college effectively so they can graduate on time.
Lou Ann Benigni-Lynch, owner of CopyLAB, is a freelance writer based in Victor, N.Y.