Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do community college transfer students have trouble catching up?

There is nothing I love more than hearing from you in my inbox. Below is a question I recently received from Adriana.*

"...My original plan was to attend UCSC in the fall after being denied at UCI. After high school graduation my family and I went to Peru and came back a week ago where I looked thoroughly over my financial aid. I have to pay quite a lot and I don't want to be in debt in the future because I want to go to law school. 

"But now I'm starting to have second thoughts about attending and my orientation is this upcoming Monday. I don't know if I should go since it wasn't my first choice in regards to my major (Philosophy), and money is tight. I can just do my general ed. at community college and then transfer right? 

"However, will the classes be harder once I transfer to UCI, and do transfer students have trouble catching up? I'm thinking about going to law school after my four years (hoping I get in), but I feel that if they see I went to community college they may think the curriculum I've taken at community college doesn't compare to four years at a UC and I may be behind. 

"And will it take longer for me to graduate when I transfer? As a first generation student I don't know what will be the right path for me because I have never seen someone do it before and don't know what's best. I guess you can say I need some guidance, and I would appreciate it very much if you can share you knowledge or experience with me!"

My response:

Thank you so much for reaching out Adriana! In short, yes you can do your gen ed at a community college and transfer to almost any university. In fact, you seem like someone who would shine in community college, and students like that get tons of scholarships to transfer. It is especially great if you can attend a community college with an honors program and get involved in a club leadership position.

In addition, you will not have trouble catching up because you've attended community college as long as you put your 100% into your CC experience. The last 2 years can be harder in general because you are advancing, but CC will not set you back. I had a tremendously advanced education at my community college. 

In addition, law school will not look down on your CC experience if you give your all. One of my friends who went to my community college just graduated with double Masters in Public Policy from Harvard. While some people can stereotype or make false assumptions about community college education, 4-year institutions and graduate schools are more than happy to accept community college students who can show they worked really hard.  

I also recommend seeking out a mentor who is a lawyer or in law school (you can also try and ask them the same questions you're asking me. They will know more specifically when it comes to law school.

Going to community college and reaching your ultimate educational and career dreams is possible. Like anything, it takes hard work, but the good news is that what your dreams depend on more than anything else is you and the effort you put forth. Where you go to college actually matters very little when compared to your level of effort.

I hope that helps. Please let me know what you decide and how else I can help.



What Adriana said next:

"Oh My Gosh Isa! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I don't know how to thank you enough! I actually went back to my high school to have a talk with my counselor and I texted my old teacher asking her to meet me for advice. It took me a while but after hearing you guys out and attending my orientation I've decided on going to community college and then transferring.

"I don't feel that stressed out anymore. Now my only worry is to get classes since I enrolled a little too late so I'm on the wait list. I will take your advice on finding a mentor! I never knew one e-mail could change so much. I can say it has opened a new path for me which I'm ready to walk on and now I can't believe I have your book which will be a helpful guide along the way. Thank you again!"

If you have any additional encouragement for Adriana to make the most out of her community college choice please write it in the comments section (as well as if you have any advice for what to do when you're on the wait list for classes).

And as always you can ask me anything at

*Name has been changed and permission was given to use e-mail. I always ask permission before putting parts of your e-mail on the blog. 

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