Researching colleges is an important first step for a transfer student thinking about what comes next. Before you decide on just one college, remember that as a non-traditional/ first generation student, you should have many options for your next step. Many 4-year colleges will offer application waivers to students that are low-income, transfer or non-traditional which mean there is no fee for you to apply to the college. I recommend that you research and apply to at least 4 colleges as you explore your next steps.
Tips for Researching 4-year colleges to transfer to:
Think about your major
What would you like to study more at a 4-year college. It is important in your research that any college you apply to has your degree program in your interest area. Research other majors that might apply, remember they may be called slightly different names at different colleges. For example Communications studies might be called Journalism at a different college, or Human Services might be a major in Social Work at a different institution. Lastly, make sure your college major will fulfill your actual career goals. For example going to nursing school with the intended career goal of being a doctor is not a match. A doctor needs different education and would need to go to medical school.
Determine some criteria for choosing colleges
What are the things you can’t live with, or without at a college you choose. Is location or class size the most important? Is having a personal computer, or getting the best financial aid package the most important thing that concerns you when picking a college? Make a list of your Must Haves and then make a list of things that you don’t want in your potential college choice.
Write down the deadlines
Deadlines are important while doing research. You want to pay attention to the college application deadline, some schools have special deadlines just for transfer students. Other schools have separate deadlines for certain academic programs. Nursing is an example of this. The Nursing deadline at the University of Washington is a month prior to the deadline of the general application to the college. It is important that you pay attention to the
general college admission application deadline as well as the department or
major program you intend to transfer in to. Another important deadline is the
Financial Aid application deadline as well as the housing application deadline.
These are very important because if you miss these, while you might still be
enrolled in the college, you will have to make alternate arrangement to pay for
college and have a place to live. Don’t let these deadlines pass you by!
Find out contact information
When you are doing research, don’t forget to identify who you can call or e-mail if you have questions about the institution or it’s programs. Make sure you get a contact from both the admissions department and also the academic departments ( your major area) for follow-up questions to ask. Also take down the website and any key contacts from student services. For example, the offices for Commuter Students, Disability Support Services,Veterans or Multicultural Student Services. These departments may be able to help you navigate the admissions process and provide you answers to questions
about the culture of the college.
Attached to this post is a Researching 4 college data that may help you
organize your college research. I encourage you to use this as a starting point
and customize it based off of what you learn from the colleges you are
interested in. Happy researching!
Interview with Renee, Jones a student from Highline Community College