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.
(Photo via Reddit.com)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.
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