Hello friends, and welcome to 2018! Hoping that you are all looking out on all the potential of this year with hope and trust–despite uncertainties. Grab your coffee and snacks: today I have a little bit of a longer/informative post for ya!
You may or may not know: I am a transfer student. This means that I came to Biola with college credits from a different school (as a junior). In my time at Biola so far, I have had a little time to reflect on what it means to be a transfer. I have a couple tips for any of you who may be planning to choose this route, or for any of you who, like me, weren’t planning on transferring but somehow ended up here.
If you think about it, transferring sounds ideal: you go to a school that is very local to you–probably a community college–and take most, if not all, of your general education courses. This saves you money on tuition, books, and oftentimes room & board. You can keep your local job, if you have one. And, it can be a very good way of easing yourself into the workload of college life and creating good habits. Plus, community college offers the perfect space for those of you who, also like me, are not completely sure of your major.
To echo a sentiment that I had to tell myself over and over: there is no shame in community college. I know that sometimes it can feel like you aren’t doing all that you can do, or that you “haven’t made it” yet, because you’re at community college, but that is not the case. Everyone’s educational journey is different. Do not feel pressured to have to be at a university if you aren’t yet ready: mentally, emotionally, or financially. Take your time. You are still growing and learning at community college. There is no shame in it.
That all being said, there are some things to be aware of if you are a transfer. You need to be thinking proactively. This means a couple of things:
- If you do not know what school or major you want to transfer into, I would recommend following the IGETC. The IGETC (if you’ve never heard it before, it’s pronounced like eye-GET-see) is a plan that covers your General Education credits for most private schools and UCs. Get familiar with it! Check Biola's online Transfer Equivalency Tool to see what certain classes, from your specific school, will transfer over as. Talk to your school counselor. They can help guide you through it. It is not restrictive; in fact, it offered me some much needed guidance in a sea of choices.
- If you do know what school you want to transfer into, make sure you are aware of their General Education requirements and that you are connecting with a counselor there! Biola’s requirements were slightly different than the IGETC plan, so I was able to adjust my schedule accordingly using their Degree Requirement Sheets. Even if I didn’t know which major I was going to choose yet, the general education courses were basically the same for every major. I also reached out to a counselor at Biola (shoutout to Daniel Parham, who guided me through my first two years of college via email!), who answered all of my questions and made sure that I was taking the right classes and on the right track. Biola has some amazing counselors, guys. Seriously.
- Be aware of the application requirements and due dates. For me, I had applied to Biola my senior year of high school and had my admission deferred (basically it was “put on hold”) for two years. I still had to reactivate my application, though, so be aware of things like this. For some of you, you may have to submit new applications altogether, so make sure that you know when these are due and what documents you need to submit. It’ll save you a lot of stress having these things in mind rather than finding out towards the due dates (or worse...after them)!
- *Specifically for Biola (or other Christian college) transfers: try to get ahead on the Bible class requirements! I feel very fortunate to be able to take 30 units of Bible classes as a part of my general education, but, this being said, it is 30 units that are not typically offered at just any community college. What I did was take two online bible classes that were transferrable to Biola (I took mine at Taylor University Online) and this helped me so much. Be proactive about your Bible classes!
- *Once you get to Biola: the Substitution Request Form is your friend. Sometimes, even if they are unofficially approved by the registrar, classes won’t exactly transfer as the class you want them to transfer as. In these cases, you’ll fill out the substitution request form.
Transferring has been a journey in itself, and other transfers that I've met are such resilient people. You can do it! The little details may seem like a lot at first, but if you take them one task at a time, transferring can be so beneficial for you in the long run. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions! I, and the other ambassadors, can attest to this: the admissions team here is phenomenal, and care about you all so, so much. Praying for you all in your educational endeavors–this semester, and beyond!