6 Tips for Community College Sophomores Preparing to Transfer

Are you a community college sophomore thinking about transferring to a four-year college or university next year? We’ve compiled some great tips from some of the leading resources to help prepare you for the process. Ready, set, go!

  1. Have a goal and a plan, even if they are tentative, for what you want to do. (Yes, it’s obvious to have a goal and a plan, but it’s really important. Talk with your academic advisor sooner rather than later.)
  2. Find the college that’s the best fit for you – meaning make some campus visits to those schools you are thinking about attending.
  3. Know when to transfer and prepare early. Talk with your academic advisor. If your plan is to spend two years or roughly four semesters at a community college before transferring, use the timeline below as a rule of thumb to keep you on track.
    • First semester: Meet with your transfer advisor, research four-year colleges that interest you, and become familiar with their transfer policies. Consider your academic and career goals.
    • Second semester: Visit the campuses of four-year schools. Talk to the transfer coordinator in the admissions office during your visit.
    • Third semester: Learn what financial aid opportunities are available, begin collecting applications, ask for letters of recommendation, request transcripts, and keep track of deadlines.
    • Fourth semester: Submit your transfer and financial aid application.
  4. Be aware of special transfer relationships between your community college and four-year institutions. This could save you time and money.
  5. Don’t overlook financial aid and transfer scholarships.
  6. Make sure your credits transfer to the four-year institution. Planning (see tip #1) will help ensure that your credits transfer.
    • Factors that influence whether credits will transfer include: 
      • College and/or state transfer policies: Colleges determine which credits they will accept, with some schools influenced by state-wide articulation programs.
      • Appropriateness of the course: Institutions tend to accept credits from programs and courses that are similar to those they offer.
      • Grade received in course: Applicants must meet minimum grade requirements for their credits to be considered for transfer.
      • Proper accreditation and educational quality of the institution/course: You can check if an institution is accredited on the Department of Education’s Web site and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
      • Time limits: Policies differ from school to school, but many schools have time limits on transfer credits. If the credits you hope to transfer were earned more than a year ago, consult the credit transfer policies at the four-year school.
    • If enough of your courses transfer, you’ll start at the four-year college as a junior. If you don’t get credit for some of your courses, you may need to take them again at the four-year institution. Make sure your credits transfer to the four-year institution. Planning (see tip #1) will help ensure that your credits transfer.

The Foundation has created the video shown above to help you plan for the transfer process. We also found these great resources for more information about the transfer process:

U.S. News & World Report’s 10 tips for transferring from community college

College Transfer.Net Tips for transferring from a community college

Fastweb How to transfer from a community college

Student Advisor College transfer: From community college to four-year school

Big Future by The College Board Tips on transferring from a 2-year to a 4-year college