A student wrote to me this past week about the advisability of transferring colleges so I thought I would talk about this very common issue.
There are two basic reasons why you might consider transferring. One is because you are starting at a community college with the plan to transfer to a four year college. The second is that you find that the college you are attending is not a good fit academically or socially. Each of these reasons presents different challenges. Today let’s talk about community college transfers.
Community College Transfers
Many students in this country start at community colleges because they are convenient and because they are cheaper than most four year colleges. Both of these reasons make sense for some students. But do they really make sense for everyone?
Community College is Convenient.
Going to college is all about learning. But, a large part of the learning that occurs happens outside the classroom. Meeting new people with different perspectives and different backgrounds can teach you a great deal if you are willing to listen. Living with a group of diverse people enhances this learning even more.
But when you live at home to save money you lose much of this part of college learning. Sure you may meet some people in the classroom and maybe even have lunch with them but you aren’t likely to really get to know them when you aren’t on campus that much. Of course, you don’t have to live at home if you go to a community college but if you don’t you lose much of the financial advantage.
Community college and living at home is indeed convenient but at a cost.
Community College is Cheap.
Well yes, this is true if we are only looking at the cost of tuition. But, just because you live at home doesn’t mean that there aren’t costs associated with where you live. You are still eating your parent’s food and using their utilities. Most students living at home will also have costs associated with a car including insurance, gas and other upkeep for that vehicle.
The other issue that most people miss when considering the cost of any college is the availability of financial aid. Very few community colleges have any financial aid available other than some limited aid from the federal government. The more expensive four year colleges often have substantially financial aid available to help pay for college.
You can not automatically assume that the cost of a four college is more expensive to YOU than a two year college. You need to investigate how financial aid works. I have seen on a number of occasions families that paid the same amount for a four year college as they would have for a community college.
Moreover, the cost of attending a community college must also consider the cost of the last two years of the education at a four year college. And this is where many financial problems occur. Most of the four year colleges that community college students will transfer to are weak with their financial aid. And most of these colleges reserve most of their financial aid for incoming freshman, not for transfer students. So you typically end up paying more for the last two years of education than you would have than if you had just started at a four year college to being with.
Problems with Transfers from Community Colleges
There are also several potential problems with transferring in general.
First, credits don’t always transfer. If you have credits at the community college you want to make sure that they will transfer to any four year college you might attend. You should just on this before you even apply to the community college. This has become somewhat less of an issue in the past few years because many community colleges have what are known as articulation agreements with some four year colleges. This basically means that the four year college in question will accept all of the credits of the community college.
Second, just because credits transfer doesn’t mean that courses transfer. Here is what I mean. You take a basic biology class at your community college before transferring to a nearby four year college. All of your credits for the biology class transfer because the four year college has agreed to accept the credits. But the basic biology class at the four year college teaches some different topics than the basic biology class at the community college so the four year college wants you to retake basic biology again at their institution.
I hear you saying to yourself, that can’t happen. However, I have seen dozens of examples where exactly that has happened.
Third, you are not likely to graduate in four years. It is a dirty little secret of colleges that most students in this country take more than four years to graduate from a four year college. And the colleges with the worst four year graduation rates are the four year colleges that most community college students attend, the public universities. 20% graduation rates after four years at these schools is not uncommon. Even after six years many of these students have not graduated.
For every extra year in school you will be paying more for your education, your housing, your food and everything else. Plus you are missing time out in the workforce where you could actually be making money.
And lest you think that this problem only exists at the four year colleges, most students in community colleges take more than 2 years to finish if they finish at all.
Finally, there are issue related to socialization. Think about it. You go to one college for two years and then you transfer to another college where you know no one. It is most likely going to take you a while to meet people at the four year college and get to know them since they already have friends from the past two years.
So are community colleges bad? No, they are a great option for many students, particularly those that are seeking a certificate or two year degree. But if you are planning on transferring to a four year college, you need to do your homework. This can work but the old saying, buyer beware, is very much alive in community college transfers.
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Anyone considering attending a private college in Minnesota should be aware of Minnesota Private College Week.
From June 24 to June 28, 2013, twice daily sessions will be held at each of Minnesota’s 17 private colleges and universities. The morning session will run from 9:30 to 11:45 am while the afternoon sessions run from 2:00 to 4:15 PM. College visits get busy during this time so you should register for the visit before attending whichever colleges you have an interest in.
While there are certainly other times to visit these colleges, this is a great opportunity to see a number of colleges in one week. The great thing about visiting different colleges during this week is that you get to see the different personalities that each college has.
Wondering which colleges will have sessions? Here is a list of the colleges participating:
If your college interests lie outside Minnesota check out your local colleges. Visiting colleges is one of the best ways to figure out what you are looking for in a college.
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The National Association for College Admission Counseling has just released their list of colleges that still are accepting applications for Fall 2013. There are currently 210 colleges around the country with openings for freshman and/or transfer students.
If you are a senior and still have not found a college to attend for Fall 2013 head on over to the list. It provides not just the name of the college and what state they are located in but also whether they have openings for transfer students, have housing available and states if they have financial aid available. However, get over there quickly because as colleges fill up, your options will be much more limited.
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In the past 10 months since my free BS/MD newsletter began more than 600 people have subscribed. But I suspect that some of you that have an interest in BS/MD admissions still haven’t subscribed to the newsletter. So I thought I would give you a little glimpse into what you have missed.
- A case study of an applicant who successfully applied to Northwestern HPME.
- A case study of another student, academically stronger, who was not accepted into HPME. And a discussion of why this student was not accepted.
- Detailed information on where you should be volunteering.
- Information on what the BS/MD program at UMKC is looking for in applicants from an assistant director of admissions.
- And much more…
Want to read some of this inside information? And get a FREE ebook on BS/MD admissions? Just click on the BS/MD button on the navigation bar and sign up for the newsletter.
I’ll see you on the inside.
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It has been another good year at College Admissions Partners. For the third year in a row more than 75% of my students applying to BS/MD programs were admitted to at least one program and many were accepted into more than one program. If there is a number after a college it reflects the number of my students admitted to that program.
Congratulations to all of my students on all of the hard work you have done to get to this point.
Here is a partial list of the 2013 college acceptances:
1. Northwestern HPME (2)
2. Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program
3. UC San Diego Medical Scholars Program
4. University of Miami Honors Program in Medicine
5. Boston University Seven Year Program of Liberal Arts and Medicine
6. UT Dallas UT-PACT BS/MD Program
7. Union/Albany Leadership in Medicine-Health Management Program (4)
8. Virginia Commonwealth University Guaranteed Admission Program (Medicine) (2)
9. Penn State’s Accelerated Premedical-Medical Program
10. Florida Atlantic University Wilkes Medical Scholars Program
11. TCNJ/NJMS Combined BS/MD 7-Year Program (2)
12. Rutgers-Newark/NJMS BA/MD Program
13. University of Toledo Baccalaureate/MD Program
14. University of Nevada Reno BS-MD Accelerated Early Admission Program
15. Northeast Ohio Medical University B.S/M.D. Program
16. University of Kentucky B.S./M.D. Accelerated Course of Study Program
17. University of Missouri Kansas City Six Year B.A./M.D. Program (2)
18. St. Louis University Medical Scholars Program with 20,000 scholarship (4)
19. Yale University
20. Brown University
21. University of Pennsylvania (2)
22. Columbia University (2)
23. Dartmouth University
24. Cornell University (2)
25. Stanford University
26. Duke University (3)
27. Caltech (2)
28. Vanderbilt University
29. Washington University in St. Louis (3)
30. Emory University
31. Georgetown University
32. University of Pittsburgh Full Ride
33. University of Miami Full Ride
34. Case Western Reserve University (3)
35. University of Rochester (2)
36. Rice University
37. Carleton College
38. University of Southern California
39. UCLA (2)
40. UC Berkeley (3)
41. Hamilton College (2)
42. Colgate University
43. Colby College
44. St. Olaf College (3)
45. Lawrence University (2)
46. Whitman College
47. Bryn Mawr College
48. Scripps College
49. Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
50. Birmingham Southern College
51. Knox College 2 20,000 scholarship
52. Ohio Wesleyan University 22,500 scholarship
53. University of Wisconsin Madison
54. University of Colorado Boulder
55. University of Vermont
56. University of Arizona
57. University of Illinois Engineering
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Several weeks ago I had a parent who wanted me to work with her 2nd grader on the process of preparing the student for BS/MD admissions. Now I like helping people but I told the mother that it is much too early to start worrying about college admissions, even for BS/MD programs.
On the other hand, last week I spoke to a family who first contacted me in October of senior year. At that point I was completely booked with seniors and couldn’t take on any new clients. They were calling now to have me start working with their sophomore son.
So what is the right time to start working with me or any other college admissions counselor? It depends in large part on how competitive the student is for highly selective colleges.
If the student is strong academically and interested in a BS/MD program, getting started as early as 9th grade is perfectly appropriate. There are a number of factors that go into making a student a strong BS/MD candidate and their academic background is just one issue. They also need to be concerned about volunteering, research, leadership and on and on.
Much the same is true of students interested in other highly selective colleges. For the most selective colleges, grades and test scores is just the first issue to be considered. To be a strong candidate you need to have a very strong personal resume. What this means differs from student to student but significant involvement in an activity is generally required.
But if you have a student who is not as strong academically or is considering a state college, then they don’t need to get involved as early on. For most colleges, including most state colleges, grades and test scores are the primary factors in admissions and if you are strong enough not much else is really considered.
Personally, I get involved most often when the student is a sophomore in high school. This gives us enough time for most students to develop into a strong BS/MD candidate. Getting involved as freshman just makes them that much more competitive.
While starting junior year can work, it works best for the student who has already put together a solid experience in their particular area of interest. The other problem with starting too late in junior year is that many of us fill up and stop taking new clients about this time.
When is it right for you to start talking to a college admissions counselor? Only you can say for sure but sooner is usually better than later in this field.
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The 2013 edition of “BS/MD Programs-The Complete Guide” is selling well. Thank you to everyone who has bought the new book.
But I have a problem that I could use some help with. Amazon has taken all of the reviews and put them with the old editions of the book. So the new edition, has no reviews. If you have bought the 2013 edition of the book and found it useful, I would appreciate it if you would provide a review to Amazon.
Thanks for considering this. Now back to our regular programming.
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The New York Times has a chart listing the 2013 College Acceptance Rates for many of the most selective colleges.
The chart lists the name of the college, the number of 2013 total applicants, the number of 2013 applicants accepted, the number denied, the number waitlisted as well as the admit rate for any early admissions program the college has, the regular admit rate and the overall admit rate.
Beneath the 2013 chart are the charts for 2012 and 2011 so that you can compare application and acceptance numbers from the past 3 years.
I am bringing this to your attention because I think it important to understand how competitive college admissions is at some of the most well known colleges.
HOWEVER, do not forget that despite the dismal numbers reflected in these charts, most colleges in the US actually accept most of the students that apply. And even for these highly selective colleges, there are some students that still do get accepted despite the odds.
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I talk with students all of the time that are worried because they think they need to figure out what major they should take in college or what college is good for a particular major. In most cases, I tell them that it really doesn’t matter.
Best major for medical school? None, because medical schools really don’t care what you major in. Best major for law school? Same answer. Best major to go into business? Debatable but many would say any major but business.
Now I know that I am often met with skepticism when I tell students that their decision on what to major in often makes very little difference in their choice of jobs. But there is a new report out that supports what I have been telling students and their parents.
Inside Higher Ed just discussed a new report out from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The report is entitled “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success“. For those of you not familiar with the Association of American Colleges and Universities the members include almost all of the colleges you have heard of including most of the Ivy League and all of the top liberal arts colleges.
Turns out that employers want students that can think, can analyze material and can communicate. In fact 93% of the employers surveyed said that these abilities were more important than a student’s major.
Are there exceptions? Of course. If you want a job as a chemical engineer right out of college it might help to have a background in this area. But for the vast majority of jobs that are available, the choice of major just isn’t that important.
What is more important in college is taking classes that make you learn how to think and analysis situations. Classes that help improve your ability to write and communicate orally. Classes and internships that help you solve real world problems.
But your major? Most of you have better things to worry about.
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I discussed several weeks ago why I thought more young women should consider one of the all women’s colleges. After that post I was contacted by Diane Propsner, a graduate of an all women’s college.
Diane and I had a nice talk about women’s colleges and she mentioned that she has a blog with information about the different women’s colleges in the US. The name of her blog is “Advantages of a Women’s College“.
I think her blog has some good information on it and if you are thinking that you might have an interest in women’s colleges, check Diane’s blog out. Never hurts to look.
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