Advice to Transfer Students From a Transfer Student

Advice to Transfer Students From a Transfer Student

Pro tips from someone who's been there and done that.
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Being a transfer student can be extremely intimidating. Whether you're coming from another university campus or a smaller community college, you're entering a new environment with different trends, attitudes, beliefs, customs and you have to adjust. It sounds scary, but if you know what to do, you'll be able to tackle the transfer process like a pro:

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1) Know Your Credit Count: Different schools have different class structures and classes that counted as a science credit in your previous college could only transfer as an elective at the new campus. A good thing to do is pull up your transcripts as they appear at the new university and see what they specifically transferred as. I had my College Algebra class transfer as a developmental math class that didn't count tward any sort of math credit needed for my business minor (very frustrating, but nothing that could be done about it). Know the credit count and which classes you need to take.

2) Plan Your Entire Schedule Yearly. I really wish I had done this. It saves so much stress. Go into the Degree Evaluation and look into the major(s) and minor(s) that you are pursuing and map out in a document or on a sheet of paper the different semesters you have left, amount of years you have to complete the requirements and which classes you'll opt to take in which semester. This also helps determine the prerequisites and co-requisites that you need to take before or with a class.

3) Take a Mix of Classes: Don't take all of your core classes in one semester and all of your electives in another. Core classes that specifically apply to your major are always more challenging, so a mix of cores and electives is a must if you want to maintain your sanity.

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4) Know the Paperwork You Need to Fill Out: This comes in handy in case anything happens with your classes or credits. You can override into classes through the deans of the different schools and challenge the credit that a course counts for if you fill out the subsequent paperwork. For example, my biology class and lab were counting as electives initially, but after filling out paperwork and talking to the right people, I got them to count for my science requirement.

5) Befriend Your Advisor: This will definitely help you in the long run, and if they aren't helpful you can switch (with the right paperwork). I've been lucky enough to have excellent advisors for my major and minor (find one for both and it'll simplify any confusing aspects of organizing classes) and have succeeded in getting my future career figured out because of it

6) Summer Classes are Your Best Friend: As are Maymester classes. If your credit count isn't up and you're eager to graduate by a certain date, these summer classes can put you ahead of the game.

7) You Can Avoid Your Hard Classes: With the right tactics, of course. I had to fulfill my accounting requirement and knew if I took it at my university it would be challenging. So I took it at the local community college over the summer to have it count as that credit. Transferred classes do not count toward your GPA, and you only have to get a C or higher for it to transfer. Further, I HIGHLY encourage that if you take this option, access the VCCS transfer credit guide (most schools have one that you can ask the registrar for or just search on the school website). It tells you what the name of the community college class is that counts as the university equivalent. For example, my accounting class at CNU was called something different at the community college. You have to ensure you're taking the right course or it won't count for the class you want it to count for.

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8) Don't Stress About the Future: My advisors tell me they have senior come into their offices all the time that don't know hat they want to do after graduation. Do not allow the mystery of your career scare you out of concentrating on your studies. Lots of people don't know what they'll do all the way up to when they're walking the stage. However, it is excellent to have a major and/or minor (minors are NOT required!) picked and set-in-stone by the end of your junior year.

9) Don't Be Afraid to Take an Extra Semester: Being a super senior isn't so bad. The only reason I'm desperate to graduate by June is because I want to get cracking on my MBA. I originally was going to take an extra year, but I shaved off the 2 semesters with 15-credit semesters and Maymesters. Which leads me to my last point...

10) Don't Take Course Underloads: It hurts you more than helps you (sometimes, not always). I had to take 2 W's in Chemistry and it dropped me to a 10 credit semester (with the right paperwork I got away with it). Further, I took mere 12 credit semesters in my easier class days, which was not wise. Now I'm taking calculus, finance and writing intensive courses in the same semester, and it's bound to be incredibly challenging. I suggest taking 15-credit course loads in your early years to ensure those later years can be dedicated to 12-credit semesters that don't blow your face off with frustration, anxiety and lots of late night sobbing.

Being a transfer student was a blessing for me and it very well can be for you to. Start right and you won't face some of the above challenges that I was faced with. I know this can be a lot of information, but if you plan out your years in college, you can have a much more enjoyable college experience.

Have any questions regarding the transfer process or need advice? Follow me on my social channels below, or leave a note in the comments!

Cover Image Credit: TheGuardian.com

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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The Most Important Things I've Learned From Taking Philosophy

The biggest takeaways that I have collected from my time in my Philosophy class.

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When registering for classes for Fall 2018, I found myself drawn to Philosophy 126: Mind, Brain, Self & Evolution. I figured the class would give me the opportunity to perform a lot of introspection during my first semester at college while also helping me fulfill some General Education requirements, and I couldn't have been more right. I've never had the pleasure of taking a class with such a loose agenda and the freedom to discuss every aspect of the information we are learning. That said, there have been a few major takeaways from this class.

First is the idea that you are not the sum of your parts, but the sum of your parts and the parts of everyone around you. Most people have heard the overused quote "It takes a village to raise a child," but this idea couldn't be more than true. We subconsciously pull so many of our habits, preferences, etc. from the people around us that we ultimately grow to become a community within ourselves, and there is something truly beautiful about that. It takes a village to raise a child to become a village.

Second, I've learned how important it is to understand that if some big philosophical or psychological or physical problem has not been solved yet, there is rarely going to be one solution to it. Millions of years of group thought have placed us in the intellectual shoes we are in, and yet we still question every day what our "purpose" is. There are thousands of theories and possible answers to this question, but who's to say that they aren't all correct? Some aspects of life are just too subjective to be answered objectively.

Lastly is the separation between gaining knowledge and experiential learning. Both are arguably equal in their significance, but we don't truly think about how immensely different the two concepts are until we are forced to. In philosophy, there is a theory centered around this experimental design called "Mary's Room." The story is that a woman named Mary has lived in a black and white room her whole life but has grown up learning everything about color and the human reaction to it (biologically, psychologically, etc.).

Once the door to her room is opened and she sees the color red for the first time, she has just learned something new despite already knowing everything there is to know about the concept of color. Experience is the most important part of the human condition and should not be disregarded when it comes to learning.

There are so many aspects of our existence that we never consider on a daily basis simply because we don't have to. There is something unique about people who are in touch with themselves spiritually: they have a greater understanding not just of who they are, but of who they are in relation to the rest of the world. In a fast-paced, Type A world it is especially easy to lose sight of the importance of experiencing humanity, and we often take this beautiful gift for granted.

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