Every semester, thousands of students at the college continue their post-secondary journey by transferring to a four-year university. While this process can be exciting for many, troubles can arise if it is not done properly.
“The main problem I see is students aren’t set on what they want to do. Most of these students might have not had enough guidance and knowledge on exactly what they wanted to pursue,” Drew Whippie, Vice President of Enrollment at MidAmerica Nazarene University said. “For example, students might have taken Liberal Arts as a major but decide to change to Education or Pre-Med or something completely different when they come here [MidAmerica Nazarene University].”
“Take the time to explore your passion and interest whether that’s taking more classes or taking advantage of career services offered at Johnson County Community College,” Whippie said.
The Career Development Center is an organization on campus dedicated to helping students on everything involving their career. The Career Development Center aids from helping students find their interest through workshops and job shadowing, to getting in the workforce through resume and internship assistance.
For transfer students, figuring out what they want to study eliminates one problem. However, there are still other things they need to keep in mind.
“There are two processes students should focus on,” Neal Hoelting, Community College Coordinator for Wichita State University, said. “The first is actually picking where you want to go, that includes doing lots of research and visiting campuses. The second part is finalizing all the paperwork for a university, that includes scholarships, applications, housing, picking class and more. So, it’s important students finish the first part heading into their second year so they can focus solely on all the requirements and paperwork their second year. This will bring less stress and make the experience enjoyable.”
“One of the things that will make the transition smooth is to make sure you communicate with your academic advisor at the community college to make sure you’re taking the right classes and are on track with your academic plan,” Hoelting said.
Wichita has a “2 + 2” program. When transfer students apply and get accepted, they automatically are assigned a transfer counselor. The university counselor will make sure all the classes will become accepted so there are not any problems with credit classes. No matter what university a student chooses to go to, Hoelting recommends students send a picture of their transcript to confirm with the university level they are on the right track.
Not all students will go through the same transfer process. For example, International students must do more paperwork for the community college and university to successfully transfer.
“As soon as international students get accepted to the university of their choosing, we need them to send us their acceptance letter because there is a whole list of things international students must complete to finalize admission,” Jaya Daniel, coordinator of International and Immigrant Students said. “One of those things is their transfer record has to be Active. Most universities will also have documents called Inform international students have to complete. Once all these things are complete, we send their transfer record to the university and they are no longer JCCC students.”
This is the process Paola Heredia, a former JCCC International student, had to go through just last year.
“There are lots of things I had to go through to transfer,” Paola said. “So, I started early during my second semester of my first year doing the application and applying for scholarships. The price is three times as much for International students, so I had to get scholarships. The scholarship process was so long. At the same time, I was also finishing legal documents like visa, I-20 for JCCC and KU. So, it felt like I was doing three things at once.”
Whether transfer students are an international student or not, the transfer process will be a long one. For that reason, most counselors have the same advice.
“The biggest advice I would give for any transfer students to do everything early,” Hoelting said. “The process of major, scholarships, housing all take time. Just because the process is long does not mean it is hard. It will only be difficult if you do everything late.”
“I’m really glad I started early,” Paola said. “Sure, I stumbled upon a few problems and starting early gave me lots of time to fix them. Do not be intimidated by the entire process. Just get started and you’ll be fine.”
By Yohannes Girma