Starting at a community college to earn your bachelor's degree is a smart move that can save thousands of dollars but there are some risks. Over 80% of students who begin at community colleges desire to earn a bachelor's degree but unfortunately, five years after entering, fewer than 25% make the move to a four year campus. The good news is that with knowledge and planning, missteps are easily avoidable. You can chart a direct course from your community or technical college to the bachelor's degree of your dreams with The Transfer Coach at Community College Transfer LLC. We're available to help students and parents assess their plans to earn a bachelor's degree starting at the community college. With our experience, we'll take the guesswork out and create a smooth, personalized and successful transfer process. Use the Contact tab or call us at 843-501-9064 to find out more about what we can do for you at Community College Transfer, LLC.
From Community College to Your Four Year Degree
Even when your ultimate goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a four year college or university, there are many great reasons to begin at a community or technical college: price, location and convenience, just to name a few. The community college has been built to be responsive to the many challenges facing students today and its’ flexibility provides attractive options. Consider some of the advantages of starting at a two year college and get some tips on successfully navigating your path to your four year degree.
Cost is often a factor in the decision to attend a community college. Tuition is typically less than half the cost of four year public colleges and an even smaller fraction of the price tag at private four year institutions.
Location is another great benefit. Students who choose to stay at or near home have access to all they need to achieve their educational goals, right in their own backyards.
Flexibility is another plus. Community colleges often offer day, evening, online, hybrid and weekend classes that fit into the schedules of students who are busy juggling work, family and other demands. And last, but not least, transferability is a great benefit. Community colleges offer the first two years of a bachelor’s degree at less than half the price. Students can earn credits without assuming high levels of debt. Smaller classes and faculty dedicated to teaching can provide a supportive experience that can prepare students to excel in coursework at the four year college or university of their choice. When students march across the stage to receive their bachelor’s degrees on that proud day of graduation, they all receive the same piece of paper, nicely secured in a prestigious folder. Whether a student begins at that four year college or transfers in, the degree is the same. The community college can be a great stepping stone to a very impressive credential.
TIPS FOR TRANSFER SUCCESS
Plan With The End In Mind
The most important piece of advice for any student planning to earn their first two years at the community college before transferring to earn their bachelor’s degree is to plan with the end in mind. Every course selected must be considered with the destination college in mind. One of the greatest challenges for transfer students is not having all of their credits accepted by the receiving institution. Courses not accepted represent time and money wasted. Students should check with their intended transfer institution each semester to be sure that the classes they are taking are necessary and applicable to their desired bachelor’s degree program.
Connect With Your Transfer Institution
There is great benefit in connecting with your transfer institution even before you enroll at your community college. Your ultimate educational destination should always be in the forefront of your mind and your plans. Make connections early so that you have a contact person for your questions, an advocate for your success, and someone to communicate information to you that may be of value in your transition. An advisor from the program in which you hope to major is an invaluable asset for proper course selection and sometimes they may be the instrumental voice that helps with your admission to your college or program of choice.
Your community college transcript will play a key role in the admission evaluation process at your transfer college of choice. It is important to keep your grades up so that your records illustrate your dedication to your academic goals. Attend your classes. Take exams seriously and make use of all of the support services on your community college campus. Most two year colleges offer tutoring and other supports such as workshops on study habits, test taking anxiety and time management. Maintaining a good relationship with your instructors will also keep you abreast of all the important things you need to know to do well in class.
The community college is more than a training ground for your four year institution of choice. It is a vibrant environment that offers exposure to diversity and new insights. At the community college, your classmates are recent high school graduates, older students, parents, full time employees, returning veterans and people re-tooling for their next career. The diversity of perspective is a great lesson that will help you understand and more successfully navigate our complex world. Take the opportunity to get to know other students. Join clubs and study groups. Choose to be a leader. Your record of participation and service will enhance your application to any four year institution and it will make you a more global citizen.
The cost of tuition at four year colleges and universities will greatly surpass the charges at the community college. Plan ahead to be in a position to meet the costs at the transfer university. Check out scholarships. Many colleges offer scholarships to students with strong academic records. Many universities also appreciate the experience that community college students add to their campuses. Highlight your alternate path to the degree along with the variety of experiences you bring to the table. Speak with the financial aid office at your transfer college and also search transfer and community organizations that offer private scholarships. You may need to access student loans to meet expenses. For that reason, it is very wise to avoid as much as possible taking out loans while at the community college.
Keep Your Eye On The Prize
As a transfer student, your goal to earn a bachelor’s degree must be the focus of your experience. While you will benefit from fully engaging in your classes and your community at your two year college, your path to your four year degree must be your primary consideration. Your choices and activities should always support your ultimate goal. With so much to see and do at the community college, there may be distractions. Maintaining your focus on the transfer process and establishing connections at your intended transfer college or university will ensure that you stay on track for success.