High school graduates often choose to attend community college for many different reasons, and indeed, starting your academic career in a community college can benefit you in the following ways:
- You get a chance to explore and discover your passions
- You can take prerequisite courses for less money
- You get to develop socially and emotionally in a close-knit environment
- You may get a sense of comfort from staying in your hometown
However, though an associate’s degree from a community college can be a highly valuable tool in the hands of the right person, it is often clear that a community college transfer to a university — where you can obtain your bachelor’s degree — offers greater benefits, including higher earning potential and the ability to advance further in certain career fields.
If you’re currently attending a community college and wondering how to transfer colleges and move to a four-year university, the guide below is for you.
How to Make the Leap from Community College to a Four-Year University
Complete the following steps for a successful community college transfer:
Meet With a College Advisor
As a community college transfer student, you should meet with an advisor about your future plans as early as possible. As many as 67% of community college students lose at least 13 credits when they transfer, resulting in more time spent in college and higher tuition costs as a result. An advisor can help mitigate these issues by ensuring you take classes now that your target university will give you credit for once you transfer.
Maintain a High GPA
Students currently wondering how to transfer colleges may find it difficult if they haven’t maintained good grades. Universities won’t lower their standards for community college transfers, and they’re likely to use your GPA to indicate whether you’re ready for the rigor of a four-year degree program.
Zero In on a Major
If you have enough credits as a community college transfer to enter a university as a junior, you don’t have time to lose in figuring out what you’d like to study. It’s best to use your time in community college to decide on a major to hit the ground running when you arrive on a university’s campus. Doing so will also save you money in the long run, as university education is much more expensive than that of a community college.
Check Financial Aid Opportunities
Community colleges often don’t have the money to offer extensive financial aid packages, but universities do. In understanding how to transfer colleges, ask your target school about financial aid opportunities for community college transfers, especially if you are a high achiever or come from a disadvantaged background.
Mental and Social Preparation
While community colleges are often smaller and close-knit, universities offer sprawling campuses with tens of thousands of students. If you’re concerned about the shift as a community college transfer student, you can prepare for it in the following ways:
- Talk with a counselor about your concerns
- Review course catalogs to get a sense of course requirements
- Sit in on higher-level courses at your current community college
Taking the time to prepare yourself for the mental shift will help you cope much better in the long run.
Start Preparing for Your Transition Now
Making the leap from community college to university is possible, but if you want to make it happen, you’ll have to start being more proactive about your education. Knowing how to transfer colleges may not be easy, but it will be beneficial for advancing your education and your career.