Transferring to a four-year university is an important part of the plans of many community college students. According to a New York Times blog article, four out of five community college students are looking to transfer to a four-year university.
Historically, transferring from a community college was a laborious effort. Many times, strict rules hinder transfer students from graduating in a timely four years because of messy transfer requirements. For example, Josie Showers, a University of Louisville transfer, could not graduate on time because the University required all students to take a mandatory pre-algebra class, despite the fact that Josie has completed much more advanced math classes.
A common misconception is that community college students tend to be underachieving students who would have nothing to contribute to four-year universities. On the contrary, many community college students have adequate training to succeed in their respective focuses. Furthermore, community college transfers provide a unique socioeconomic demographic which traditional programs tend to neglect.
College Transfer Initiatives
The Community College Transfer Initiative is funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a private foundation designed to help students reach their potential in education. So far, the initiative has invested $6.8 million in several four-year programs to improve the transfer process from community colleges. Currently, the initiative has funded the following universities:
- Amherst College
- Bucknell University
- Cornell University
- Mount Holyoke College
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- University of Southern California
This initiative marks a stark contrast from other programs in the sense that it promotes transfer programs to elite universities around the US. Currently, only about 6% of all transfer students make it to such universities. Thanks to initiatives such as the CCTI, however, elite universities are reaching out to transfer students as a means of diversifying the campus.
New Jersey is looking to reform how the state regulates transfer credits. In 2007, legislation was signed to make transferring credits an easier process. According to the legislation, universities in New Jersey must allow for associates degrees to be fully transferable given a student is accepted into the program. According to David Baime, vice president for government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges, this legislation is a big shift in New Jersey’s education system due to “a lot of resistance on the part of senior institutions”.
The state of Michigan has a similar legislation which facilitates the easy transfer of community college credit to four-year institutions. The Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admission Officers (MACRAO) transfer agreement provides a statewide template for transfer requirements. For example, the requirements include 30 semester hours covering English Composition, Science and Math, Social Science, and Humanities.
What You Can Do
Given the many initiatives and greater attention given to improving the transferring process between community colleges and traditional universities, there are several ways for you to improve your chances of seamlessly transferring to the university of your choice. Here are some resources to get you started: