Originally Posted: Jun 7, 2011
Last Updated: Jul 8, 2015
The benefits of transferring are numerous. Here's what students from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have to say about their transition to a four-year university.
Jessica Lautmann transferred to Marquette University as a junior. She is now a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and an advocate of the transfer process. “I love this campus because of its amazing sense of community that you can really feel, from a stranger holding a door to a professor taking the time to learning students' names,” she says. “This was a perfect fit for me!”
Transferring to a four-year college or university can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Collaboration between two-year and four-year institutions to enhance and ease the transfer transition has exploded on a national and international level. Four-year colleges and universities greatly recognize the gifts that students transferring to their institutions from two-year colleges bring to their campus communities. The recruitment of transfer students now rivals recruitment efforts offered to the traditional freshman population. The wealth of opportunities available to students enrolled at community colleges is staggering—high-tech academic facilities, counseling and guidance support services, campus activities, honor societies—and it helps open the doors for a smooth transition to a four-year institution.
So now that you know the transfer process isn’t as scary as you might believe, why shouldn’t you take the plunge?
Four-year colleges and universities help you continue on the path of academic and career success. As you seamlessly move from your two-year experience, you will find the academic opportunities get broader. “Within my major, I have professors who share a variety of diverse viewpoints that help us develop our own perspectives within my chosen field,” says Erin Shwango, a junior studying political science. When you enter your late sophomore/early junior year, you will be ready and prepared to select your academic major. This allows for deeper involvement with your faculty as you engage in discussion of your chosen field of study, group projects, presentations, and research opportunities.
Academic facilities at four-year colleges and universities offer outstanding resources. You can expect great libraries, research laboratories, writing and language learning centers, simulation labs, media and production studios, performing arts centers, campus art museums, patient observation centers, and health clinics. Your engagement with these facilities will promote a love for lifelong learning.
Making your own mark
As seasoned college students, four-year colleges and universities look forward to your contributions to their campus. Also, a welcoming community of widely diverse students awaits your arrival, so you don’t have to worry about not fitting in. It’s easy to start meeting new people just by joining student clubs. You can expand upon your previous campus involvement and continue the development of important leadership skills in organizations that range in type: academic, spiritual/religious, media, government, pre-professional, multicultural, and Greek life. Service-based organizations allow you to connect your new campus to the greater needs of the surrounding community. And don’t forget about athletics! Four-year campuses abound with school spirit as you get involved in intramural, club, and intercollegiate sports—or if you’re just a great fan. Or perhaps you bring a unique interest with you? It’s easy to start your own organization!
Stephanie Stopka is a senior who serves as Vice President of the University’s student government association and majors in political science. Her involvement with campus activities has been a great learning experience for her. “Over the last year, I have been able to take on active leadership roles within social clubs as well as academic organizations,” she shares. “I have learned more about myself as a leader and the type of leader I want to become as an adult.”
You can take your academic experience to another place; the opportunity to explore and experience other cultures is abundant at four-year colleges and universities. Attending a study abroad program—for a summer or semester—will enhance your academic studies, language development, independence, and stretch your mind just by hanging out with your new neighbors. The world is your playground.
Cassey Milroy, a senior, shares, “I studied this past spring semester in Madrid, Spain, which was great because as a Spanish major, I was able to immerse myself in the language and culture. In fact, I lived with a Spanish family. It was a huge growing experience, as I was put in a completely foreign environment and learned how to navigate my way around the country and continent, greatly increasing my self-reliance and confidence to handle the unknown. I want to go back!”
Probably the most unique aspect of the four-year campus is the opportunity to live with your peers. Four-year colleges and universities offer a wide selection of on- and off-campus living options. Residential life develops relationship-building skills and provides a better sense of the campus community. “Living with others helps you to better understand how to communicate more efficiently,” says Katie Simoncic, a sophomore majoring in communication studies. “In a residence hall you are immersed with so many other people that you learn how to adapt and grow by recognizing what each person brings to the table. It is not always easy, but it is really fun.”
Defining your career path after college can be overwhelming. You have started the path already, and advisors and counselors at four-year colleges and universities will help you continue on the wide road of your own personal discovery. The four-year degree is your starting point for professional school, graduate school, and the world of work. People are proud of their alma maters—and alumni connections and networking through the campus career services office or academic departments will be invaluable to you when you start your career. You will be connected with a wealth of opportunities.
Four-year schools tend to have larger career centers with several prospects for students. Many people now graduate with one, if not several, internship experiences, which allow you to connect your academic experiences to the world of work, provide exposure to various career fields, observe the professional environment, discern your career path, and network with professionals in that field. “My internship has helped me apply what I have learned in the classroom to a real-life work setting,” says Tom Klind, a senior majoring in public relations and theology. “It is fulfilling to see my daily work at my internship actually show up in the company’s publications. I am definitely benefiting from the professional networking with employees and their clients.”
It’s in your court
As you explore all of the options ahead of you to complete your four-year degree and find your perfect fit, Jessica provides the following tips to transfer students: “As a transfer, I would recommend getting involved right away and don't be afraid to introduce yourself to people and ask questions—they will be more welcoming than you think. Transferring to a new school can have its challenges but for me it was absolutely worth it!”