As you prepare to transfer, here are some tips to make your transfer experience successful.

1. Get Academic Advising!

Collin has academic advisors who are trained to help you define your short- and long-term goals. They can help you make decisions about which courses to take when you are preparing to transfer and can help you interpret college and universities requirements. Getting help from Collin academic advisors in addition to making contacts at your transfer school are the best ways to make your transition as painless as possible.

2. Save Money

Attending a community college is a cost effective way to lower your overall tuition rates for your bachelor's degree. By taking advantage of the opportunity to pile up freshman and sophomore degree requirements at Collin, you will be saving plenty of money in the process.

3. Understand How Your Collin Courses Will Transfer

The state of Texas has the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS). That means that similar courses taught at public colleges and universities in Texas during the freshman and sophomore years are identified with common numbers. The common numbers are not used at each public college or university campus, but most colleges identify the common numbers in their catalogs. If you don't know what your major will be, these are often the best courses for transfer students. See a Collin academic advisor, who can help you make the correct selections for your desired program and/or major.

Course credits transfer in different ways depending on the course. Some courses have a direct equivalent and will transfer as a specific course: for instance at Collin, ENGL 1301 transfers to UNT as ENGL 1310. Some courses transfer but do not have an exact equivalent. Courses that do not have an exact equivalent may transfer: by title, as elective credit, non-advanced (ELNA), or ENBLOC (where the receiving college or university department official determines if the course will fit into your degree plan). Equivalency reports are available online at http://transferu.collin.edu/equivalencies.html and show course-by-course listings of how Collin courses transfer to various colleges and universities.

4. Prepare a Transfer Plan

Begin by identifying a major that corresponds with your chosen career field. There are many courses that transfer from one college or university to another, but your ability to apply those courses to your major will depend on whether or not they fit into your college or university’s degree plan. Plan carefully; changing majors can result in lost credit hours. Transfer works best for students who get information about the major they want to follow and then match the required freshman and sophomore course work as closely as possible prior to transferring. A Collin academic advisor can help you put your transfer plan together. An online resource from UT called Wayfinder may also be helpful: http://www.utexas.edu/ugs/wayfinder/.

5. Learn More About You

Career Services (http://www.collin.edu/studentresources/career/index.html) at Collin has assessment services for currently enrolled students and alumni. Career assessments can help you determine which career and/or major is the best match for you.

6. Shop Around

Sometimes students make decisions about where to attend college without looking at all the options. Of course, the first priority is to find a college that offers the degree program you want and has the other qualities you prefer in a school. These qualities may include some of the following: academic reputation, student population, public or private, admission requirements for transfer students, etc. As a transfer student, you may also want to look for a university or college that has a strong transfer relationship with Collin. Similar programs at different universities may be structured very differently. Shopping around can help you find a program and a school that are most compatible with your needs.

7. Complete the Core Curriculum

If your goal is to receive a bachelor’s degree from a public university, Texas law requires you to complete a core curriculum ranging from 42 to 48 semester credit hours. Each college or university identifies which of its courses fit into the core curriculum. If you complete the core curriculum with grades of C or better and transfer, the entire core curriculum transfers and substitutes for the core curriculum you would have taken at your new school. However, you may have to take additional course work to satisfy the requirements of a larger core curriculum than Collin’s. If you complete only part of the core curriculum before you transfer, each course completed should apply to the transfer school’s core curriculum elements. If you have selected your major, it's best to follow a degree plan/2+2 guide/catalog when selecting your core courses so you will not have to take additional course work to satisfy freshman and sophomore degree requirements for your major.

8. Check into Field of Study Curricula

In addition to the core curriculum, Texas law authorizes the state to create field of study curricula for public colleges or universities. A field of study curriculum consists of freshman and sophomore courses that apply to a specific major. A student who successfully completes all or part of a field of study curriculum prior to transferring will receive degree credit for the field of study curriculum course work (as long as the student stays in a degree program in that discipline). Collin offers field of study curricula in business, communication, computer science, criminal justice, engineering, engineering technology, Mexican-American studies, music, and nursing.

9. Choose Collin Courses Carefully

If you are transferring from Collin to a university, check with a Collin academic advisor or the TransferU web site to see if there is an articulation agreement/transfer guide/2+2 guide for your specific major. An articulation agreement/transfer guide/2+2 guide is a contract that spells out exactly which courses will transfer into a degree program and how the credit will be applied when you transfer. Many universities and colleges have articulation agreements/transfer guides/2+2 guides that allow you to apply a completed associate degree program to a bachelor’s degree. Remember that you are selecting both core and/or major requirements for your freshman and sophomore bachelor's degree.

10. Know Which Courses and Programs are Designed to Transfer

As a community college student, it is important to understand that there are various types of college credit. Academic transfer courses are the common courses that transfer to most public universities. Workforce education courses, on the other hand, are designed to give you skills for immediate employment; most of these courses may not transfer to universities. Workforce continuing education courses are also technical in nature, but they do not result in college credit.

If you are a degree-seeking student, the Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, and Associate of Science (AA, AAT, and AS) degrees are designed to transfer into a bachelor's degree. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree programs contain some academic transfer courses in addition to technical courses that may transfer to certain kinds of applied bachelor's degrees (BAAS or BAT), and in some cases transfer into academic bachelor’s degrees. An academic advisor can help you identify courses and programs that will work best to meet your transfer goals.

11. Transfer Dispute Resolution

Collin works closely with colleges and universities to make the transfer process as smooth as possible. As a student, you have the right to ask for transfer dispute resolution if you believe you are entitled to more transfer credit for lower-division (freshman and sophomore) courses than you received. Lower-division courses are listed in the Academic Course Guide Manual. Procedures for transfer dispute resolution are published in public college and university catalogs. Most transfer credit disputes can be worked out by talking to your new or previously attended college. Start with the institution that you are transferring to; then, if your question is not settled, discuss it with the college where you earned the credit. If the dispute is not resolved after the two colleges or universities have worked together, the issue can then be referred to the Commissioner of Higher Education for a final decision.

12. Reverse Transfer

If you transfer from Collin to a college or university and have earned at least 18 or more credit hours of the appropriate course work in residence (at Collin) but have not completed an associate degree, Collin will reverse transfer courses completed at the university back into your Collin program and award an associate degree if graduation requirements are met. This is a win-win arrangement; you can continue working toward your bachelor’s degree, and complete the associate degree. This process requires that you request that your university send your transcripts back to Collin and that you petition Collin for graduation.

13. The Campus Visit

As a general rule, you should not make a decision about the four-year college you plan to attend without a campus visit. College web sites and brochures are produced to sell the institution to the widest possible audience—you have to decide if it is the right fit for you. Through a visit, you can get a sense of what to expect and begin preparing for a new academic experience.

Campus visits are generally arranged through the college recruitment or admissions office. There are many things you can do to make your college visit a productive and informative one: prepare questions ahead of time and make an appointment to speak with an academic advisor/counselor.

Questions You Should Ask During a Campus Visit

What activities/services are available to help transfer students get settled during their first year (both academically and socially)? Are transfer students assigned an academic advisor? Who teaches the courses I will be taking? What are some of the services available: bus service, shopping? How do I find an on-campus job? What kind of housing is available? What is the cost for room and board? Where is on-campus parking and how much does it cost? What computer facilities are available on campus? How do I meet other transfer students?

Where to Visit on Campus

Ask to observe a class (this may require advance notice and wouldn't be available during spring break, etc.). Talk to a professor in your area of interest (you will need an appointment). If you are a biology major, check out the labs. If you are a music major, check out the music rooms. Visit the student union, library, and places where students hang out. If you plan to live on campus, visit a resident hall. During your visit ask other students what they like and dislike about the college.

Write About Your Visit

After each visit, jot down your thoughts. What impressed you most? The least? When you look at the whole picture—academics, size, location, mood, social life, sports, and so on—all of the formal and informal data you've collected should pay off.

Choosing a college may make you nervous. But, if the school offers the major you need, the social activities and lifestyle you want, and you feel comfortable in the setting, chances are it will be a good fit for you.

14. Advice from College/University Advisors and Counselors

Advising
Get in touch with an advisor at the college or university as early as you possibly can—the sooner the better. Ask a billion questions and leave no stone unturned.

Dream Job
What will you need for your dream job? Which university or college will give you the education you will need for your dream job?

Preparation
Excellent preparation for your major is very important. As you take courses at Collin that will apply to your major, you are laying a foundation for success when you transfer.

The ability to develop a strong academic profile and excellent study skills will serve you well as you seek entrance into your bachelor's degree program.


Transcripts

Try to keep official copies (in sealed envelopes) on hand in your personal files so that you will have them when asked by a university. Keep copies for your personal use when meeting with advisors, etc.

Embrace Change

Transferring to a new college can mean a lot of change in routines and perceptions. Don't worry if you make mistakes. Rather, expect them and use them to help you learn.

Email
If you provide prospective colleges with your email address, let them know if you have changed it. Colleges are leaning more toward email communication with prospective students.

Application
Stay on top of your application process. Don't take for granted that the college has received all of your admission materials.


Plan B
What if you don't get into the college or university you have your heart set upon? What if you aren't accepted into your chosen major at that college? Apply to more than one college or university that will fit your needs and you'll be prepared if you have to shift to "Plan B."


For more information, please call Kandi Hoye-Nixon, coordinator of university partnerships at 972.985.3734 or visit http://transferu.collin.edu.

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