As a student in community college, you will be faced with two options: complete your associate’s degree and head out into the workforce, or move on to a four-year school and then figure out what to do from there. Transferring to a four-year school to complete a bachelor’s degree should be a simple process, but as requirements at every school are different, it becomes complicated. Here are my tips on how to make this transition as smooth as possible. I am not an expert, and can only speak from my own personal experiences. These are things I wish someone had said to me when I started with community college.
First, determine what school you want to attend. This gives you a goal to work toward and criteria to meet. Make sure that you complete all of the classes that are expected to be finished by your second year at your four-year school. I wasted time and money by not doing this, and didn’t realize that the school I wanted to transfer to required twelve credits of science curriculum, not six, like my community college needed for me to graduate. I could have substituted out electives and taken those science classes at a lower cost at my community college had I known about this. I probably could have added an extra minor had I made a more concerted effort to figure out what my university needed for me to graduate.
Second, don’t only consider your community college’s sister school. I attended a community college that fed into a university that was expansive and impressive, but their program for my major wasn’t a program I was interested in. The school I ended up attending had great campus culture and smaller majors, and I felt like I was given individualized attention among thousands. Doing this requires research. Sister schools will often have the same course numbers and names to avoid confusion, which doesn’t apply to all other schools. I had to call my university multiple times to ask them to accept a class that was called “Intro to International Politics” at my community college and “Intro to International Relations” at the four year school. Research is key to not having to repeat classes or waste money.
Finally, remember that four-year schools are a whole different beast culturally and socially than community colleges. I graduated high school, and half my graduating class went to my community college. I knew people, could walk down the halls and always find a friendly face, and was able to hang out with my high school friends for an extra year and a half. Four-year state universities are often densely populated, and because I had to move to attend the school I did, I had to adjust to a new school and living situation very quickly. Preparing for that move and that new culture is important to your success at the university level.
I hope this series has helped anyone who is looking to go to community college. Remember, college is about your experience, so however you go about it, remember that your choices are yours alone, and that the work you put in is very much worth it. I wish you luck in your education adventure!