Black counselor in blue sweater with White male student working on laptop

Your Transfer Counselors: How to Make the Most of Their Assistance

Worried about the transfer process? Don’t be. People are in your corner: Your transfer counselors. Here's how you can make the most of their mentorship.

Did you know that on average more than 80% of students attending community colleges indicate they want to earn a bachelor’s degree? With millions of students enrolled in these institutions, that’s an incredible amount of moving around. In reality, only 20% of those students actually end up making the move to a four-year school.  As a transfer counselor, I always took the initiative to connect with transfer students because, quite frankly, transferring is too darn difficult without some long-term planning in place. And the relationships you develop over your academic careers are paramount to your success. Why would the transfer process be any different?

Anything new can be daunting, which is why there are people like transfer counselors there to make it easier. Students face countless barriers to higher education, but what many don’t realize is there are people in place at both two- and four-year colleges whose job it is to reduce those barriers. If you’re among the community college students who intend to earn a bachelor’s degree by way of a two-year degree, your relationships with the transfer professionals at both your current and intended institutions will be crucial to your ability to persist.

Get to know both your transfer counselors

The transfer process is different at every college and university. Some schools will maintain a level of competition for transfer admission, while others strive to be a landing place for all transfer students. And every transfer student is so different too. You come to us with varying academic backgrounds that ultimately will impact your experience at a new institution. Therefore, you must rely on both your current and intended institutions’ transfer counselors to access the necessary information to transfer smoothly and in a manner that saves you the most time and money.

College is an enormous investment, not only in the knowledge necessary for your career but also in the resources that will help you get there. Resources like transfer advisors are part of what you’re paying for, so use them! As a transfer counselor, learning about local and regional community colleges helps me better understand applicants. Getting to know other transfer counselors at these institutions gives me the opportunity to partner with the people already invested in these students’ success. Transfer counselors do their jobs better together, and as partners in this process, we offer pathways and agreements geared toward making your transfer experience better. All with best practices in mind, counselors work together for you. The better you get to know both your counselors, the better they’re able to work together to get you where you want to be.

Related: How to Avoid These 5 Common Transfer Student Mistakes

Understand how credits transfer

Colleges and universities have varying standards on how many credits will transfer and what makes a course transferable to a college. This information will impact your completion timeline and ultimately your overall cost of education. If you’re attending community college to keep your total college costs down, you must get the answers to these questions. Many students believe an associate degree is the first step to a two-plus-two-equals-four situation that results in a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes this is true, but not always. An associate degree doesn’t guarantee that you’ll earn a bachelor’s degree in only two more years.

Most four-year institutions and community colleges have articulation agreements that make the transfer process easier. These pathways sometimes come with great perks, like waived application fees or less complex application procedures. To find out about specific transfer pathway opportunities and other nuances of the transfer process, start working with the transfer counselors available to you ASAP.

Related: Fighting for Your Education: An Expert Look Into Transfer Credits

Tell us your story

We want to work with you through the transfer process to achieve your goals together. We want you to find success as a student, and sometimes that means being realistic about your options. The more details you provide about your specific needs and goals, the easier the transfer process will be. You’re transferring for a reason—maybe it was always your goal, or perhaps you had a sudden realization about your intended major or career path and need to pursue it elsewhere. Whatever the reason, how you arrived at the decision to transfer colleges is imperative for transfer counselors to understand how to best serve you. Counselors need answers to questions like:

  • Do you have children or another financial obligation to your family?
  • Do you aspire to earn a master’s or doctoral degree?
  • Do you have a learning difference?
  • Are you a veteran?
  • Did you take college-level courses while earning your high school diploma?

The answers to these questions and many more impact nearly everything about your transfer process; from filling out the application to selecting courses once you’re admitted and enrolled, knowing how you’ve arrived helps me figure out where to point you next.

And you know what? Hearing student stories is the very best part of my job. I get to know students as individuals, not just as a stack of paper on my desk. You get to share your excitement about starting a new academic experience and describe why you want to pursue your goals. Hearing your stories helps counselors guide you in this next step of your education toward the life you aspire to have. Once they understand you better, they can help you realize that goal. Sometimes that means having an honest conversation about whether their college offers the best route for you to meet those goals. Those are tough conversations to have, but having them can make all the difference.

Related: 4 Steps You Can Take to Succeed as a Transfer Student

Transferring colleges is a tricky business, and transfer counselors are essential to navigating the process. Taking advantage of their knowledge and networks can be the difference between persisting on to a bachelor’s degree or not. Get to know your transfer counselors now—not just at your current institution, but at every four-year institution you have interest in. Any transfer counselor will do the work necessary to make your transfer experience easier and ensure the years ahead of you are well planned toward your success.

Haven’t picked a school to transfer to yet? Explore your options using our featured transfer college lists!

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