Do your homework! How many times have you been told to do this? I would say if you tried to guess, you would lose count. However, did you feel more prepared after you completed your homework? I would bet the answer is yes! As a transfer student, it is important for you to do your homework outside the classroom as well as inside.
While there is no “assignment” given by your teacher, as a transfer student it is in your best interest to take control of your academic future. I challenge you, assign yourself homework so you can be prepared once you do start the transfer process. The following few paragraphs will give you some ideas to help prepare you so that by the time you are done completing your homework, you will have an “A” in the class.
Take Ownership of Your Education
What are you waiting for? Start planning sooner than you think. This can happen by setting up a campus tour, attending a recruitment event, transfer fair or sitting in on a class.
Research your degree and career plan. There are many different programs and many different colleges and by looking into all of your options, you may find some new information that you did not know before.
Research the types of colleges and universities that are out there. There are a variety of options from large state schools to small private institutions, schools that highly focus on research to liberal arts schools. Maybe technology is more your focus, or have you thought about a trade school? Not all schools are created equal. Visiting a variety of schools and really researching them will give you a better idea of their mission, teaching style, class size and learning environment. Higher education is not a one size fits all box and neither are you.
Be proactive! Things don’t just happen when you sit back and wait for them to come to you. Now that you have done your research and visited campus, there is still more investigating to be done.
Check into the requirements needed to become a transfer student. Is there a minimum number of credits that need to be completed to be considered a transfer student? There also may be a certain core group of classes the school is looking for before you can transfer. The earlier you begin, the more you will know about the classes you need to complete at your current college before transferring.
Make a list of things that are important to you and write them down. There are many resources available that can help you with these questions before you transfer, however, there are some questions you may not think to ask:
- Does the school offer tutoring services?
- How about their graduation rate?
- Do they offer student services, career services, study abroad?
Referring back to your list will help when generating questions to ask. You can also contact these different offices and set up meetings as well if you have more in depth questions. Remember, don’t wait for them to come to you.
Find a direct contact. This may be one of the most important steps in taking ownership of your educational future. Find a transfer counselor that will help explain the transfer credit evaluation process.
One of the most frequently asked questions from transfer students is, how many of my credits will transfer? When you find one or two people to best communicate with, it gives you better peace of mind. You probably don’t like calling customer service and speaking with a different person every time. It is daunting to have to explain your situation again each time. Having one or two “go to” people that remember you and your transcripts will make you feel more at ease. This is the person you can go to if you have questions about your transfer credit. Maybe you thought you should get credit for a class that didn’t show up on the evaluation. It is better to ask that one person who is familiar with your transcripts than having to explain your situation to someone new again.
Don’t just assume all of your classes will transfer just because the program name may be the same or the classes have the same name. Look into the prerequisites of the class -- sometimes that can be the answer. In addition, not every credit you complete may transfer. Just because you may have received an associate degree does not necessarily mean you will have just two years left to complete your bachelor’s degree after you transfer. There may be an additional semester or year. The number of credits assigned to classes also can vary depending on the institution. While you may be concerned with the total number of transfer credits, also pay attention to the number of classes that have been transferred. The number of credits may not match, but the number of classes you took might. Use your direct contact to schedule an appointment to go over your transfer credit. This way you can understand how the rest of your educational future will progress.
Take Accountability for Your Education
Don’t sit back and wait for your education to come to you.
- Be your own advocate. Doing your homework at the last minute rarely ever works out to your benefit. Doing little steps each day until you are ready to transfer will help you be more prepared when that time comes. Just like you would check in with your teacher, check in with your transfer counselor to make sure you have your “assignments” and information turned in and questions answered before the exam.
- Be confident. You are the only one who is in charge of your future and if you want to be at the top of your class, you need to take ownership and be an advocate for your educational experiences. So next time you hear someone say “have you done your homework?” You can say confidently, yes.