Whether your students are getting ready to transfer in the fall or they’re just beginning community college, there are a number of things to keep in mind to make the transition as smooth as possible. Share these helpful hints with your students for making it a stress-free experience.

Establish your plans

First things first: make sure you have a good idea of what you want out of your time in college – your whole time. If you’re planning to transfer to a local 4-year school, your community college counselors will know the ins and outs of that transfer process like the backs of their hands.

If you’re planning to transfer cross country, across the world, or to a very small university, you should do a bit of preliminary research on the requirements. And if you’re hoping to seek an advanced degree after completing your master’s, make sure your 2- and 4-year plans are setting your up for success.

Ask for help

When planning something as important as your future and your education, it’s a good idea to seek out the experts. Academic advisors and career counselors are professionals who address students’ academic and personal needs, including helping students plan for a successful transfer.

Counselors and advisors know your college’s rules and requirements—even for international students and unique cases. Check your course catalog or school website to learn where the services you need are provided and don’t be afraid to schedule multiple appointments.

According to author Carol Kanar in her text, The Confident Student, 8th ed:

It may be tempting to go your own way, but when it comes to selecting majors and courses or dealing with a personal or academic problem, you can avoid mistakes and false starts by seeking advice. Counselors and advisors have access to information that may be helpful to you and that you might not find on your own. Do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it. (9)

Wrap up requirements

Hopefully meeting with your advisor sorts out much of the anxiety that comes with transferring schools. If after meeting with your advisor, you discover that you’re a credit or two short, don’t stress just yet. Let them help you determine your options. It may even be possible to complete your missing credits faster and easier online.

According to author Gwenn Wilson in her book, 100% Student Success, 3rd ed:

Online learning can add flexibility to your education by allowing you to complete requirements according to your schedule. Research online options at your school and consider taking advantage of online learning if it is available. If online courses are not available at your school, it is sometimes possible to take an online course from another institution and transfer the credits in. Check with your academic department to see whether this is a viable option. (56)

You may even find that while you are completing your remaining credits at your current school, you can take a class or two online from your future school and have that transfer as well.

Kanar, Carol C. 2014. The Confident Student, 8th ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Wilson, Gwenn. 2015. 100% Student Success, 3rd ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve observed when college students transfer schools? Share your insight below.