Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Amy Franklin, a Phi Theta Kappa member from Bergen Community College in New Jersey now attending Keystone College.
Like many international students across the U.S., my transfer applications were submitted, my essays were polished, and the excitement of graduating with my associates degree was near. That is, until we watched our world turn upside down after being hit with a global pandemic. Faced with so much uncertainty about our new normal, accessible schools, and immigration issues, the transfer process just became all the more complicated.
If, like me, your pursuit of higher education and reaching the American Dream didn’t end when the pandemic hit, here is some advice on navigating the transfer process and acclimating to your new school.
Attend College Workshops and Events
Most colleges will host so many events regarding all aspects of the transfer process. Make sure you utilize these! You may think you know what these colleges are looking for, but they can be surprising. These workshops provide many tools and resources to help you form a personal statement, prepare questions for advisors, create a resume, and know all requirements. That hour or two you give up to attend will help you flourish.
Being involved in your college community will benefit you socially and lead to transfer opportunities. I know firsthand from being a tutor, an active PTK member, and a player on the women’s soccer team that developing yourself into a well-rounded person will open many doors.
You have to remember that there is so much more that goes into transferring now than just good grades. You need to demonstrate your citizenship, interests, leadership qualities, and personality, and all of this can happen through participation. It will allow you to be recognized and build strong relationships with peers, professors, and coaches who will support you throughout your educational journey.
Be Open to Change
They always say pick your “dream school and a plan B.” For whatever the reason might be, you may not be attending the school you envisioned. Don’t let that discourage you from having the college experience you imagined. I hadn’t picked my final school yet when Covid-19 hit, but it did force me to narrow down my options and change my thought process.
Think about what will benefit you most and not just what will look better on Instagram. I chose a smaller, more personable school that offers my desired major, a spot on a Division III roster, and exceptional opportunities after graduation. Keystone has become my dream school.
Adjust Your Learning
The leap from community college to a four-year in terms of academics is something you need to be prepared for. You will be faced with a heavier workload, more detailed lectures, and vigorous reading. Generic answers and apparent essay responses are long gone; through analytical and interpretive devices, you will learn to connect your understanding of the world to course material. It will seem overwhelming, but staying focused, communicating with professors, and managing your time effectively will help you succeed.
Take the Initiative
It is so easy to finish class and want to head straight home; with my four-hour commute every day, I can fully relate, but get out of the habit of doing this. Instead;
– Explore your campus
– Attend a sporting event or theatre production
– Join a sports team
– Try out new clubs/groups
– Look for new opportunities
– Meet up with new friends
The options are limitless, and this is college — you want to take advantage of every opportunity there is and enjoy every moment. It is something that only comes around once, so take that leap, and you’ll soon be asking yourself what you were ever worried about in the first place.
Transition periods in life are always challenging and take time, so be patient and hold on to your reasons why. Give yourself the best possible chance by being well-versed in the transfer process and ways to acclimatize. And, most importantly, remember that it is all still possible; and life begins at the end of your comfort zone.