Leaving your community college to transfer to a four-year institution is a big step in every community college student’s life. Therefore, it is important to plan everything ahead. Transferring is a long process that requires a lot of research, patience, and positivity. Following these 5 tips may help you plan better, as well as decrease the stress that comes with this process.

1. Be aware of your college resources

It is very important to talk to the admissions or counseling office at your college before picking your elective classes. Share with your advisor what school you hope to get into. He or she will be able to help you pick the right classes which will transfer to your new institution. If you do not completely agree with your advisor’s suggestions, you may always contact a transfer advisor at the admission office of the four-year institution. It is also a good idea to find out if your college has any articulation agreements, meaning any special transfer relationship with four-year institutions. Moreover, you can talk to the career center at your college. They will be able to help you find an internship in your field. Changing majors during your bachelor’s degree will make you lose classes, time, and money, so you should take every opportunity to be certain about what you want to study before transferring.

2. Plan ahead

Transferring to another school is a long process and cannot be done within a week, or even a month. You should start searching and reviewing information on four-year institutions with plenty of time. After reviewing all the institutions you are interested in, make a list of your top schools and review their academic calendar and deadlines that will affect you – especially any financial aid opportunities you are eligible for. It can be very helpful to visit your future school and talk to the school administration in person. If you are planning to live on campus, visiting the university should definitely be on your to-do list. Once you register for the school you wish to attend, make sure to participate in the transfer orientation to find out more details and tasks to do before you complete your transfer.

3. Scholarships

Apply to as many scholarships as possible. Be aware of all your scholarship opportunities. Your college may offer transfer scholarships, and you should also research scholarships at your new institution. Aside from those, you can also take a look at the NSCS scholarships, as well as countless private scholarships that you are eligible for. Take your time and apply for them. Always read what exactly the scholarship covers. Most of the scholarships cover tuition, but not housing. It is very helpful to make a list of all the expenses you will have while attending your new institution. It can include tuition, other school expenses, housing, food, transportation, etc. Make sure that you proofread all your submissions and ask another person to read them as well. Scholarships can be very competitive and even a little spelling mistake may cause you to lose out on a scholarship. Do not miss any deadlines, because even the greatest application will not be reviewed if not submitted on time.

4. Have your transcripts evaluated

As mentioned above, it is very important to be aware of which classes you are taking. You should be certain that you can transfer your credits so that once attending your new university, you will be able to start off with your bachelor’s degree and will not need to retake any of your courses. It is a good idea to save any important coursework you have. Make a folder for all the syllabi that you receive from your professors. Some of your courses, especially the electives, may have a different name in your new institution, which could cause the four-year institution to ask you to retake a course. In such a case, your syllabus can prove that you have taken the class covering the required topics.

5. Connections on campus

Being involved on campus is always very helpful. Campus activity is a big plus on your resume. In addition, you can meet many people who can help you with the decision of where to transfer or with the process. Attending your campus events will allow you to meet with important people from your college, such as the dean of students or even the campus president. It is also important to keep in touch with your favorite professors. You do not need to become best friends with them, but visiting them once in a while and letting them know how everything is going with you will keep up a good relationship with them. This can be very helpful when you need recommendation letters for the transferring process.

Transferring to a new institution can be very stressful and challenging. However, following these five tips will help you enjoy a smoother transfer process. You always have to keep your goal in mind and do your best to reach it. Stay positive and think of all the wonderful experiences you will have at your new institution.

ValentinaDertlievaValentina Dertlieva is the Community College Liaison for the NSCS National Leadership Council as well as the Chapter President of the NSCS Chapter at Miami Dade College. The NLC can be found on Twitter at @NSCS_NLC and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/the.nscs.nlc.