Trouble with transferring

Across the US, 4 out of every 5 students at community colleges intend to transfer to a four-year university in order to obtain a higher degree. This statistic–taken from an article in the New York Times – illustrates the main purpose of community/junior colleges – to build a foundation and move up.

Most students go to counselors when they plan to transfer because of the difficulty and precise nature of the process. Transferring from a community college to a university is a huge decision that takes time to get absolutely perfect. Messing up a key detail along the way could lead to massive headaches down the road.

Timeliness is everything. Transferring to a four-year university requires jumping through different hoops for different schools to get to where you want to be, when you want to be there.

Angie Kaysen Luzbetak, the director of General Student Development at JJC, encourages students to start applying at possible four-year universities as soon as one year before they intend to enroll for class.

Transferring includes all of the same steps of the process as when someone applies to a four-year university as a freshman. However, unlike straight-to-university students, transfer students must deal with two schools trying to complete their education in a way that allows for a seamless transfer.

For Jessica Waliczek, transferring from JJC has not been as smooth as she would have liked.

Starting in 2013 when she switched her major to nursing, Waliczek had been looking at universities to transfer to after she’s finished at JJC. Unfortunately, since applying at multiple schools throughout the state, she has yet to be accepted to any of them.

As with any student, this troubled Waliczek and she spoke with more than four different counselors at JJC in order to find out what the problems was. She heard a variety of answers, from she just needed to “keep applying to places,” to she had “too many credit hours” in order to be accepted.

Waliczek finally got the answer she needed recently when she spoke to a counselor who personally called the schools she had applied to and asked them. The real answer was that they were waiting for her to finish her associate-of-arts degree in order to accept her, which means that she would have to re-apply to them when she finishes.

This is only one of the issues Waliczek faced while trying to get into the nursing school of her dreams.

Many of these problems can be fixed with a simple visit to the counseling office. There are a number of advisors, counselors, and transfer specialists working in the counseling department in A-Building.

However, Luzbetak makes clear the importance of meeting with the right people in order to make transferring as easy as possible.

“Students need to work with counselors and advisors to talk about their classes and develop an educational plan to keep them on track,” said Luzbetak.

“Connect with a counselor, advisor or faculty member at the community college or the senior college so you have a trusted mentor to lean on when doubt sets in.”

Students will face many questions on the way to their goals, for example: –“Am I taking the right classes for where I want to transfer?” “Does my junior college have the classes I need to take to get into said university?” “Will my credits even transfer?”

Besides the technical aspect of getting accepted at other universities, more personal decisions and preferences may come into play.

Everyone is looking for something different in the university they wish to transfer to. For some, it’s all about location. For others it’s the education or reputation. The list goes on.

Trying to find the perfect college that meets all of your criteria is frustrating enough, but even your dream school can sometimes makes it incredibly challenging to get a straight answer about the road to their front door. There may even be extra hoops you have to jump through in order to get your answer. That kind of experience can definitely sour prospective students on even their dream school.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much the counseling department can do about another school being especially demanding with their policies and procedures, but it can be a major deciding point for many students who have to deal with it.

For the 80 percent of community college students who are looking to transfer to a four-year university, these can be incredibly difficult situations to have to overcome, especially when you have to jump through a seemingly endless number of hoops.

Making connections with counselors and advisors can help diminish the frustration and ease students’ worry. The hassle is unavoidable, but doing your due diligence will lead to less headaches and a happier outcome.

Olivia Bergagna

Copy Editor at The Blazer at JJC
A former copy editor of the Blazer, Bergagna served on the Blazer staff from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015. She moved on to Illinois State University in the Fall of 2015.

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Olivia Bergagna

A former copy editor of the Blazer, Bergagna served on the Blazer staff from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015. She moved on to Illinois State University in the Fall of 2015.