How to Transfer from a Community College to a University

South Campus
South Campus at UMass Lowell

Transferring from a community college to a university can be an exciting and challenging experience. It’s a great way to continue your education and attain your career goals.

A study on Building Stronger Community College Transfer Pathways states, “Recent research shows that those who complete associate degrees enjoy significant earning gains. However, they could potentially realize far greater economic benefit by transferring and completing a four-year degree.”

However, the transfer process can feel complex and overwhelming for many community college students. This guide offers tips to help you navigate the process successfully and achieve your academic goals.

Create a Plan

The key to successfully transferring from a community college to a university is to form a plan that works for you. If you have family and work obligations, you might require a more flexible approach to learning. Part-time programs and online courses are a great way to allow you to study at your own pace, even if it means taking one course at a time or an occasional semester off.

You’ll also want to consider when you want to enroll and pay attention to deadlines and application requirements. Although some schools offer rolling admissions, having a plan and staying organized can increase your chances of a smooth and successful transfer process.

Research Schools That Are Transfer-Friendly

To help you decide where to transfer your credits, it’s important to research potential universities and their transfer requirements. Look for schools that offer programs and majors that align with your academic and career interests. Also, you’ll want to find schools with a generous transfer credit policy.

Although completing your Associate’s degree before you transfer is generally a good idea, you’ll want to ensure your hard-earned credits will transfer into your bachelor’s program. For example, community college students who take advantage of MassTransfer programs can move into their junior year at state schools and University of Massachusetts campuses.

You can also attend transfer fairs to learn more about different institutions’ requirements. Researching other schools will help you make informed decisions and ensure you find the best-fit school for you.

Meet with Academic Advisors and Admissions Counselors

Meeting with academic advisors at your current school is an essential step in the transfer process. They can help you understand the requirements and guide you in selecting courses that will transfer to your chosen university. They can also provide information on scholarships and financial aid opportunities. Scheduling regular appointments with your academic advisor will ensure a smooth transfer process.

Stay on Track with Course Work and Grades

Staying on top of your course work and maintaining good grades throughout community college is important. Make sure to attend all classes, complete assignments on time and seek help if you need it with any subjects. Consider joining study groups or seeking tutoring services if needed. You can read the advice shared from current and past students about how they succeeded in their programs.

You will want to pay attention to the minimum grade point average (GPA) required to transfer into different schools. For example, students who take advantage of MassTransfer programs are guaranteed admission to state and UMass campuses as long as they maintain a 2.000 GPA.

Not only will good grades help you transfer to a university, but it will also make you a competitive candidate for scholarships and other opportunities.

Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships

As a community college student looking to transfer to a university, exploring your financial aid and scholarship opportunities is important. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. Also, research scholarship opportunities that are specific to transfer students at the schools you’re interested in. Many universities offer scholarships specifically for community college transfer students.

Attending community college is a great way to save money and gain a solid foundation in your education. However, if you’re looking to advance your career, transferring to a university to earn a bachelor’s degree can offer many benefits, including increased earning potential, expanded job opportunities and personal and professional growth. Make sure to create a plan, research schools, keep your grades up and connect with academic advisors.

UMass Lowell offers flexible, affordable online bachelor’s degree programs known for their high return on investment. To learn more, please visit UMass Lowell Online.