Community College Transfer Students
Justine Boggeln thought that when she transferred to a four-year college, she would automatically be on the fast track to graduate from college. Not exactly. Turns out three of the classes she took at community college transferred as electives instead of counting toward her major.
No big deal, right? Wrong.
Neither she nor her advisers caught it until she was registering for fall semester of her senior year. Luckily, the classes she needed were offered that summer, and she was able to graduate from college on time. If you’re one of many community college transfer students, take some time to carefully plan your move.
Graduate From College On Time
Though Boggeln was lucky enough to make up for classes lost, she still gave up a summer to full-time school. If you would rather be digging your toes into the sand or playing an intense game of badminton with your little brother, follow these three tips for community college transfer students to avoid spending your well-deserved vacation in the classroom.
1. Keep your advisers close
“My adviser was very helpful in showing me what I needed to accomplish each semester with the credits that had transferred to graduate from college in the shortest time,” says Cari-Jean Bowman, a transfer student from Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.
Advisers are there for one main reason: to help you. Don’t be afraid to schedule more than one appointment if you are confused about your transcript or the status of your community college transfer credits.
Before you leave your two-year school, meet with an adviser there to make sure your transcript is up to date and ready to be sent out to the four-year school ASAP.
Once you are ready to register for classes at your new school, set up an appointment with an admissions or transfer adviser to go through each class to see if it transfers. Make sure you know which ones transferred toward your major and which ones counted as electives. This is where Boggeln got into trouble.
2. Make it your responsibility
Many schools have an online audit showing the classes you’ve taken, your current GPA, your overall progress and credits earned. Print it out and bring it with you to your advising meetings. If your school doesn’t provide an online version, get an unofficial copy of your transcript instead.
If you really want to be on top of things, find your transfer school’s course handbook (get it in admissions, in the library or online). Look for your major and compare the classes required to graduate from college with your current transcript. Check off classes you’ve completed and make note of the ones you need to take.
Try figuring out your own schedule for your first semester, and bring your notes to your meeting with your rep at the four-year school. Your adviser will be impressed, and any discrepancies will be easier to determine. There will also be more time to focus on any specific questions you have.
“I wish I had taken the time to check my credits before I transferred,” Boggeln says. “It would have saved me a lot of time and money.” Community college transfer students stand to save tuition costs, but that savings can quickly erode if extra classes are required to graduate from college at the new school.
3. Don’t point the blame
“It is the responsibility of the student to find out [which credits will transfer], and use those resources to their advantage,” says Fabian Villeges, a transfer student at Arizona State University. “I speak to my counselor at least once a month to make sure I am on track for graduation.”
Always be two steps ahead of your adviser by continuously checking your transcript or your audit to make sure you are headed on the right track. If all else fails, be prepared to trade in lounge chairs and sun for desks and air conditioning to make up the differences.