As a two-year school, Bellevue College sees many transfer students looking for a stepping stone to university. And though many come to BC with the hopes of transferring to a four-year institution, not everyone is able to successfully do so. While the associate transfer handout given to all hopefuls may attempt to make the process simple, it is anything but that. The background of each student may vary from being a Running Start student, an international student or neither of the two. But transfering requires an equal amount of hard work and dedication in order to be successful.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of attaining an associate’s degree from BC is that it provides the opportunity to complete all the prerequisites four-year colleges require during the first two years of education. Erin Hoffman, who graduated from BC this June and will be attending UW in the fall, urges transfer students to “take all your generic classes as soon as possible…here you’re taking [them] from a professor who is going to have a masters or PhD…whereas at a research university it’s probably going to be taught by a grad student…and your class might be 300 or 400 people” as opposed to an average of 30. By getting these classes out of the way, and from a more experienced source than at a four-year school, students start their junior year more prepared and seemingly quicker than if they had been at a four-year from the start.
When applying to colleges in high school, there is a lot of stress on extracurricular activities and the personal statement is focused more on personal experiences. However, when applying to a college as a transfer student, applicants are expected to have a better grasp on their future. And while extracurricular activities are still important, it’s also important to show universities that you have a plan.
It’s important to start planning as soon as possible, even if it’s just research. Kayla Marsden, BC graduate and a junior at a four-year university this coming fall, urges all students to look into the Western Undergraduate Exchange program. WUE allows students to “get in-state tuition if you’re an out-of-state student…If you have a good GPA…and 90 credits [or 60 semester hours] and if you’re going from one of those [western] states to another western state…So that’s something…to look into because it only applies to some majors in certain schools.”
Both Marsden and Hoffman stressed individual research as the key to good applications. While transferring has a reputation for being easy, students are actually filling in a limited amount of spots available from those that dropped out. It’s important to take it seriously and put in a lot of effort early on. Research should lead to resources, and students should “first become aware of those resources and then take advantage of them,” Hoffman urged.
Transferring to a four-year university is not an easy task, but with enough determination and passion, it is possible for anyone.