Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Transferring from a Community College

By Cynthia Lozano

For many international students going to a community college before attending a four-year university is a good way to start the transition from high school to higher education in a new country. However, in order to do this, students must be aware of the process of transferring from one institution to another, as well as the discipline and commitment it takes.

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As an international student who went to a community college for a year and a half before transferring to University of Tennessee, here are some tips I would suggest every student consider:

1. Every student should go to both universities that you are interested in and talk to an international student advisor. Knowing someone from each institution will help you know where to go to if you have questions. Your university advisor will also be able to provide you with a list of courses and credits you need in order to graduate from that university. Once you have this information it is much easier to know which courses to take at the community college. Taking the wrong course will result in not being able to transfer credits to the new university and therefore, a misuse of time.

2. Depending on the student's major and minor, it is important to decide how long you are going to be in the community college. Some students decide to stay for two years and get an Associate’s Degree, while others decide to stay for a year or less to take courses they need for their major. So, choose your course depending on your personal need and path to get into university.

3. Once you have finished the courses you need, you will need the official transcripts from the community college and have them sent to the university. Make sure to be organized and have your paperwork ready. It is also important to always keep track of grades, community service, recommendation letters and any other important activities that you could have done at the community college. That way the university will have records about your activities to make an admissions decision. 

Now that I am getting ready to start my sophomore year in a four year institution I am thankful for the year I spent in a community college. It gave me the chance to get used to the new country and the new system. I also had the opportunity to work as a New Student Orientation leader and get over 39 course credits for my major in some of the courses I was most scared of, such as English Composition and Statistics. 

I understand that it can be a little scary to go from a small college to a larger one, but the best way to overcome this fear is to always take advantage of the different resources that are offered. So, take advantage of the orientation for new students and free advising. The most important thing is to understand that only you are responsible for your education and the only way to succeed is to take it seriously.

Remember to always ask questions and have plenty of information before making a decision. The college experience is not supposed to be scary, so enjoy it and try to get the best out of it!


My name is Cynthia Lozano. I was born in Santiago, Chile and I decided that I wanted to move to the United States and study Public Relations. I went to Pellissippi State Community College for a year and now I am getting ready to start my sophomore year at University of Tennessee. Living here has been an unbelievable experience and I would love to help anyone who is thinking about studying abroad.

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