The community college offers a more accessible and affordable pathway to a four-year degree. Admissions requirements are lower than the average university, and tuition costs are far more reasonable. As college admission standards continue to rise, more and more students seem to be warming up to the transfer concept. Depending on your community college program, you might even have a guaranteed agreement to transfer to certain universities (as long as you fulfill their requirements). Below, we’ve outlined the essential steps for college transfers to take place without a hitch.
In many ways, community college is a means to an end. You’re gaining valuable knowledge that will take you into university life, but that should always be the goal. From the very first semester, you should be learning about requirements for your top transfer schools, and then planning your community college schedule accordingly. As soon as you figure out these details, you can relax and enjoy those first two years of college life, instead of stressing about not having enough credits down the road.
With an “articulation agreement”, community colleges have made navigating the transfer process even easier. This official document explains exactly what prerequisites you’ll need to satisfy in order to transfer to a particular school, as well as minimum GPA requirements. Before enrolling in your first community college courses, we recommend doing a quick online search or speaking with an advisor to see your school’s agreement. Do it early, so you don’t regret it later!
The transfer process becomes a lot more manageable when you have a rough idea of what you’d like to study at university. Once you decide on a major, you can start plotting out which prerequisites can be fulfilled at the community college level, and this will ensure you’re well-prepared when it comes time to transfer. Not only that but completing lower-division requirements at a community college will save you money too.
College advisors are your friends, so please don’t be afraid. They have a wealth of knowledge about the transfer process, and they’re happy to share it. We recommend meeting with an advisor as soon as you enroll in community college, so they can lay out a practical roadmap for transferring to your top schools. After that, you should see them at least once a semester to stay on track.
This suggestion might seem obvious, but every university has distinct requirements for transfer students. Certain electives and specialized courses will not be eligible for transfer credit, and though it’s great to explore a few of those, they can eventually slow down the process. Each semester, make sure that you’ve plotted out your necessary courses before selecting any fun electives.
Applying to a university and applying to a specific program isn’t the same. Although there is a general university application, you’ll also want to complete any program materials at the same time. This will ensure that when you’re accepted to the university, you’ll also be accepted into your desired program. Deadlines may be earlier for the program paperwork, so don’t wait until the last minute!
Short for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the FAFSA is a nationwide form that allows you to benefit from any relevant grants, scholarships, work-study, and student loans. Many universities also have designated scholarships for transfer students, so it’s worth contacting the admissions office to see what you qualify for. Click here to go to their website.
Finally, you should come into your university life without preconceptions, and try to keep a positive attitude about the experience. This will especially help you during orientation week. Even though you’ve technically had two years of college, this is your first week at a new school. Think of it as a huge opportunity to make friends, join a club or two, and venture outside of your comfort zone.