About two months ago, I attended a Transfer Forum sponsored by NJ Association of College Admission Counseling (
NJACAC) at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC). There was a panel of transfer personnel from RVCC, Middlesex Community College, and the County College of Morris. Here are some of the highlights of the program.
Transfer: One of the most common questions asked is, “Will my credits transfer?” The answer is, “it depends.” It depends on the:
- Grades you get. Typically you need a C or better for your credits to transfer.
- Major you select.
- Articulation agreement between the community college and the 4-year college.
- Type of class (i.e., on-line classes may not transfer).
So, have your transfer discussion with transfer services personnel at the community college and at the 4-year college you would eventually like to attend, while you are still in high school.
Community College Price:
Generally, you pay less for your local public NJ community college, than another public NJ community college in the state. If your local public NJ community college doesn’t have the major you are interested in, you may be able to attend another public NJ community college for the same price, through a charge back.
Look into the NJ STARS program which waives tuition at community college, for the top 15% of the graduates from your high school.
Not all public NJ community colleges have the same level of disability services. For example, County College of Morris offers disability services to about a quarter of its students.
|Middlesex County College
Remedial Coursework: The panel members indicated that about 75% of their community college students need at least one developmental (aka remedial) course. Students need to take an Accuplacer placement exam unless their SAT or ACT scores are above a threshold. Currently, they need at least an SAT score of 540 in Critical Reading (old SAT) and 530 in Math (old SAT) or a 23 subscore on the ACT to be waived from the Accuplacer exam. Students cannot use a calculator for the Accuplacer exam. It is not unusual for a two-year associates degree to take 3 years, because of remedial classes.
Unique Programs and Opportunities:
Some public NJ community colleges have unique programs and/or opportunities. For example:
- Middlesex Community College has Dental Hygiene degree.
- RVCC has a medical coding degree.
- Students at Glassboro Community College can live on the Rowan campus.
- Middlesex Community College gives credit for military experience.
If you attended a NJ community college and transferred to a 4-year college, what tips/advice do you have?
The high school guidance personnel on the NJACAC panel spoke about their experiences with college admissions trends.
Bernice Hornchak, School Counselor at Bridgewater-Raritan High School indicated that caseloads had grown in the sixteen years she had worked at the school, with the current caseload of about 260 students per counselor. Counselor time is spent about 50% on college counseling, 30% on academic/career counseling, and 20% on other issues including school phobia and depression. Students have the same counselor all four years and the school uses Naviance, including eDocs. She indicated that some parents are misinformed about the application process, are anxious and want to get started on the application process in the 9th or 10th grade, and are overly concerned with selecting electives. She sees increased interest in education, criminal justice, and allied health majors. More students are taking advantage of Raritan Valley Community College, the local community college, and the NJ STARS program.
John Semcer, Director of Guidance (Emeritus) Mother Seton High School and Montclair High School commented on growing college wait lists, merit scholarships being offered by some colleges requiring applications by September 1, colleges wanting commitments for wrestlers and football players in 10th or 11th grade, kids graduating high school early to get a head start on college sports, college application fees rising, and high school guidance counselors having less and less time for college counseling. John indicated that at public schools guidance counselors spent an average of 24% of their time on college counseling and in private schools they spent an average of 55% of their time on college counseling.
If you are a high school guidance counselor or an independent college admissions consultant, do you have any other trends that you would like to share?
If you are a college student with plans to transfer, here are twelve tips from the Higher Education Consultants Association Conference session on understanding the transfer process.
- Stay for at least a year at a college, before transferring.
- Save the syllabus, not just the course description, from each class you take. This will improve the chance that the college you are transferring to will accept your credits.
- Get involved at your current school and develop a relationship with your professors.
- Establish a relationship with the transfer advisor.
- Work with your academic advisor to evaluate your level of performance relative to your current college and the college you want to transfer to.
- Get a sense about transfer student life, by talking with other students who transferred to the colleges you are considering.
- Become familiar with the requirements (e.g., minimum and maximum number of credits, as well as test requirements) for transfer student applicants at the colleges you are considering. They vary considerably from college to college. Make sure that you meet more than the minimum standards, because entrance may be selective.
- Check out http://www.njtransfer.org/, if you are transferring from a NJ community college.
- Some colleges may reserve a certain number of seats for students transferring from other particular colleges.
- Some schools don’t have merit aid for transfer students.
- Less money, less housing and fewer seats are generally available for a mid-year transfer, than for a fall transfer.
- Write, “I’m transferring because my current college stinks,” in your application essay about why you want to transfer to College X.
What are your transfer experiences? What do you wish someone told you about transferring? What tips would you add to this list?