Transfer from Community College to Four-Year Degrees: The 2 + 2 Plan

by A Guest Author

Transfer from Community College to 4 Year College DegreeThe 2 + 2 plan - the notion that students commence their postsecondary education at a two-year community college before transferring to the final two years of a four-year degree course is by no means a new concept. Indeed, a study from the National Student Clearinghouse indicates that an incredible 45% of students who successfully completed a four-year degree course in 2010-2011 started their higher education at a two-year community college. This data shows just how significant a role that community colleges play in the provision of a sound educational foundation for those students who wish to continue their studies and ultimately earn a bachelor degree.

The benefits of attending a community college before transferring to a four-year degree course are numerous. Depending on their personal circumstances, students may place value on the flexibility of community college, the vocational nature of many of the courses, or the relaxed rules concerning English language skills. For many students, however, the foremost benefit and one which will be a prevalent factor in the decision to pursue a 2 + 2 plan is the reduced cost. Aside from the fact that many community college students continue to live at home thus saving money on expensive temporary accommodation, community college tuition costs and fees can be around 50% lower than those incurred at a four-year college.

Plus, you can transfer from community college to Ivy League >>

It’s an attractive proposition, but it’s worth pointing out that data from the National Student Clearinghouse survey looked at the number of years between degree completion at four-year institutions and the most recent enrollment at a community college and found that just under half of the graduates surveyed took an additional four years or longer to complete their degree. So why the discrepancy? Surely the very nature of a 2 + 2 plan means that the majority of students would complete their degree within two years of transferring from community college to a four-year program? Otherwise, shouldn’t it be called a 2 + 4 plan?

Stephen Handel, Ph.D., Executive Director of Community College Initiatives for The College Board points out the need to ensure that the credits students earn from community college classes will be accepted at their choice of four-year college. If they are, this will allow the student to start at their four-year institution as a junior, thus saving the student both time and money. Handel advises that students opt for a transfer program at community college. Such programs, often called articulation agreements, are specifically designed to cover the same type of topics and courses that the student would have taken had they gone straight into a four-year program.

Ensuring that the time invested in education as a community college student is credited as part of a four-year degree course is often a matter of simple planning. Students should not assume that their credits will transfer. Considerable help is available for those who have the motivation to seek it out. Information can be gathered from high school counselors, community college websites, the admission office of the two-year community college students are considering attending, and the transfer advisors at potential four-year colleges. Students will not only need to be aware of whether their community college credits can be transferred to four-year courses, but also any grade requirements that are in place. There is often a minimum GPA associated with successful transfers from community college to four-year degrees.

Making the transition to a four-year course from a community college student is undoubtedly a wise move for those students who wish to pursue a bachelor degree without incurring the costs normally involved. Planning ahead and understanding the details in advance can make the process smoother.

About the Author

Linda Forshaw is a Business Information Systems graduate from Lancaster University in the UK. A frequent contributor to Degree Jungle, she is a full time writer and blogger specializing in education, social media, and entrepreneurship. Contact her on Twitter @seelindaplay

This post was written by A Guest Author

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