The Truth About Transferring From Community College

by Erica Rosenthal on March 4, 2020

The Truth About Transferring From Community College

by Erica Rosenthal on March 4, 2020

Rikki Rosenthal sitting and writing in a notebook.

My new home: Arcadia classrooms.

If you’re in community college, you’re probably wondering what the transition to a four-year institute is really like. In my mind, the transition would be simple—essentially, a university is like community college, except you get to live on campus. 

But it wasn’t exactly like I thought it would be. The honest truth? I struggled. Maybe I struggled more than a typical student because I changed my major from Creative Writing to Biology. But that shouldn’t have made my first semester as challenging as it was. 

The reason I struggled in my first semester was because I wasn’t as prepared for life at a four-year institution as I thought I was. But it wasn’t just me. After talking to my friends from community college, we all agreed that the first semester at our new schools was the most challenging one yet. We kept telling ourselves that it wouldn’t be difficult because we had been in college-level courses for the last two years. But not only were we starting at a new school, we were in a new environment, sometimes a new state, making new friends, living with strangers, and starting new jobs, on top of trying to keep up with coursework. 

While my first semester was challenging, I did learn a lot about myself. I also created my own major, forged relationships with my professors, learned the ins and outs of campus life, and did my best to keep my motivation high.

- Rikki Rosenthal

That is a lot of change for one person to handle. For me, the most difficult part was reestablishing myself in my new school: learning the lay of the land, getting used to how certain professors teach, and utilizing the opportunities offered to get the most out of my college experience. 

View of feet resting on a window frame while reading a book.

While my first semester was challenging, I did learn a lot about myself. I also created my own major, forged relationships with my professors, learned the ins and outs of campus life, and did my best to keep my motivation high. Even though I didn’t achieve the GPA I was used to, I am still proud of myself for getting through this transition. 

Ultimately, though the transition was hard, I don’t regret starting my college career at community college in the slightest, especially because my major was undeclared. The biggest benefit is financial. With less financial responsibility comes more freedom to explore courses and even clubs that interest you, rather than only taking courses to fulfill a requirement. 

Another huge benefit are the scholarships offered from community colleges. Most community colleges have affiliate programs established with local colleges and universities to make the transfer process easy and cost effective. My involvement with Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, provided me scholarships, leadership experience, and so much more. Since PTK is an opportunity only found in community colleges, I try to encourage I know to get involved with the organization. It changed the course of my college career, and I know it has given so many people a chance to chase their dreams. 

Last but not least, keeping in touch with friends who you went to community college with is essential! I would also suggest seeking out other transfer students at Arcadia who may also be going through the same struggles as you. 

I would not be at Arcadia if it weren’t for community college; it was the best decision I have ever made.