Community colleges have gained a lot of attention recently. They’re a cheaper alternative to a typical four-year school, allowing students to graduate with little to no debt after college. According to the Community College Research Center, 8.2 million undergraduate students enrolled in public two-year schools in 2018-19, and I was one of them.
Community colleges only provide enough education for an associate’s degree or about the first two years’ worth in a four-year establishment. If a student wants to get a bachelor’s, they’ll need to transfer to a different school.
For a lot of community college students, the thought of transferring is in the back of their minds. They may have already looked at which school they want to transfer to, or they may hold off the search until they’re closer to the end of their first or second year. The choice may change during their time at community college after they’ve taken some classes in their initially chosen field and decide it’s not for them.
If a student changes their plans, they may find themselves a bit lost as to what they want to do with their life. Thankfully, there are a lot of options for them at community colleges.
They may just change majors to a simple Liberal Arts major, which allows them to remain undecided and take classes in different fields. They may also take advantage of the resources the community colleges have specifically for finding a career. And the people working at the college are always willing to help in the search, whether they be professors or advisors.
It may take some time, but a student will eventually conclude what they want to pursue professionally. They’ll change their major to their field if they can, and then look at schools that have a program in their chosen field. The student will get in contact with the school’s admissions office to discuss the process of transferring there from community college. If they like what they’re hearing, they’ll schedule a tour of the school, much like what a high schooler would do if they didn’t go to a community college. From there, it’s up to the student to decide where to go.
Once the student decides where to transfer to, they may look to take classes that will fulfill requirements at their chosen school if the community college doesn’t have a major in their field. They’ll keep in contact with their future school to make sure they’re on the right track and also to ensure all their credits from community college will transfer. Not every credit may transfer, but if the community college and four-year school have an agreement, all of the important ones will.
Finally, once the student is done at community college (whether they graduated with an associate’s or transferred before then), they’ll arrive at their new school with several questions and fears in their minds. Will I be treated like a freshman when I’m beyond that point? Will I be able to make new friends? Will I succeed in my classes? Will it be as good as they made it seem when I visited? All of these are valid questions, but most often the answer will be what they’re looking for, as long as the student is invested enough.
And that’s what it all really boils down to: the student. The student is responsible for their grades, their relationships and their expectations. If they struggle, they’ll find they have the help they need at the four-year school just like at the community college.
At least, that’s if the school is a good one. If you’re a transfer student here at Waynesburg, just like me, you’ll know that Waynesburg University is a good school and will set you up to succeed. You just have to do your part and take responsibility.