How to Smoothly Transfer from Community College to a Four-Year University

Many students benefit from going to community college first, then university. Community colleges can be an easier transition after high school, are typically much cheaper, and offer more flexible schedules. Whether you’re intimidated by the thought of jumping into a four-year university, unable to take on the financial burden, need to work while taking classes or want to stay close to home, starting out at a community college and transferring to a four-year college to finish your degree may be the best path to take. Take these five steps for a smooth transition:

1. Talk to Your Advisors.

The first thing you should do when transferring from community college to university is meet with your current advisors. You may have a general academic advisor and a specific transfer advisor, or the same advisor to handle everything. Your advisor can help you get in touch with the transfer advisors and admissions officers you need to at the universities that interest you.

Between deciding on a school, choosing your major, counting your credits, applying for financial aid and scholarships, and other planning financially, it can get overwhelming pretty fast. Your advisors are there to walk you through the entire process. The earlier you get them involved in the process, the fewer the blunders and headaches.

2. Find the Right University.

Make sure the university you choose checks all the boxes.

Do you like the atmosphere? Can you picture yourself on campus? Does it offer the clubs, organizations, or extracurricular options you want? Do they offer the scholarships and financial planning you need?

Most importantly, will it accept your transfer credits to get you where you need to be? Find out which schools have articulation agreements with your community college. An articulation agreement is an academic partnership between two institutions designed to identify equivalent courses and other requirements. It isn’t always necessary but it does make for a smoother transfer process.

3. Meet Your Requirements and Deadlines.

Transfer requirements differ from university to university and major to major. Missed deadlines or failure to meet these requirements can result in you losing your course credits or losing your admission.

If you don’t get credit for a course, you may need to retake it. The number of credits that transfer will determine what year you’ll transfer into at the university. If enough of your courses transfer, you’ll start with the full two years under your belt as a junior.

4. Plan Your Move.

There are a few things you might not have had to think about when attending community college that you will need to decide for life as a university student. Do your research on on-campus vs. off-campus housing, available meal plans, car and bicycle regulations, and campus transportation.

There are benefits to living on-campus, but many universities reserve dorms for freshman and sophomore students. The good news is, there are plenty of benefits to off-campus living, too, including more independence and more privacy. Check out what off-campus housing options are available through the university. Looking for a roommate? There are reliable resources for that, too.

The number one thing to think about is how you’ll get to, from, and around campus. Is your apartment close enough to walk or ride your bike? If you’re taking your car, you’ll need to look into parking permits. The university transportation system could be a good option as well. Familiarize yourself with the campus so you know the best means and routes to take.

If you choose to live in a house or apartment off-campus, you’ll need to furnish it yourself. Before you start stressing, check out college furniture rental options, like CORT’s Student Move-In-Ready Packages. CORT will deliver and assemble your furniture to your new place and when you’re ready to move out, they will come and pick it up—easy!

5. Set Yourself Up for Success.

Get plugged in academically and socially. To get off on the right foot, register for transfer student orientation. You will learn a lot about what to expect, get valuable resources, and probably make a few friends.

A course load at a four-year university can often be more rigorous than at a community college—and classes tend to get more challenging each year. Attend office hours and tutoring sessions offered by your teachers and find a study group. Continue to meet with your advisor regularly to make sure you’re on track—they can also help you with extracurriculars.

You’re probably wondering how to fit in when many of the people in your class have been there for two years already. Joining a club or organization is a great way to meet people who are passionate about the same things you are. Check out a few that interest you. If you’re curious about Greek life, find out the requirements for recruitment. Always loved athletics? Try out for an intramural team and attend sporting events. Go, Team!

Who knows? Your new best friend might be sitting next to you in biology or on the elliptical at the campus rec center. Be friendly and don’t be afraid to make the first move—ask to grab coffee after class or meet in the library to study later. You just have to put yourself out there!

Furnish Your Off-Campus Rental with CORT

When you’re ready to start at your new university, the last thing you should be worried about is how you’re going to move all of your belongings and bulky furniture. There’s no need to stress over how to furnish your college apartment!

Whether you’re transferring to a university a few hours away, out of state, across the country, or internationally, CORT is here to help! Our student furniture and decor furniture subscriptions come complete with everything you need — including delivery, setup, and move-out services. Browse furniture subscriptions online or head into your local CORTtoday to start enjoying Furniture on Your Terms™.


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