In this post, I walk through the timeline (infographic) of a 2-year college transfer plan. Preferably, you want to start your transfer process when you are still in high school, so you are not late to join other transfer-driven community college students.

Starting early comes with advantages –

  1. you get the not-so-new student status which means you don’t need to enroll again, and your 3 credits will grant you an earlier registration date
  2. you get familiar with the campus and resources
  3. bonus, if you are still applying for universities, you may earn some low-cost credits and graduate early
  4. basically, there’s no downside except for you have to finish your senior homework with less time but… you don’t have homework…seniors

In High School Senior Year

  • Visit some local community colleges (e.g. California CC) and explore online campus options (e.g. California VC).
  • Apply FAFSA for all the colleges you might go to before FAFSA Deadline.
  • Get support from family and friends. Share your plan with them. If you don’t know where to start, read THIS.
  • Apply and enroll in a community college for their Spring and Summer terms as soon as you decide to take on the transfer path.

After Collge Enrollment – Warmup

  • Start gathering documents (e.g HS transcript and/or AP scores) and prepare for placement exams so you can skip some classes in a sequence (e.g. Math or English).
  • Get familiar with the college credit system and know what counts toward transfer and what does not. You do not want to take any non-transferable courses unless you want to just do it for fun.
  • Research for easy GE courses on to start. DO NOT start any major requirement, you are not ready yet.
  • Register your first class during Spring (during Senior) or Summer (after graduation).
  • Check out any student support program that will give you an edge. You can usually find a whole webpage for student support services that are free for all registered students. E.g. Pasadena City College Success Center.

1st Year at Pre-Transfer College

During Summer/Fall Semester – Position Well

  • Familiarize yourself with college-level courses and their structures. They are usually easier than high school classes but require a different set of skills.
  • Focus on your academic and craft your college-level study skillsDownload 7 Tips to Effective Study to learn more.
  • Aggregate resources and academic supports on campus in the first month and uses them for the next 2 years. E.g. De Anza College Student Success Center.
  • Get used to the campus academic calendar. Mark the dates on semester start, semester end, registration periods, last day to change P/NP, last day to withdraw w/o a W, and last day to withdraw w/ a W.
  • Establish a study group and study routine.

During Winter/Spring Semester – Get on Track

  • Apply FAFSA for all the colleges you might go to before FAFSA Deadline.
  • Make an appointment with a counselor to make sure you are on track to transfer.
  • Talk to 2nd-year pre-transfer students who have the same transfer goal (i.e. university and major) to learn from their experiences.
  • Form a board of advisors including the friendliest counselor on campus, successful 2nd-year pre-transfer students, the study mania, the wellness guru…etc.
  • Attend 1+ college transfer presentation (you can usually find it at your campus transfer center).
  • Talk to 2+ college representatives to learn about different college transfer programs, e.g., TAG and CCC-ADT.
  • Make adjustments for the second year accordingly.
  • Maintain records of your course syllabi in Google Drive or Dropbox.
  • Find a balanced life – Explore new places and ideas. Find people with similar interests and talk about what they have in plan.

2nd Year at Pre-Transfer College

During Summer/Fall Semester – Transfer Application

  • Focus on your academic and continue to do well in class. Download 7 Tips to Effective Study to learn more.
  • Reach 30 units before the Summer semester ends if you have not.
  • Apply Transfer Admission Guarantee aka TAG (if transferring in California) and other transfer programs that you can find from your community college transfer center (8/1-9/30).
  • Make an appointment with a counselor to make sure you are on track to transfer.
  • Talk to university representatives from your target universities to make sure you are on track and learn how to strengthen your transfer application.
  • Start collecting ideas for your college transfer essay. Find UC prompts, and NYU/USC/Stanford prompts by adding the college to your Common App.
  • Start application profiles on Common AppUC Application, or find the designated application system your target university uses (10/1-11/31 or later).
  • Ask professors for letters of recommendation early (10/1-11/31 or later)
  • Enroll in some classes to show additional interest and commitment to your transfer major, even if they are non-transferrable (but requirement first).
  • Reach out to target universities to show your interests. Ask questions about its campus and seek campus tours.

During Spring Semester – Post-application

  • Apply FAFSA for all the colleges you might go to before FAFSA Deadline.
  • Visit target universities to get familiar with them and surrounding areas for your final transfer decision.
  • If you received an offer and you would like to respond after its acceptance deadline, ask for an extension to your acceptance deadline if needed.

During Spring Semester and Summer Break – Post-Acceptance

  • IMPORTANT! Attend transfer-student orientation and academic advisory.
  • Figure out the total number of credits transferred from pre-transfer colleges and credits required for the bachelor’s degree.
  • Visit the financial office to verify your tuition, financial aid, and loan options.
  • If you are moving out, start looking for housing and estimate your monthly living expenses.
  • Talk to your family and friends about the decision.
  • Discuss with your parents a plan to pay your tuition and living expenses.

Happy transfer

Need someone to keep you on track and help you on your uncertain transfer journey? Make an appointment with me. Talk to you soon!

College transfer from community college timeline infographic
2-Year College Transfer Timeline Infographic