One of the reasons community colleges were created was to provide the first two years of a four-year degree at low cost and close to home. Most classes are designed to transfer; academic advisors know where the best four-year programs are, and instructors will inspire students to do their best.
Starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year institution is a common strategy for students looking to earn a bachelor’s degree. More students are considering the transfer route for its many advantages, including:
• Low tuition
• Smaller class sizes
• Financial aid and scholarships
• Online choices
• Public university transfer agreements
• Career opportunities
Ease into the College Experience
With dedicated faculty and smaller class sizes, community colleges are better at easing students into the college experience with more individualized attention.
Now, with the “College Basics Path,” choosing a course of study at Victoria College has never been easier.
“The College Basics Path is a plan to help students visualize their transfer process from the beginning so that they know what is required,” said Ashley Bergeron, Lead Academic Advisor at Victoria College. “We have a variety of different transfer plans, so if a student comes in and says, ‘This is where I want to go,’ we can give him or her a plan, such as ‘Here is a plan for a music major at the University of North Texas’ or ‘Here is a plan for a psychology major at Texas State University.’”
“This way, students can know exactly which classes will be needed at Victoria College that will transfer and fulfill all the requirements of that particular university,” Bergeron added.
“We also have the 2+2 Plan in place with the University of Houston-Victoria, as well as several other articulation agreements on file with other schools such as Sam Houston State University, Texas State University, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi,” she said.
“Texas A&M has a nice program where students can sign a guaranteed transfer admission… If they complete certain classes at VC with a certain GPA, they get an automatic admission.”
Under the 2+2 Plan, students attend Victoria College for two years, earn an associate degree, then transfer to UHV for their remaining two years and earn the same degree as students spending all four years at the university.
New Victoria College students quickly discover class sizes for core curriculum and major preparation courses are smaller than those at many four-year institutions. Smaller class sizes allow for better access to the instructor and also more individualized attention, which again translates into better learning and potential student success.
Attending a community college can also provide substantial savings. For starters, tuition and fees are often less than at four-year institutions. By starting and staying at a community college through completion of an associate degree, students may save enough to cover the tuition costs of their junior year at the university.
Community college campuses tend to be conveniently local, saving students commuting costs and dorm expenses by living at home.
Another important yet often overlooked benefit is scholarship opportunities. When students start at a community college, they start building their college transcript, and their academic achievements there can lead to scholarship opportunities not just at the community college, but at a four-year institution as well.
Assistance with Transferring
Most community colleges, including Victoria College, offer dedicated assistance to help students with the transfer process. VC provides students with online transfer resources and information on transfer agreements, application deadlines, scholarships, and more.
Many four-year institutions hire personnel specifically to assist and recruit students from community colleges. Throughout each semester, many of these representatives visit the VC campus to speak with students about transferring to their university. Additionally, VC hosts several events that allow students to learn about numerous transfer opportunities at one time.
“Texas A&M has a nice program where students can sign a guaranteed transfer admission,” Bergeron said. “If they complete certain classes at VC with a certain GPA, they get an automatic admission.”
Students need to be educated consumers when choosing a college or university, especially if they know they will be transferring to another school in the future. When meeting with a college admissions representative, one of the most important questions to ask is, “Will my credits transfer to another institution?” Then students should ask for a list of those institutions that accept the credits.
A follow-up call to those institutions will give further assurance that they do, in fact, have transfer agreements with the college you are planning to attend.
More Time to Define a Major
Students who do not know what to major in after graduating from high school find community colleges the best place to start. Community colleges are good places to explore career fields of interest before committing to a major. It’s an opportunity to take time exploring options while paying less per credit than at a four-year institution.
Most students Bergeron speaks with generally have an idea of what they wish to study at Victoria College, but “that can change, and they are always welcome to come back and revisit their plan.”
“We encourage students to do career and major exploration, but if they don’t have a plan, we can help them make one,” she said.
Boost Grade Point Average
Taking classes at a community college can also help improve a student’s grade point average (GPA). Unlike most four-year institutions, community colleges have an open-door admissions policy allowing all students to be accepted regardless of past academic performance. Students who improve their academic record show four-year institutions they are serious about their education, allowing them to meet the four-year university’s minimum admissions requirements.
Transferring from a community college is the smart way to start college, save money, and achieve academic goals. And, by utilizing the expertise of dedicated professionals and resources, the process provides a smooth transition to a four-year institution, especially for graduates with an associate degree.
Victoria College makes the transfer process as seamless as possible. Students can take a few classes at VC or earn an associate degree and then transfer those credits. The top five universities that VC students transfer to are:
University of Houston-Victoria
Texas State University
Texas A&M University
The University of Texas at Austin
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi