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Beginning your academic career at a community college, where you can often receive an Associate’s Degree or certification, is a fantastic way to save money while getting a jump on your studies. It can also be a stepping stone to getting into a program at a university later by getting prerequisite classes completed. Transitioning to the next chapter of academia does not have to be a daunting task, as long as you are thorough in your planning and take an active role in the transfer process. Here are eight tips to make a smooth transfer from community college to university.

1. Pick a Major

Yes, it is ok to try out a few classes first to see what suits you, but the earlier you choose a major of study, the sooner you can verify that the universities you are looking into fits the academic path you wish to follow.

2. Narrow Your List of Transfer Schools

Carefully curate the list of schools you are considering as your transfer destination. Narrowing down your options will allow you to better research and understand the criteria they have for transfer students. If you have too many universities in consideration, it is unlikely that the transfer guidelines will be the same across the board, making you spread yourself thin trying to attain all of the goals to be eligible for each of them.

3. Know the Agreement

Research your community college’s articulation agreement. Many schools already have an outline prepared that gives you details of how to successfully transfer schools by listing courses that must be completed as well as the grade point average necessary and any other criteria you will need to meet.

4. Speak With Advisors Regularly

Keep in contact with your current advisors to ensure that you are on the correct path. Update them on the choices you have made regarding potential universities to which you may transfer and have them reevaluate your class schedule regularly to make sure you are not inadvertently leaving holes. Utilize their knowledge to discuss classes that will best fit your goals and interests.

5. Fill Out the Paperwork

When you have chosen a university and are ready to get the transfer started, make it official by applying to the transfer school along with the specific academic program that interests you. These are two separate applications. If you are choosing a specific university based on one particular program, you will want to make sure you have been accepted to it before committing to the jump.

6. Fill out FAFSA

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, in order to receive information on monetary assistance you may be eligible to receive, such as grants, work-study programs or loans.

Request information from the university itself on any scholarships it has have available for transfer students.

7. Attend Orientation

Do not assume orientation is only for freshman or new students. While you may be familiar with the ins and outs of the school from which you transferred, this is a whole new beast, so give yourself the adequate tools you need to tame it. Orientation can give insight to the culture of your new surroundings and resources, and help you meet new people. It can also help you become more familiar with the campus, making it less likely that you will get lost heading to class the first day of school.

8. Maintain Contact with a University Advisor

Make an appointment with a university advisor and, once again, maintain close contact. He or she can help you streamline your studies, curate the proper class schedules, and get through the program in a timely manner without missing important details.

Transferring from a community college to a university can be an easy switch with the right tools, solid planning and hard work. For more college tips, visit www.graduationsource.com.

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