7 Tips on Transferring from Community College to a 4-Year University

wild_forest_by_willowtree123-d33bihdWhen I was a senior in high school, I was pretty confused as to what my path was going to be. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do: go to a 4 year college, go to a 2 year college, take a gap year, forgo college? When I asked adults in my life they all had different answers. Some said to go to the largest school, others suggested a gap year, others suggested not continuing my education. Asking people just left me even more confused than I already was. In the end, I decided to enroll at the 2 year college and forgo the typical “college experience”.

I don’t regret the path I choose. From starting college at a community college, to transferring after completing my Associates degree, and now completing my Bachelors degree at a 4 year university. However, through my process of transferring, I learned a few tips and tricks that I would like to share. Here are my 7 easy tips to a smooth transfer from a community college to a 4 year university.

Tip One: Do not put it off until the last minute. I was a little bit guilty of this. I put off looking at transferring for as long as possible and I wish I would have started looking at options sooner. It is not something that is easily done at the last minute. So it is always good to start planning it out in advance and figuring out a game plan as soon as possible.

Tip Two: If you know what you want to major in, take classes that would be offered at a typical four year school to stay on track. While I was attending community college, I had a pretty good idea of which university I wanted to transfer to. So, I always made sure that I was checking on the requirements to get into the major program I wanted to be in. I also checked that I was taking courses that were congruent with the course work at the 4 year university. This was helpful, because it meant I was able to enter close to where my peers were at when I did transfer and was able to avoid taking lower level courses in my major program.

Tip Three: Take a variety of classes while at the 2 year university prior to transferring. Not only will taking a variety of courses satisfy your general education requirements and go towards completion of an Associates degree, if you are going for one, it may also help you decide on your major or even inspire you to change your major. Deciding if you want to change your major is a better choice to make before transferring is done, as it will be cheaper and then easier to transfer under your new major.

Tip Four: Take control of your education, both prior to and during transfering. There are definitely people who are going to be willing to help you plan your schedules and figure out a plan. However, your best advocate is you. Make sure you are working towards transferring in the best way possible for you, this is your journey and your decisions to make.

Tip Five: Consider getting your Associate’s degree. It might seem like a pain, but it has been a true blessing for me. Some times, 4 year universities will waive general education requirements you would otherwise have to take if you were a transfer student without an Associates. This was the case at the school I transferred to, I was able to get out of some general education classes and focus on classes that were more relevant to my major. It is also a chance to get an extra degree that could be useful for jobs while you are still in school getting your Bachelors.

Tip Six: Visit universities you are considering transferring to. Prior to choosing a 4 year to transfer to, consider visiting and touring the universities you are interested in. This will help you determine if the school you are looking at is the best option for you, or perhaps change your 2nd choice into your 1st choice.

This last tip is more of an overall tip, not necessarily related to transferring, that is important to keep in mind as a college student who has chosen a different path.

Tip Seven: Don’t let others discourage you for your choice of higher education. Often times when I explained what my college plan was, I was faced with people who were inconsiderate and didn’t understand my choices. They acted like where I was receiving the first 2 years of my college education wasn’t as good as a 4 year would be. At first it bothered me, but I eventually realized that it didn’t matter what others thought of my college experience, because it was what I wanted and thought was best for me.

Green Ribbon to Blue Ribbon: My Greatest Achievement

a nutter canadian beauty

When I was 12, I started a new activity; I started showing llamas with my local 4H program. I started because I thought it would be fun, unique, and interesting. What I didn’t know was that showing would lead to one of my greatest accomplishments.

As many people may not be aware how showing a llama works, I’m going to run through a few basics. First off, there are three main showing events: showmanship, halter, and obstacle. In obstacle, the llama is lead through various obstacles that a llama is not necessarily comfortable with, like jumps, hoops, and other obstructions. In halter, the llama is judged on how well they compare to the ideal llama build, as well as how they compare to other llamas being shown in the class. Then there is showmanship; in this event the judge assesses the handler’s ability to show the llama and llama-related knowledge. Secondly, showing a llama is tough work. The handler has to work hard at training or refreshing the training of the animal. They have to be patient, persevere through tough times, and practice in order to be ready to show. They also need to build a relationship of trust and understanding with the llama.

Another thing to know, I hated showmanship when I first started, as most kids do. While the other two events focus more on the llama’s abilities and structure, this class is focused mostly on the handler. It consists of running through patterns, showing the llama, and answering llama related questions. All of this is to determine which kid is the best handler, in both their show ability and knowledge. I mostly didn’t like it because when I started, I wasn’t very good at it.

My first year I showed a llama named Sirennas Angel, a llama that was owned by the director of the llama/alpaca program in my county. We worked together all spring in order to be ready for the summer show. Siernnas Angel was a white llama with a long neck and great conformation. Due to her build and look we easily placed well in halter. We even did okay in obstacle, even if she was a bit of a brat that day and refused to attempt a few obstacles. However, when it came to showmanship I completely bombed. We ended up coming 7th in a class of 7 other 4H members and received a green ribbon. I was completely crushed that I could do so poorly at something I had worked hard at.

However, I didn’t let this failure get to me. Instead, I came back the next year even more motivated to do well, and I did. Each year, I got progressively better and better in my showmanship classes, inching closer and closer to that first place prize and blue ribbon.

Five years later, I stepped into the show ring handling a different llama, Beauty (that’s her picture on the top of this post). However, it wasn’t only the llama that was different, so was I. Stepping into the ring, I felt confident, calm, and collected, very much unlike the girl in the ring five years prior. I completed the pattern, showed my llama as well as I possibly could, and answered every question the judge threw at me. When it came time for the judge to place us, I felt oddly at ease. I knew Beauty and I had done our best and that it was all up to the judge now. After what felt like forever, the judge handed her score card to the announcers. They started calling out names, first 6th place, then 5th, then 4th, then 3rd, then 2nd. It was then that I realized that my name had yet to be called. I had won 1st place in the class, I finally had my blue ribbon in showmanship.

Out of all my achievements in life, thus far, placing first in showmanship and receiving that blue ribbon has been my greatest achievement. Although some people might think it’s silly and shallow, I would disagree. It’s not my greatest achievement because I won a blue ribbon. I view it as my greatest achievement because of my journey from last to first.  I started off at the bottom, and through perseverance, patience, and practice I was able to come out on top. It is a true example of hard work resulting in just reward.

Although, the blue ribbon was a pretty cool perk.