Academic factors students consider when transferring

September 18, 2018
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Communication
  • Communications Plan
  • Competencies
  • Enrollment Goals
  • Transfer and Articulation
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by W. Dean Schleicher, Articulation & Transfer Specialist, Montgomery College

This article follows part I, 5 institutional factors students consider when transferring.

Postsecondary institutions should be aware of what academic factors are meaningful to students so they can highlight their school’s strengths in recruitment and marketing materials aimed at transfer students.

When a student decides to transfer from one postsecondary institution to another, they will likely consider the following five academic factors:

1. Major (and Minors) – Students commonly believe the myth that all schools offer all majors. While preparing to transfer, students must find out whether the schools they are interested in offers their preferred major, or a similar one. Colleges and universities should make their list of majors and minors easily accessible from the homepage of their website. Additionally, institutions should show how students can transfer from one major to another, including feeder programs for pre-professional programs.

2. Articulation Agreements – Articulation agreements can include the following benefits to students: course equivalencies, application fee waivers, guaranteed admission, scholarships, housing, honors program admission, priority registration, a designated academic advisor, and/or special orientation programs. Postsecondary institutions should make the details of the partnerships they have with schools available on their website and easy to understand.

If students experience difficulty learning about articulation agreements and the benefits, the agreements become useless. Schools should present the benefits and requirements of their agreements so that students will comprehend.

3. Courses Transferring – Some postsecondary institutions accept more than 60 credits, and those schools are especially transfer-friendly. In certain states, when community college students transfer to a public, in-state schools, the general education courses completed at the community college will automatically count toward the general education requirements at the four-year school. It’s necessary to show how courses will transfer and to be flexible with course transferability. Student want to know how many courses will transfer, and how those credits will apply to their degree. Sharing this information at the point of the admission decision is important.

4. Internships – Internships offer valuable career exploration, real-world work experience, and networking opportunities for students who will soon seek full-time employment. They help students figure out if a particular field is one they would like to enter, and sometimes an internship can lead to full-time work. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2017, 75.2% of employers who offered internships did so with the intention of recruiting college graduates for full-time, entry-level positions.

If a postsecondary institution has a stellar internship office, they should tout the highlights in their recruiting efforts. If a school has a successful rate of placing students in internships, or it is located in an area where many internships are offered, those are things that can attract students.

5. Post-Graduate Opportunities – After earning a bachelor’s degree, students typically pursue employment or graduate school opportunities. Schools that can claim an impressive job placement rate or a high number of students entering graduate school have earned the right to brag a little. Students want to know the following about recent graduates: median starting salary, job placement rate, who the top employers are, and the rate of students entering graduate school.