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can connect you to resources for de- gree progression and help you navi- gate any academic and non-academic challenges you may face.


Get involved early


Finding your people takes time and effort in a typical transfer experience, but the coronavirus could limit in- person connections to clubs and or- ganizations even further. If you’re not sure where to begin, your advisor could help with this as well. “Have honest conversations with your ad- visor,” Mulvey says. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘This is what I did at my previ- ous institution—how can I fi nd simi- lar opportunities here, even during the pandemic?’” That could include a specifi c club or sport, mentorship in your department, or the possibility of study abroad programs, research opportunities, and campus jobs. Typically, transfer students who get connected do better academically, so don’t wait to explore your op- tions. You can also talk to the career center or your department, because additional opinions and guidance never hurt.


If your transition to your new school feels bumpy, know that it’s normal. Many students experience transfer shock, and the coronavirus has only made things harder. Even when students are familiar with col- lege, starting over at a new institu- tion isn’t easy. “Be kind to yourself in the process,” Mulvey says. “Find your way to get connected so you have people cheering for you.”


Ensure you’re taking the right classes One of the biggest concerns transfer students have is making sure their courses transfer for full credit; that means being strategic about which classes you take. Having an idea of what you want to major in also helps; if you know your major, often a four- year institution can inform which classes to take at the community col- lege level. “Many students don’t know to research or ask whether they’re taking ‘direct equivalency’ courses,”


Brooks says. Some community col- leges and universities have well-es- tablished articulation agreements— partnerships between institutions to fairly recognize credits earned—but you’ll still need to research whether your particular classes will count to- ward the degree you plan to pursue.


will transfer; ask which will count toward your degree requirements. Because every institution operates a little differently, you might be direct- ed to talk with an admission offi cer, a transfer advisor, or a transfer coun- selor, Brooks says. Typically, admis- sion offi ces review course credits, so that might be the best place to start.


The best way to make sure you’re on track is to work with a transfer or academic advisor early and consistently, both at your current institution and at the university you plan to transfer to.


Reach out early and often to transfer advisors


The best way to make sure you’re on track is to work with a transfer or academic advisor early and consis- tently, both at your current institu- tion and at the university you plan to transfer to, according to Bridget Jones, Senior Associate Director of Transfer Admissions at Oregon State University. Working with both advi- sors can help solve course alignment issues. “There may be curricular changes at either institution, and working with both advisors ensures staying on track,” she says. In general, students should con- nect with their target institution ear- ly. “It’s not a burden to advisors,” Mulvey says. “You can ask about a particular program and the classes you’re interested in and fi nd out if you’re handling classes correctly.” Don’t simply ask which of your classes


transfer.collegexpress.com  2021 9


Give yourself lots of time Transfer students do best when they’re looking two or three steps ahead, Jones says. This year, you may still have to work with transfer advisors via virtual and phone appointments. “Give yourself extra time because remote services may take a little longer,” she says. Find out what your application should include, how to submit your transcript, and whether you also need to submit a high school transcript and ACT/SAT scores, de- pending on your transfer situation.


Plan to attend transfer orientation activities


Many transfer orientations were held virtually in the summer of 2020. At Oregon State, the one-day transfer orientation from years prior was re- vamped to a three-phase virtual ori- entation with modules students com- pleted online, including registering for classes with advisors. This sum- mer, new student orientations may be held in person again—though campuses might retain online ele- ments if they worked out well last year—but unfortunately, it’s impos- sible to predict the future. Again, the best thing to do is plan to be fl exible.


If you feel alone in the transfer pro- cess, keep in mind that you’re actu- ally in this together with many oth- ers. Navigating college during the coronavirus pandemic is new for ev- eryone, from transfers to fi rst years to admission counselors and beyond. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and look forward to a unique learning experience!


Joanna Nesbit is a freelance writer based in the Pacifi c Northwest.


@CollegeXpress


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