How To Transfer from Community College

One of the primary purposes of community college is to allow someone to complete their first two years of a bachelor’s degree before transferring to a four year to finish the upper division work.

However, it can be a slow process. It took me three years to finish my work at community college before I transferred to UC Davis.

It’s entirely possible to do a community college run in the advertised two years. Just ask my best friend, who transferred from his community college to UC Berkeley in just two brisk years.

It’s not easy, but following this five step plan will help you make the most efficient use of your time at community college.

1. Consult your school’s transfer advisor

This is something you should do as soon as possible because this is extremely important. Visit your school’s transfer center and make an appointment with an advisor. The advisor is an expert on the transfer process and should know the answers to any questions you may have.

I can’t stress the importance of contacting an advisor enough. My brother spent a longer time at community college than he needed to because he didn’t arrange a meeting with the advisor. My best friend was constantly meeting with his advisor. The advisor can help you through most of the steps on this list.

2. Pick a major

The main idea of transferring is that you finish your general education requirements and lower division work for your major at the community college before transferring to a four year university where you’ll complete the upper division work for your major. Obviously, this means you need to pick a major before you know what lower division work you need to accomplish.

This can be really easy or really tough. Part of the reason I took three years to transfer was because I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I spent the first two years cleaning up my general education requirements before I decided upon my major at the start of my third year.

In contrast, my friend who is going to UC Berkeley entered community college with the intent to major in English, although this shifted to Art History after a year. Having a major in mind helped him more easily plan out his classes.

3. Settle on a destination

Once you’ve decided on a potential major, you should decide on which school to attend. This is important to do after you pick your major because you can research which college would be the best one to attend.

Another thing that you should factor into your college decision is your community college’s transfer agreements, which will take some of the uncertainty out of the process. For example, my community college had an agreement with the University of California system in which I could be guaranteed admission to one of seven UC campuses by completing certain requirements. It’s not perfect, however: my friend couldn’t rely on one to get into UC Berkeley.

A similar program exists in New York. Students who have an AA or AS degree from a State University of New York community college are guaranteed admission to a SUNY four year institution. The important thing is to find out what your state does and take advantage of it.

4. Plan your schedule

Now that you’ve got the preliminary work out of the way, you can begin to plan the courses you need to take. Since you’ve met with your advisor and researched schools, you should know what your dream school wants you to do before they’ll accept you.

You don’t have to necessarily design these plans from scratch. The UC and CSU systems have a program called IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) which designates which courses at your community college serve as the lower division general education requirements. Your advisor will know more information about the program you need to follow.

5. Work Hard

Just following the plan won’t get you into your dream college. You need to get good grades. For instance, my TAG agreement with UC Davis was only valid if I earned a B in a statistics course. As long as you succeed, you’ll be fine.

That’s all there is to it! As long as you meet with the counselor as soon as possible, the rest of the steps simply fall into place. It’s also easier than it sounds, so don’t fret. Good luck!

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John Kesler

John Kesler

John Kesler is a senior studying communication at the University of California, Davis. If he is on campus, he can be found in the basement offices of the newspaper or the radio station. At home, he enjoys listening to whatever music he can, reading whatever books he can, and taking walks wherever he can.
John Kesler

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