Eating a fresh hot donut, being first in line at Cedar Point for the biggest roller-coaster running, watching the Gray Wolves win a national championship, or finding a ten dollar bill in the bottom of my purse have to be some of the top feel-good moments I can think of (and yes, a fresh hot donut probably is at the top of that list), but I have to say there is something that gives me more joy than anything, even donuts. It has to be students.
I just love working with students, especially those that transferred from one school to another just like I did after my freshman year of college. I remember looking at colleges during my junior and senior years in high school. My parents, friends, teachers, and guidance counselor were such great help. I never had to do anything myself because someone else did it for me. I never requested transcripts, filled out the FAFSA, or made sure I hit deadlines to get scholarships. I had a great support system, albeit a little too supportive.
So much so, I didn’t know what to do during my freshman year when I realized I wasn’t at the right school since I had changed my major. I knew I needed to transfer but I had no idea how to do it. My parents didn’t either because they relied heavily on my high school guidance counselor and the advisor at the college I selected to go to.
Once I realized I needed to figure out how to transfer all on my own, I felt completely overwhelmed. I wished someone had put a list together of what I needed to do. But alas, no one did and I had to figure it out with a nice pile of stress on my shoulders as I did so. I also found myself missing deadlines and repeating some of the processes over and over again.
So, now as a Transfer Advisor, I want give you all a gift. Below is a nice list of the top 10 transfer processes that can save you time, stress, and can make any soon-to-be transfer student’s transition much easier. You’re welcome :-)
The Bailey Ten
- Take a look around
Hopefully you went on many visits when you were in high school looking for the ‘perfect’ college or university, but now when you are visiting you should be evaluating your visits differently. Make sure the school has your major and lots of things to get involved with to help start your soon-to-be career. Talk with the transfer specialist to see what courses will transfer and they can apply to your degree program.
During your visit, look at the students enrolled to see if they look and act like you do. Also, make sure to ‘visit’ the school’s social media outlets. Many institutions show what their school is all about via social media so make sure to join in on their discussions!
- Work with the transfer specialist
Your transfer admission coordinator has all the skinny on what you should be doing and when. Make sure to connect with him/her once you start thinking about transferring. They can tell you the specific process, special transfer programs and visit days, and can even let you know about scholarships you can apply for!
- Request your transcripts
Make sure to contact your current school’s registrar office or transcript office. It is typically a fairly easy process. There are even times where students can request their transcripts online via their school portal. Just make sure when you are requesting your transcript to request an official copy. Your official transcripts will be used to do credit evaluations at the school you are transferring to.
- Get a true credit evaluation
Many schools say they transfer credits, but just because credits transfer does not mean they go toward your graduation requirements. Once a credit evaluation is done make sure to contact your transfer specialist to see what credits are going to go toward your degree program. This process will help you find out how many courses you have left to complete.
- Work with the Financial Aid Office
The major question you need to ask the financial aid advisor is, “Do I have enough money to finish my program of study?” For a lot of students, this can be a real barrier. Save yourself some stress and make sure you have the enough money to finish your degree before you get started. You don’t want to transfer all over again just because you ran out of money.
- Speak with the faculty
These are the most educated people on campus about your degree program. Ask them about why they love it at the university and why they chose the field they are in.
- Reach out to the alumni
Every school has alumni. Talk with the school’s alumni association and see if they can give you the contacts of alumni that graduated out of the same major you are going into. They might even be able to tell you some of the companies or organizations alumni work for. Then decide if you see yourself working for the same companies.
- Make sure to hit all deadlines and get ready to enroll
Again, make sure you are working with your transfer coordinator. If you are staying in contact with them, then they will be letting you know when it is time to register for classes. When you enroll for classes, it becomes the time where you go from working with an admission counselor to your academic advisor.
- Make a friend with your academic advisor
Your academic advisor makes sure you stay on track taking the right classes and most importantly, graduate on time. They care and are invested in your success, not to mention get a real kick out of watching you walk across the stage at commencement.
- Get acquainted with student activities and organizations
Truth be told, students more active in campus organizations retain at the institution and graduate. If you feel part of the school, you become invested and want to stay longer. The school is not just the place you take classes but it can become your home and those that work there can become like a second family to you, so make sure you get involved!
I know, first-hand, transferring can be a very overwhelming process, but by following ‘The Bailey Ten’, you should be on your way to getting your feet planted as you transfer to the right school for you!
K.C. Bailey is a transfer advisor and high school recruiter for Lourdes University and plans on getting a fresh hot donut for breakfast tomorrow at Sautter’s next to campus.