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you choose the transfer path, be sure to take advantage of them. Don’t make the mistake of trying to go it alone by simply reviewing catalogs or websites. Instead, take time to consult the professionals who want you to succeed. This might mean deal- ing with counselors at your two-year school, a four-year college you hope to attend later, or both.


At the University of Houston– Clear Lake, the Office of Academic Transfer Advising offers a variety of services to incoming students who have transferred from other schools. Committed to creating what they call “a seamless experience for our trans- fer students,” advisors provide help in choosing courses, comparing ma- jors, and making career plans. Transfer centers at two-year schools offer similar help for students who


As part of your transfer planning, take the time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you need assistance, consult your current or new college’s transfer counselors or financial aid staff.


plan to transfer or are simply consid- ering this path. Along with providing advice through group meetings or one-on-one sessions, they offer a va- riety of planning materials. Students of the City Colleges of Chicago ben- efit from a transfer planning work- book that provides tips on research- ing four-year institutions, working with advisors, completing admission applications, and more. Similarly, the transfer center at


Walla Walla Community College in Washington shares helpful resources ranging from individualized advising to printed materials and web-based info. Transfer planning tools include


timelines, worksheets, checklists, and tips on researching universities. Some two-year colleges host visits from four-year schools that make transferring convenient. Through joint arrangements, four-year college reps will visit your campus at pre- arranged times to meet with pro- spective transfer students—some will even process applications on site. In fact, they may grant acceptance the same day upon reviewing a tran- script and conducting an interview. This level of service isn’t available


at every school, and not all colleges offer a full-fledged transfer center or office. But every college and univer- sity employs counselors or advisors to help students make educational plans. Be sure to seek their advice before proceeding with your transfer plans.


Reduce the bottom line Along with reducing costs through cheaper tuition, don’t overlook the possibility of shrinking your finan- cial commitment even further by pursuing scholarships or other aid. Some colleges offer scholarship pro- grams targeted specifically to students planning to transfer. At a minimum, they may allow transfer students to apply for awards available to other students. Transfer scholarships at the Univer- sity of Kentucky range from $1,500– $4,000 yearly. In addition, 500 hous- ing scholarships are offered to quali- fying transfer students who plan to live in residence halls. Kent State, Ohio State, Marymount University, and many others also reserve schol- arships just for transfer students. Along with institutional scholar-


ships, don’t overlook those sponsored by local, state, or national organiza- tions. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accoun- tants (AICPA) offers $5,000 scholar- ships to transfer students who plan to complete a degree in Accounting or a related area of study. Other sponsors don’t restrict students to a specific field. A great example is the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which


transfer.collegexpress.com n 2021 16


provides up to $40,000 per year to approximately 45 outstanding com- munity college students pursuing bachelor’s degrees. And Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for students attending two-year colleges, offers 10 scholarships of $7,500 and 15 schol- arships of $5,000 to members who are transferring to four-year schools. Federal financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants and work-study awards, also offer ways to reduce the bottom line. As part of your transfer plan- ning, take the time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you need assistance, consult your current or new college’s transfer counselors or financial aid staff.


Consider other options While the two-year to four-year route is the most typical transfer option, it’s not the only one. Another ap- proach is to start out at a four-year college that’s less expensive than the school you eventually hope to at- tend. This might mean staying home for a couple of years and attending a local college as a commuter student. After saving on housing costs, you could then transfer to a residential college or university to earn your bachelor’s degree.


Since most private colleges are more expensive than public, another strat- egy is to begin your studies at a state university or public four-year college then finish at a private institution. The difference in overall costs might bring a desired degree that would otherwise be completely out of reach. At the same time, such an approach should be followed with caution. “It’s rare that you find agreements between four-year institutions be- cause of the competitive nature of higher education,” Kaiser says. “Be- cause of this, it’s riskier to transfer from one to another due to the lack of transfer agreements.” Even after saving money at a public college, you could then lose those savings when you move to a pricier private school and find it won’t accept all your credits.


@CollegeXpress


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