Is Transferring from Community College to a University Easy?

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Students attend community college for a number of reasons, but one of the top reasons is to better prepare themselves to attend and get a bachelor's degree from a four-year university. If this is your ultimate goal, then you're probably wondering whether the process of transferring will be difficult or easy.

Transferring CAN Be Easy

Fortunately for you, the transferring process from a community college to a university can be quite easy as long as you make a plan and are willing to put in the work and effort required to make it happen.

So what exactly will you have to do? Follow these tips to ensure that your transfer will go smoothly so you can continue on your educational journey.

Make a Plan

If you have a goal, making a plan to achieve that goal is the best thing you can do. Why? Because having a plan will keep you on track to make sure you're doing the right things at the appropriate time.

student writing a plan

First, you'll want to define your educational goals. What kind of degree do you want to get? What do you want to major in? What kind of career and job do you want after you graduate? Determining the answers to these questions will help you make a degree plan and decide which courses to take.

Once you know your educational goals, you should start thinking about which universities you'd want to transfer to. It's important to plan for this ahead of transferring because every school has different requirements. You want to make sure that everything you do during your time at community college will help you get accepted to your university.

You should also talk to your community college advisor and tell them about your plan to transfer to a university. This way, your advisor knows your goals from the get-go and can help you make decisions and offer pertinent advice to make sure you're sticking to your plan and are on track to transfer.

Research the University Requirements

Now that you have a plan, you need to gather as much information as you can about the transferring process and the university's requirements for admission. Many community colleges have articulation agreements with four-year universities to make transferring pretty easy.

An articulation agreement details what is necessary to transfer from one college institution to another. Particularly, these agreements will let you know which courses and credits will be accepted and what the GPA requirements are. Check with your community college advisor, look at this handy chart depending on your state, or simply plug in your colleges here to determine if your community college has a partnership in place with a university.

If your school doesn't have an articulation agreement in place, don't worry. Reach out to your university of choice by checking their website or talking with an admissions or transfer advisor there to make sure you know their requirements, whether your credits will transfer, and what grades you will need to get accepted.

college textbooks
When you have this information, you can plan your schedule and take classes you know will transfer. You don't want to be stuck in a situation where you took a bunch of community college classes that you won't get credit for at a university. You also don't want to have to re-take a class that you already took because you'll end up paying for it. Twice.

If you do everything the right way, you could enter your four-year university as a junior!

Finish Your Associate's Degree

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, about 60 percent of community college students who transfer to a four-year university graduate with a bachelor's degree or a higher degree within four years. That number doesn't seem too bad, but if the community college student has earned their associate's degree before transferring, that number increases to 71 percent!

graduating students

This means if you're serious about going to a four-year university and earning a bachelor's degree or even a higher degree, you're more likely to do it after you've already earned your associate's degree.

Want to know more? Check out these other community college transfer statistics.

Other Tips for Transferring to a University

In addition to the above tips, here are a few other things to keep in mind if you plan to transfer from a community college to a university:

  • Communicate with your community college advisor regularly to make sure you're taking the right classes and doing the right things to make your transfer possible.
  • Research the university you want to attend and speak to an admissions advisor. Let them know you're interested in transferring and see if there's any information they can provide to help. It could also be helpful to network with professors and see if there are any programs you could participate in to make yourself stand out.
  • Stick to your school's transfer application deadline so you don't miss out on getting accepted.
  • Apply for financial aid when you're in community college and when you plan to go to a university. Your school might have scholarships available specifically for transfer students, so make sure you know about them.

Transferring to a university from a community college might seem like a daunting task, but it can be a smooth and easy process if you follow these tips and do well in your classes!

By Melissa Kreindel
December 2017
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