Posted on August 2nd in REACH Blog

Calibrating Your GPS for Transfer Success

By Sarah Kohler, Michigan Regional Alumni Association

Sarah Kohler is the historian and public relations officer for the Michigan Regional Alumni Association and is the director of admissions at Glen Oaks Community College.

Are you ready for an adventure? That’s what transferring from a community college to a four-year institution can be! It’s a wild and exciting undertaking that you can embark on!

At PTK Catalyst 2023 in Columbus, Ohio, I had a great opportunity to learn all about “Calibrating Your GPS for Transfer Success” and how to get started on the grand adventure of transferring. When I was gearing up to transfer from Mid-Michigan College, I was confident in my abilities, but honestly had no idea where to start.

As you begin your journey, you may already have a direction of which college or university you’d like to attend, but if you don’t, you’ll be charting in some new territory. Of course, during this session we had some great transfer guides who really helped us set course: Heather Yush (PTK) and Batanya Gipson (Common App).

Identify Navigation Tools

Between Phi Theta Kappa and the Common App, finding information about how to transfer is so easy! 

PTK Transfer Edge is a fantastic resource that will help explain how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), research different transfer options, choose schools that fit you, submit transfer scholarships applications, and more! I went through this course when I was transferring, and it helped 1000%!

Transfer Guides and programs like PTK Connect can help you organize your adventure as you seek different college options. PTK Connect can help you find colleges, scholarships, and more! You can even explore careers!

The Common Application, also known as the Common App, is another crucial navigation tool that you can utilize! Did you know that over 1,000 institutions utilize this platform?

Investigate Your Potential Transfer Destinations

Both PTK Connect and the Common App allow you the ability to explore different options. In each of these platforms you can filter the lists based on a variety of features. For example, with the Common App, you can filter by enrollment size, campus setting, merit/need based aid, test-optional, and more! You can take virtual tours, view images and maps of campus, and click through college profiles.

Once you’ve selected a few potential destinations, our guides recommended reaching out to those schools and establishing a connection! You never know what having a conversation with a representative from that college could do for you. Heather and Batanya shared a few stories of students who spoke with an admissions representative and a few days later received acceptance into the institution!

Make sure you’re taking the opportunity to attend PTK sponsored transfer fairs and that you’re asking the right questions to those institutions.

Completing Your Transfer Applications

Once you’ve plotted the path for your adventure, make sure you’re getting prepared for all the stops along the way! When you’re completing your transfer applications, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything ready to go.

For institutions that use the Common App, you’ll want to make sure that you’re completing the Common App for Transfer. To prepare you will need to gather transcripts and supporting documents, determine if you’re eligible for a fee waiver, prepare your essay, and collect recommendations. In 2023-2024 the essay prompts remain the same allowing you to choose from seven prompts with a 650-word limit. That should be a breeze for Phi Theta Kappans! Don’t forget, your essay is your opportunity to distinguish yourself with your voice, so don’t be afraid to tell your story.

Looking for a little help with the Common App? Check out the video tutorials as you go through the process.

Mapping Your Route

Our guides shared that while exploring the college transfer world it’s important to:

  • Self-reflect on what is important to YOU and what are your non-negotiables
  • Seek out navigation tools
  • Visit potential transfer schools
  • Reach out to those schools to establish a connection
  • Complete transfer applications

With programs like PTK Connect and the Common App, exploring information about transfer institutions has never been easier! A huge shout out to Heather Yush and Batanya Gipson for continuing to promote college transfer success and helping students set course for their college transfer adventure!

And hey! Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

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