“To prepare Americans for the jobs of the future and help restore middle-class security, we have to out-educate the world and that starts with a strong school system.” –President Obama
For the past five years, President Obama has invested heavily in America’s educational system. One of his key initiatives involves strengthening higher education by making our community colleges stronger. The president has challenged every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or post-secondary training. By 2020, President Obama strives for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. For many minority students, community college is just the beginning step to obtaining a college degree. Some students chose to transfer to a four-year university. According to the Education Trust, 12% of minority community college students transfer to a four-year institution within four years of enrolling in a community college. In addition, only 7% complete a bachelor’s degree within 10 years. In regards to income level, only 11% of low-income community college students transfer to a four-year institution. This is troubling considering the fact that 44% of transfer students complete their bachelor’s degree within 6 years compared to 63% of students who originally started out at a university.
Even though transfer students make up 1/3 of the entire student population, they are often ignored. There are two main issues that make the transfer process tedious. First, policies regarding credit transfers vary from institution to institution. Institutions are very particular about the type of class credits they accept so it is very important students speak with college advisors in regards to their class schedules. One way to ensure transfer credits are accepted is to take Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests while in high school. Colleges and universities vary in regards to the minimum score they will accept, but most institutions accept passing scores.
Second issue, administration at colleges and universities set different standards for obtaining a degree. “Colleges and universities take the approval of degrees as one of their most important activities, and each institution delineates what courses in particular combinations constitute the right work to be given the corresponding degree,” says Dr. Andrew Flagel, senior vice president for students and enrollment at Brandeis University. Dr. Flagel offers this piece of advice to transfer students, “My advice is to have patience with the process.”
For more advice and tips about the transfer process, please read Mitchell Fielder’s piece entitled “Finishing What You Start: How to Navigate the World of College Transfer Credits”: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/college-transfer-credits