by Chelsea Low
I consider myself a bit of a veteran in the transfer process.
While I’ve only been attending Folsom Lake College since the spring semester, I promised myself that I would apply to transfer that fall. This sounds close to impossible considering that it usually takes two years, bare minimum, to transfer. So how did I do it?
A few resources have been the guiding lights, so to say, throughout my journey. I hope that in sharing these with you, I can be of help to those who are as lost as I once was.
While my intention of sharing these with you is only to help, please bear in mind that I am not a transfer counselor, nor am I a professional on this topic. I offer you only my hours of research, dedication to this topic, and desire to help those who need it.
My first favorite resource is College Confidential (www.collegeconfidential.com). This is a forum-style website inhabited by students all with the same goal: admission to the top schools in the country.
College Confidential is a compilation of questions and discussion topics from numerous students, newbies and vets who have already transferred alike. The topics range from the general, like the atmosphere of a certain school, to the more obscure. The advice comes from firsthand experience, so I’ve found that it is even more reliable than information from anywhere else.
In particular, the most valuable information I’ve learned from this site is the “stats” (GPA, extracurricular activities, jobs, internships, awards—all the information that makes up the application) of other applicants.
Some of the most popular threads are the “Official Decision” threads in which students who applied to various schools post their stats and admission decision. It’s a good way to gauge whether you should apply to a school, your chance of getting in, and how other people in your particular major got into the school in question.
Personally, the first time I did this, I got a lot of ideas for extracurriculars and internships that I could do, based off of what other people transferring into my major at my dream school.
Perhaps the most obvious, as well as the most essential, is Assist (www.assist.org). This should be your first destination if you’re planning to transfer.
Assist lets you select which community college you’re transferring from, which four-year university you want to transfer to, and your intended major. Then, it spits out a report detailing all the prerequisite classes required for you to transfer to that major. The best part is that it personalizes the list so you know the exact classes you’ll need to take at your community college.
IGETC requirements should be considered before anything else, and in conjunction with Assist major prerequisites. IGETS requirements are simply the general education requirements for transfer to a UC or CSU. Coupled with the Assist major prerequisites, you’ll know exactly which classes you need to take before transferring. The IGETC requirements are absolutely essential in order to apply to transfer, so be sure to complete these as soon as possible.
Another one of my favorite resources is not a site, but a person. While all of the counselors at Folsom Lake College are helpful and understand the transfer process, the official transfer counselor, Chris Clark, is outstanding.
Bear in mind that you’re going to need to make an appointment with him at least two months in advance. But if you need him immediately, shooting him an email is an excellent idea. My first experience with him while applying for my TAG agreement (more on that later) was excellent. He went out of his way to help me out, never getting impatient with my incessant questions. He even personally contacted me just before I submitted my agreement in order to make sure I was completely clear about everything and feeling confident.
My TAG agreement is the reason I’m guaranteed to transfer next semester. TAG agreements are contracts signed between you and the UC of your choice (well, any UC besides the oh-so-coveted UCLA and Berkeley, of course). If you agree to uphold conditions on your end, which include GPA and IGETC completion, they agree to admit you in the spring. This is an excellent way to take the stress of transferring off your shoulders, because you know that even in the worst-case scenario of not getting admitted anywhere, you can fall back on the school you tagged to. Think of it as your transfer safety net.
The bottom line is that transferring is an enigma. While admissions decisions are completely out of your hands, utilizing the right tools to influence that decision can make all the difference. You don't have to have the perfect GPA, Olympic gold medals, or a Nobel peace prize. What you do need, however, is passion for you major, drive to succeed, and a desire to stand out and show them why YOU are going to bring something unique to their campus. And from there? My only advice is to not be surprised to see your acceptance letter in the spring.
Here you can find all of our articles up to 2018.