Transfer students face the daunting process of applying to college not once but twice. Making sure credits transfer, reapplying for financial aid, and meeting application deadlines is complex and students don’t always know where to find the help they need along the way.
Many students plan to transfer from the start of their higher education journey, entering community college in hopes of continuing on to a 4-year university when the time comes. Some universities also offer co-enrollment with a local community college as a way to admit eligible students in light of enrollment limitations. At the same time, other students don’t begin school with the intention to transfer but end up seeking a more affordable education option, a school better designed for a specific area of study, or even a place closer to home.
In any case, pursuing a transfer can be a long and challenging process. According to a study conducted by Inside Higher Ed, “80% of students who start at a community college intend to earn a bachelor’s degree, but less than a third transfer to a 4-year college within six years. And only 1 in 6 earn a 4-year degree.” It’s especially challenging for first-generation students who are navigating college for the first time with no parental experience to lean on.
The Complex Path to Admission
Most higher education institutions have put much time and effort into establishing processes around transfer admissions. They’re eager to accept transfer students and have developed ample resources to aid in the transition. What’s missing is personalized, one-on-one support with the right admissions counselors or academic advisors whenever questions arise.
On top of balancing coursework and other obligations (such as work or family) at one school, prospective transfer students are tasked with scheduling appointments or phone calls with admissions or academic counselors, researching degree paths, making sure they qualify for transfer, and figuring out how credits transfer from one college to another. Finding advice or asking questions is a multi-step process that’s far more drawn out than it should be. It can be days before a student gets an email response or phone call back. Appointments that will only last 10 minutes have to be scheduled days out. When it comes to course credits, students are often sent from department to department to determine how credits will transfer. It’s not simple.
More, transfer application deadlines must be met, which is a race against the clock when students have multiple points of contact and have to wait days for answers to their questions. Also from Inside Higher Ed’s study: “More than 4 in 10 students who seek to transfer academic credits from one college lose a meaningful proportion of those credits. 15% are unable to transfer any credits at all.”
Credit Evaluation: One of the Biggest Barriers to Transfer Enrollment
Issues with credit transfer and course equivalencies is a major hindrance to transfer enrollment. As stated above, applying is a race against the clock, especially at schools with highly competitive admissions. Here’s where the issues lie:
- Delayed credit evaluation – This happens when an enrollment department inadvertently overlooks credit evaluation or when there’s too much bureaucracy in the evaluation process. Some evaluations even have to pass through two or more departments. The inefficiency hinders enrollment as students wait for answers and face deadlines.
- Rigid or nonexistent credit articulation – Some students have to unnecessarily retake previously completed courses due to minor differences in curriculum or even course names (e.g. Business & Professional Speaking 1000 vs. Public Speaking 101). This leaves students over-qualified for lower-level courses, costs more money, and delays graduation. Even if a school has an appeals process, most students don’t know about it or don’t know who to contact to get the ball rolling. Besides, it’s a complicated process for both student and faculty that is, unfortunately, easiest when avoided.
Shrinking the Barrier to Admission
Prospective transfer students need easy access to reliable support along the way. And there’s no one-size-fits-all guide. Every student’s previous classes, graduation and career goals, and overall education experience is distinct. They will all need personalized, one-on-one support as they’re coming from places with unique policies, procedures, traditions, and course requirements and must adjust to new ways.
Being readily available and eager to answer questions sends the message that a school cares about transfer students and their education goals. The faster students can understand admission requirements, submit their application, finalize course equivalencies, and receive confirmation on credit transfer, the faster they can shift focus back to their education and have a graduation plan.
EVAN360 enables that true one-on-one connection transfer students deserve. Questions that once took days to answer can be answered in minutes by the right person through the EVAN360 app. It simplifies the transfer process and makes the entire application and advising experience smoother and more efficient so students can focus on their future and thrive.
Some final thoughts from Juana H. Sánchez in a recent article:
“Colleges would be wise to focus as much or more on retaining transfer students and ensuring that their institutions are hospitable environments for those students. You can’t just look at how many students are we getting in the door. How can we get four-year institutions to think more about investment that will help students succeed once they’re admitted?”
—Juana H. Sánchez, Senior Associate on HCM Strategists’ postsecondary team
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