It’s never too early to begin exploring your options if you plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Set up a free profile in CollegeFish.org to find your best-fit institutions, or scan our Transfer Honor Roll for a list of transfer-friendly colleges near you.
Attending a college fair, like the one recently held at PTK Catalyst 2018, offers the most bang for your buck and allows you to visit with multiple admissions representatives in one setting. We’re hosting another one during Honors Institute at Villanova University this summer.
“Webster University recruits Phi Theta Kappa members because they are looking to achieve more — they are motivated, service-driven, and talented,” said Christina Gilbert, associate director of transfer recruitment and community college partnerships at Webster University in Missouri. “At Webster about 50 percent of our undergraduate student population joined our community as transfer students, and the Phi Theta Kappa transfer students contribute to the community in many positive ways.”
If you visited with an admissions representative at a recent college fair, Christina offers four next steps for you.
1. Expand your horizons
Involvement in Phi Theta Kappa opens the door to many opportunities for completing your bachelor’s degree. Look through some of the materials you gathered at senior college fairs — perhaps one of these colleges or universities is the perfect place for you, and they were not even on your radar before. Browse the materials, check out the website, and schedule a visit to tour the campus.
Trevor Head, director of recruitment in Undergraduate Admissions at Dallas Baptist University in Texas, encourages you to attend a preview day for any college you’re interested in. These are designed to let you meet other students and the professors, and they allow you to see the most of the campus.
“We love getting to share DBU with all of the PTK members,” Trevor said. “We believe that PTK members are students at the top of their class. These members are committed, hardworking students that are poised for success.”
2. Identify your transfer college “must-haves”
As you explore your transfer options, what are the top three to five things the college must offer you? Consider more than just major, cost, and location — think about size, and think about involvement opportunities available outside the classroom.
Webster has WebsterLEADS, a practical and co-curricular leadership development program. Many colleges, like Mississippi College, have a PTK alumni association, and Mississippi State University has a Transfer Student Association. William Carey University, also in Mississippi, hosts a PTK brunch for its transfers to unite current PTK alumni with incoming students.
“This allows them to network and facilitates participation in one of over 30 campus organizations,” said Alissa King, William Carey’s director of admissions. “(Phi Theta Kappa members) are leaders both academically and through campus involvement. They are the perfect transfer student.”
3. Schedule a visit to each college you are seriously considering
Don’t underestimate the importance of feeling at home or like you fit in to the campus community. There are literally thousands of colleges and universities for you to choose from — you will find the one that is just right for you.
Mississippi State, for example, offers a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio and is located in a small college town. Others, like William Carey, offer advanced professional degrees in education, nursing, physical therapy and other fields that are ideal for PTK transfer students.
“Mississippi State University recognizes the hard work that goes into being a member of Phi Theta Kappa and knows that PTK members can thrive at MSU by easily finding their place on campus,” said Admissions Counselor Lauren Porter. “Nearly a third of our undergraduate students are transfers, and our own president, Dr. Mark Keenum, was a college transfer student.”
4. Ask questions, and use your status as a Phi Theta Kappa member
Colleges and universities want to recruit you. You would be a valuable member on any college campus, so use that to your advantage. Ask about PTK-specific scholarships. Ask about their student support services. Ask about your transfer credits and how they will be applied toward your degree.
Scholarship amounts and requirements vary. Many institutions offer more than one type of PTK scholarship — say, for chapter officers or even International Officers — or, like Mississippi College, they give higher scholarship amounts to students planning to stay on campus. The Academic Excellence/Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship at Dallas Baptist University may be awarded up to 25 percent per semester.
Many also allow PTK scholarships to be combined with other offers. Some scholarships are awarded automatically, while others require an application and proof of membership.
Research early, and contact the transfer admissions counselor or scholarship counselor directly to get the exact requirements, details, and timeline. If transfer or PTK scholarships aren’t currently listed on the school website or in CollegeFish, it could simply mean that the scholarships are new and haven’t been added yet. Or, the college may have other funding to allocate for you — it never hurts to ask.
“These students are the cream of the crop of transfers, and every student we get that is in Phi Theta Kappa performs incredibly well at our school,” said Angie Hardin, director of transfer recruitment at Mississippi College. “They bring so much to our alumni chapter and are a vital part of our student body.”