Tips: transferring to a four-year school

Missed the Scholarship Conference this past weekend? No worries… we’ve got you covered.

Quick Tips for transferring to a four-year school:

  1. START EARLY!
  2. Apply for early action. Usually around March for Fall Admission and June for Spring Admission.
  3. Watch out for DEADLINES.
  4. Give plenty of time for necessary documents to arrive at the desired school. (Send transcripts about a month before deadline)
  5. Visit the school of interest.
  6. Arrange an interview for yourself at the desired school.
  7. Get recommendation letters from your Professor(s).
  8. Make arrangements to send transcripts to desired school (on MyMC).
  9. Make sure the school of your choice has your desired major.
  10. Network. Get a feel for the school by talking to people who are currently enrolled.

Here are some overall tips:

  1. Get started early. It’s never too early to start looking at colleges.
  2. Enter yourself in scholarship contests. (Links below)
  3. Write your resume NOW.
  4.  Highlight you awards, honors, and extracurricular activities.
  5.  Gain relationships with professors.
  6.  Don’t be afraid to ask for a letter of recommendation.
  7.  Apply for early action.
  8. Utilize the Writing Center before you turn in your admission statement or scholarship essay.

With the cost of college increasing exponentially, it is not too bold to say that finding the money to pay for education is nothing short of anxiety. But do not worry fellow MC Students, there is hope. This past Saturday, Sept. 13 was the College Scholarship Conference at The Universities of Shady Grove.  Though check-in was at a sleepy 9 a.m., the precious information given was well worth the lack of sleep.

As people started to stumble into the conference room, the room started to fill with energy from MC students, high school students, and parents. No one seems to be immune from the pressure to scrounge up the money for college.

The audience was welcomed by some big names. First up was Vice President and Provost of Montgomery College, Dr. Judy E. Ackerman followed by Executive Director of The Universities at Shady Grove, Dr. Stewart Edelstein, Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools and, lastly, the author of “Winning Scholarships for College and College Survival and Success 101,” Marianne Ragins.

Out of 16 workshops, the two most helpful for current MC students were “Winning Resumes- Get Prepared to Win Scholarships for College” and “Transferring to Four-Year Schools: Understanding the Process.” Most MC students are in the process of completing two years or 60 credits, and plan to attend a four-year college somehow without breaking the bank.

The first workshop attended was “Winning Resumes- Get Prepared to Win Scholarships for College.” Though MC is significantly less expensive than most colleges, the costs of tuition and books can feel overwhelming. Luckily, scholarships are available to help lighten the load. Many times when applying for a scholarship, a resume is required. If you do not have one made, make one now! Professor Shirley Bliss and Joseph O’Hare of Montgomery College offer some great tips: the resume needs to be “readable, relevant, and recent.”

As the session progressed, they emphasized that your grammar needs to be spot-on. This seems like a no-brainer, but the two noted that many of the resumes they have seen are covered in mistakes. Professor Bliss and O’Hare make sure to note that scholarship committees either like or dislike your resume at first glance, increasing the importance of having an organized resume that highlights your best assets. If you have worked hard to get a 3.0 GPA or higher and/or the Dean’s List, then make sure you note that under the education section.

Also, don’t forget to highlight your extracurricular activities and volunteer work you’ve done. Because scholarship awards are extremely competitive, the scholarship committees need to know what sets you apart from everyone else. “What makes you different than everyone else?” Bliss asked. Establish yourself as an individual. An individual that is worthy and deserving of a scholarship to further your academic career. With a strong resume, your chances of receiving a scholarship are greatly increased, which is why it is a wise decision to start it with these tips.

Quick Tips for writing a winning scholarship resume:

  1. Make resume Readable, Relevant, and Recent.
  2. Highlight your awards, honors, and extracurricular activities (Scholarship committees love to see extracurricular activities).
  3. Absolutely include your GPA if over 3.0 and/or if made Dean’s List.
  4. Put education, honors, and activities categories as the first three on resume.
  5. Make your resume professional.
  6. Use dates when listing education, honors, activities, work history, and special skills.
  7. List your education from most recent to least (Most recent college first, then second recent, then high school, etc.).
  8. Check grammar. No mistakes! Absolutely NO exceptions.
  9. Be creative. What sets you apart from the crowd?

The second workshop was “Transferring to Four-Year Schools: Understanding the Process,” held by Professor and Counselor Sue Adler. She noted that once you have your winning scholarship resume completed and have entered in scholarship contests, it is important to find the right university for you. First, make a list of what you want in a college. Ask some questions: big university or small college? How much does it cost? What about locations? What majors and programs are available?

Think long and hard about what you really want when transferring to a four-year institution to find out what you really want in a college. When actually applying to the college of your choice it is imperative that all the necessary documents are received by the deadline given. To ensure this, have all official scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation sent four weeks before the deadline. Fill out the application with immense detail and accuracy. You don’t want to realize you filled out a question incorrectly after you have already sent it.

Professor Adler advises transfer students to make an appointment for an interview with the Admissions Office of your desired school. Make yourself known and distinguish yourself from the crowd. Most importantly, give yourself enough time. Start looking for colleges well in advance. Use your resources like the Writing Center to edit your admission statement(s) and give yourself enough time to make the necessary changes. Remember, this is a process. You do not simply apply to a school, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Knowledge is power, and it is extremely important to know deadline dates and requirements for the school of your dreams. Take Professor Adler’s advice: “see and learn as much as possible.”

Further reading

Books by Marianne Ragins:

  1. Winning Scholarships for College and College Survival
  2. Success 101

Scholarship Websites:

  1. www.fastweb.com
  2. www.salliemae.com
  3. www.scholarship.com
  4. www.collegeview.com
  5. www.srnexpress.com
  6. www.collegefunds.com