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Chronicle of Higher Ed News
College Transfer Myths (Debunked)
The Center for American Progress reports that approximately 40% of U.S. college enrollment is in two-year colleges – that’s more than 6 million students – yet many people continue to think of these schools as minor players. So many myths and misunderstandings persist that it’s hard to determine which are true. Are two-year schools a good value? Do they prepare students for academic success? Discover the most common transfer college myths and why they're wrong.
Myth: People only start at a two-year college if they’re not smart enough to get into a four-year school
Fact: Plenty of famous and successful people started at two-year colleges. Some of them may have started at a two-year college because they weren’t accepted into their first choice school, but plenty chose to attend as a way of saving money, getting more personalized attention or testing the waters to see if college was right for them. When you think about all of the benefits of starting at a two-year college, it’s easy to see why this is a myth.
Myth: Two-year colleges aren’t “real schools.”
Fact: Legitimacy is subjective, but the mere fact that a school focuses on associate’s degrees or a transfer curriculum doesn’t make it less worthwhile than a school that offers bachelor’s degrees. When it comes to accreditation, one important measure of legitimacy, two-year colleges can be accredited just like four-year schools. In fact the accrediting institutions are the same for two-and four-year colleges.
Myth: None of my credits will transfer/All of my credits will transfer.
Fact: This is a tough one because each school decides which credits will transfer and which won’t, and the list is constantly changing. The only way to be sure that your credits will transfer is to enroll in a 2+2 program or start at a school that has an articulation agreement with the four-year school you’d like to attend. Either approach helps take the guesswork out of which credits will and won’t transfer. If neither option is available, keep thorough records of all coursework including syllabi, assignments and essays – you may need it for your transfer credit evaluation.
Myth: While at a two-year school, it’s always best to finish GEs before transferring.
Fact: If your major is undecided, then you might as well start with General Education Requirements (GEs), but if you know your major, starting with prerequisites may be a better option. Some majors require a specific sequence of courses that you need to start right away if you want to graduate in four years. Similarly, when applying to four-year universities, it can help your application to show that you’ve already studied the subject and done well in major-specific classes.
Myth: A two-year college won’t prepare me for a four-year college.
Fact: While it’s true that many two-year colleges have lower graduation rates than the average university, that statistic is due to a variety of factors that have little to do with the quality of the education. In fact, a recent North Carolina state report shows that students who complete an associate’s degree and then transfer to a university tend to perform as well or better than "native" students (i.e., students who start at a university and don’t transfer). Other states such as Oregon have conducted their own reports with similar findings.
Still not convinced? Read more facts and stats about starting at a two-year college.
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