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Students post-transfer have a new outlook on college

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For some students, spending years at a community college saves money, as well as time for indecisive students who can’t pick a major. After all those years spent at a community college, earning general education credits and finalizing a major, there’s nothing left to do but transfer to a university where to continue an education.

Life after transferring could be overwhelming, stressing over which classes are need, hoping that the classes taken at a community college were transferable and that time wasn’t wasted taking unneeded classes.

Using the website assist.org helped Tyler Spillman, 23, a biology major, who took the classes he needed at Cosumnes River College. You select a major , choose the school you want to transfer to, which was Sacramento State in Spillman’s case, and the website helps guide you to take the correct classes you need without wasting time and money with the wrong classes.

For Spillman, he discovered through the website that the microbiology class at CRC wasn’t accepted at Sac State which saved him time.

However,  Andrea Gabriel, 30, a business administration major with a concentration on marketing,  spent 10 years taking courses at CRC, American River College and Sacramento City College as well as two other community colleges in San Jose the choices she made were different.

“Instead of looking at the major I wanted, I should’ve thought more of the career outcome and worked backwards to figure out what majors would fit that type of career,” Gabriel said. “Thinking about it that way took away some of the stress of  ‘oh my gosh I need to find a major’.”

She originally chose biology as her major, but switched to business which she felt was an important learning experience. Focusing on her general education courses instead of looking at the major she wanted so she didn’t put all her eggs in one basket just to change her major.

Gabriel has attended Sacramento State for two years and will be graduating in May. She was a part-time student while attending junior college and became a full-time student when she transferred to Sac. State.

Adjusting from a part-time student to a full-time student was big, but the overall change wasn’t overwhelming, Gabriel said. She felt like a normal student, and Sac. State’s diverse campus helped with that.

Like Gabriel, many people spend years at a community college. Spillman spent four and a half years at CRC, and in the time he was there, he was uncertain about what he wanted to do. He took a lot of opportunities, like working for a radio station, exploring his photography skills and finally landed a job at an optometrist office in Elk Grove where he’s been for over five years.

In Gabriel’s situation she said that working full-time and working for a really good company, helped her gain a lot of work experience that is invaluable.

“I was focused on trying to make money and move out for personal reasons,” she said. “Education has always been important to me but it had to take the backburner for me to be able to support myself.”

While Spillman didn’t prolong his stay at community college, the two still have the same motivation for their future.

“I should be able to provide for myself,” he said. “I saved money at CRC.” He said he’d probably be more than $20,000 in debt if he went straight to a university. “I don’t see it as a waste of time. No one should.”

In order to prepare for transferring, students should have their high school transcripts, which Spillman physically dropped off in person so his documents wouldn’t get lost.

Transfer students should have all their course history in order, and follow up with counselors, as well as having their financial aid in order to help speed along the transfer process.

One thing Gabriel was frustrated with was the fact that Sac. State has requirements that she was unaware of that none of her counselors at community colleges told her about.

“There are upper division general education courses that you have to take, every school has their requirements, at Sac State specifically you have to take nine units of upper division general education courses. Upper divisions can’t be taken at junior college, [they] only offer lower division,” she said. “If I knew that I would’ve saved nine units of my general education courses to take at Sac State.”

She said she didn’t know that, however, and was going by the transfer requirements that she found online like many other students do. “I was under the impression that once I take all these courses, I’d be good.”  

Life after transfer can be bittersweet, continuing your education, growing deeper into debt, but Spillman says future you will thank past you, which are words to live by.

“Put in effort now, pay off a loan, [and in the] future you won’t have to worry about it,” he said.

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Students post-transfer have a new outlook on college