Almost everyone in community college classes wants to transfer to a four-year university. If they transfer, they have the chance to obtain a four-year degree which heightens the possibility of increased income over their lifetimes.
However, transferring from a community college can be difficult. Aside from the specific enrollment and admission requirements, or an individual’s need to borrow student loans, many four-year colleges prioritize students based on the classes they have taken.
In fact, the community college courses you take can have a very large impact on whether or not you will be allowed to transfer to the four-year college of your choice. Here’s a quick look at why.
College majors at four-year universities can only be achieved by the successful completion of required classes. This is why you need to take courses that count towards your intended major. Taking classes outside of this scope, while rewarding, may be a waste of time.
Even if you take courses that build skills, these courses may not count towards a major at a four-year college. Instead, you need to focus on a major from as early a point as possible.
You need to make good use of your time and study for a specific major. Once you transfer, this will have cut down the amount of semesters or quarters you need to complete in order to achieve your four-year degree.
Many community colleges and four-year colleges maintain articulation agreements. These agreements simply mean that if a community college student obtains his or her associate’s degree at a partnered community college, then that degree will have satisfied the freshmen and sophomore year requirements at the partnered four-year university. As you can imagine this is a massive time-saver and is deeply prized by community college students.
Speaking with your community college academic advisor and the admissions counselor at your target four-year college are the best ways to find out if your two colleges have an articulation agreement. Many colleges have articulation agreements based on geographic proximity, but it is best to check via phone or an appointment just in case.
Show Your Strengths
Community college students may be attending their schools for a number of reasons. Perhaps it is for financial reasons or perhaps it is because it was one of the few colleges they could enroll in. As far as admissions representatives are concerned, these could both apply to a transfer applicant.
It is for this reason that you have to demonstrate to admissions counselors that you deserve to be accepted to their four-year college. You can show your strength by the classes you take.
Did you take difficult courses? Let your effort and grades reflect that you can handle a difficult and challenging education path.
Did you take remedial courses? While that isn’t ideal, if you do exceptionally well then you will be viewed as an exceptional student in the eyes of admissions counselors.
Extracurricular activities aside, courses and classes must show you are a strong candidate for transferring to a four-year college. At the end of the day you are only as strong as your grades. Remember, you are also competing with every other student out there who wants to transfer to 4-year universities.
Double Check Transferable Courses
Make sure the classes you take transfer to university. While it is all well and good that you enjoyed a class or took a class that interested you, at the end of the day you have to ask if it really helped you get closer to a four-year degree.
Simply speaking to academic advisors at a community college is not enough. While they will do their best to give you advice on which classes will “probably” transfer, there is a far better source you should speak to: the academic advisory office of the four-year college you want to transfer to.
These advisors will know far more about which classes and courses will be able to transfer over to their four-year college. Likewise, speaking to them will let you know which of your earned credits can actually count towards a four-year degree. It is a huge mistake to not communicate with the academic advisors at the four-year college you plan to transfer to.
Can you imagine arriving at your new four-year college and finding out most of your credits don’t count towards a four-year degree?
Instead, you need to read up on the time limits for the four-year college you plan to transfer to. Certain colleges won’t accept credits that were earned more than several years ago; sometimes even as little as a year. So it is best to double check with their admissions office.
If you find yourself having taken classes that are not accepted by the four-year college, you could always try appealing the decision.
In order to do so you should review the appeals process for the specific four-year college you plan on transferring to. The appeals process can be especially useful if you did very well on a class that your four-year college refuses to recognize.
These reasons should demonstrate why you need to put some forethought into the classes you take, the credits you earn, and how you go about preparing to transfer. While you can always take more classes or switch focus to another major, in the end you can’t be at community college forever. Your best bet is to plan ahead, make some wise decisions, and then reap the rewards of transferring to a four-year college.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll even transfer to an Ivy League school. Good luck!
About The Author
With diverse experience having worked for a congressional campaign during the 2008 election, Isaac Juarez is now a writer for loans.org, an online lending authority featuring news, advice, and financing options. Having studied abroad in the UK during his senior year at the University of California in Riverside, Isaac presents a well-rounded perspective on the world of college financing.