Students graduating from high school often have their sights set on a four-year college or university. However, many students choose to attend a community college first. Community colleges offer low tuition costs, flexible class schedules, and the ability to explore interest areas before committing to a degree. As described by the Department of Homeland Security, community colleges are “two-year schools that provide affordable postsecondary education as a pathway to a four-year degree.” In other words, they are a great stepping stone towards advanced degree programs.
Transferring from a community college to a university, with or without an associate degree, offers students transferable community college credits to university programs, cutting the time it takes (and money spent) to finish a four-year degree program.
But, what happens when you finish community college and are ready to transfer to a four-year university? How do you ensure your credits will transfer and save you thousands of dollars?
We’re glad you asked. Let’s discuss three steps to ensure transferring from community college to university is a seamless transition.
Step #1: Plan Ahead
Students should plan ahead in order to ensure their transfer process from community college to university is a smooth one. However, planning ahead will only work if all of your credits earned at the community college successfully transfer to the four-year degree program.
To help with this, we recommend collecting transfer materials early on and finding out if there are any transfer agreements, like a college articulation agreement, between where you are and where you want to go.
College articulation agreements between two and four-year universities make it easy to transfer credits from one school to the other. These different level of agreements are as follows:
- No Relationship. When two colleges have no transfer relationship, it means each school will have to examine each course taken to determine whether it meets the academic standards at the four-year university. And many four-year institutions limit the number of transfer credits they will accept.
- General Articulation Agreement. Both schools have already matched course content to ensure it meets the standards of the four-year school. Students are much more likely to obtain transfer credits for approved courses. However, this model can slow down the transfer process and many classes still may not be eligible for transfer.
- General Education Articulation. The four-year university accepts all general education credits for the community college. This agreement saves students significant time and energy because the admissions team has already determined which courses align with their degree program.
- Degree-to-Degree Articulation. This is the best, and unfortunately, rarest, type of agreement because the four-year university will accept all credits earned at the community college.
Planning ahead is essential when transferring from community college to university, no matter what you choose to study. Research your target schools to determine which of your credits will transfer so that you can make the most of your course selections (and your investment).
Step #2: Meet with an Academic or Transfer Advisor
Academic and transfer advisors are experienced in transfer admissions and can help students choose the right courses to advance them in the transfer process. Stay in communication with your advisor at your community college regarding your transfer plans and, when the time comes, set up a meeting with the advisor at your targeted institution.
The policies for community college credit transfer can vary year to year and school to school. There may be questions or information that only advisors can answer or provide. Some questions to ask your advisor include:
- Does the community college have an articulation agreement with four-year schools?
- How can I tell if the four-year college will accept transfer credits from my community college?
- Is there a minimum grade required for transfer credits?
- What is the GPA required by a particular college or university for a four-year program?
- What are your transfer credit equivalencies?
It’s important to meet with advisors (or speak with admissions) early on in the process and reach out to them with any questions you may have. Academic advisors are experienced and qualified. They can help you make sure that you’re meeting the transfer requirements for your desired college or university.
Step 3: Apply for Admission
Now that you’ve planned ahead and discussed your options with an academic advisor (at your community college and your targeted four-year universities), it’s time to apply for admission.
Like all new students, you will still need to apply for admission. Some universities will have a separate and different transfer student application for you to fill out. At UB, transfer students can apply using the same application online. Just keep in mind that the application requirements and materials may defer depending on your program of choice.
When transferring from community college to a four-year university, your new school will review your transcripts. Then, the admission team will determine how many credits will transfer to be credited toward your four-year degree.
At University of Bridgeport, up to 66 credits may be awarded from two-year colleges, as long as the courses are 100 level or higher and you’ve accomplished a grade of C or better.
Transferring from community college to a four-year college or university is a common path for many students. More often than not, many of your community college credits will transfer to your targeted school.
However, it is up to you to do your research to determine which credits will transfer, communicate with your academic or transfer advisors, and meet the application deadlines in order to complete your four-year degree.
If you are a student at community college looking to transfer to a four-year university, explore the degree programs at the University of Bridgeport. We have articulation agreements with Gateway Community College, Housatonic Community College, Norwalk Community College, Middlesex Community College, Quinebaug Community College and Capital Community College.
Additionally, we offer the CT Guarantee – a transfer partnership between Connecticut community colleges and participating four-year colleges and universities, where eligible community college graduates are able to transfer seamlessly.