Community colleges are attractive to a broad range of students, who need affordable educational programs focused on special interests. In the fall 2015, 24% of full-time undergraduates were attending community colleges. The American higher education is known for the extreme costs associated with it. Thanks to community colleges, low-income students get access to education.
However, many community college students want to step up their education and earn a bachelor degree, so they usually opt for a transfer program. Although university education costs a lot, many students explore scholarship options, as w ell as the opportunity to work while studying. According to a report published by the Community College Research Center, 33% of the students who enter a community college transfer to a 4-year institution.
Are you one of the community college students considering this option? Then this article will provide you with essential tips and the most common mistakes you need to consider before you begin the transfer.
Steps to Take When Transferring to University
- Choose your target university as soon as possible. You need to know what requirements you should meet, so you can focus on them while you’re at a community college.
- Arrange a meeting with a transfer adviser at the university you’re interested in. They will provide proper guidelines for you to follow.
- Some private colleges require you to get the associate’s degree before you transfer, and others prefer it. With proper planning and depending on the situation, however, you may make an early transfer.
- Explore scholarships! This should be an ongoing process. Don’t forget to put the application deadlines in your Google Calendar and set reminders in order not to miss any chances to get a scholarship.
Now that we got the preparations out of the way, we can focus on an equally important aspect: avoiding the mistakes most students make when transferring.
Mistakes that Affect Your Chances to Transfer to University
- Not Knowing What Transfers
If you don’t know what courses are transferable to colleges and universities, you’ll end up taking the wrong ones at community college. This means you can’t make an early transfer since you’ll lack the credits necessary for it. Take the courses with a single goal: they help you get to university.
- Not Considering the Options
Yes, you do need to focus on a target university when working towards a transfer. However, this doesn’t mean you should be completely inflexible regarding this decision. Examine both private and public 4-year institutions and visit few campuses, so you’ll choose the perfect school for your needs and goals.
- Avoiding the FAFSA
FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, looks too detailed and hard to complete. Many students think they qualify anyway, so they decide to send an application on their own terms. The truth is that scholarship committees prefer the FAFSA. It gives them a format that’s easy to evaluate.
- Not Providing Parent Information in the FAFSA
Many students are paying their own bills and filing their taxes, so they think the parent information in the application is irrelevant. Still, they may be considered dependent students according to the dependency guidelines determined by the Congress. Don’t skip this part of the application!
- Not Writing an Impressive Transfer Application Essay
The appeal of your essay will make or break the application for transfer. Peter Nelson, a college essay and test prep tutor from Superior Papers shared actionable tips for students to follow when completing their application essays:
- Focus on a particular interest or event that shows why this university is the perfect choice for you. Show how you’ll contribute towards the diversity and development of its community.
- Don’t use flowery language. Admission officers hate it.
- This is a personal essay, but it shouldn’t be too in Avoid the language you use when talking to your friends.
- Do not send the application before you revise and edit the essay for a few times, so you’ll get down to its finest version.
- Not Clarifying Your Questions
The course of transferring may seem quite perplexing and can make you feel unrest by raising many questions along the way. Putting down all your queries is a good way not to miss the point and figure out all the essential details that can make a difference in your application process.
- Not Keeping Touch with the Transfer Adviser
All universities enable community college students to get guidance. Not setting a meeting with an adviser is a big mistake. Moreover, your communication with the adviser won’t be limited to a single meeting. You should keep them updated with your plans and the steps you’re taking towards the transfer, so you’ll get all the tips you need.
- Not Visiting the Campus before Applying for the Transfer
You have to be 100% sure this is the university you want to go to. Take a tour! Sit on a class, see the dorm rooms, and use the opportunity to talk to a faculty member, so you’ll get more information about the major you’re interested in.
- Stressing Out
The transfer process demands focus and effort. It’s normal to be concerned about the way things turn out. However, it’s important to stay cool, meet the people you need to meet, and have a plan. When you do things according to a plan and you get proper guidance, you’ll overcome the stress.
- Leaving Everything Until the Last Minute
Start preparing for your university transfer early. You will need to do everything thoroughly since it is your future at stake. That means making mistakes is very probable when the application deadline is dangerously close. Allocate your time wisely to map out your best course of actions.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you make a smooth transition. The most important thing is to develop a detailed plan and stay focused. Use your time at your community college to work towards the transfer!
Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships. Talk to her on Facebook and Twitter.
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