When 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.