As a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship winner and former international student, Ale has incredible advice to offer that I wanted to share with you. Below is an interview I had with her recently:
What led you to community college?
As I graduated high school, I learned that my parents’ economic situation was deteriorating. To make matters worse, my citizenship status was not resolved, which meant that I would have to pay for college as an international student. International students pay two to three times as much as regular students, something that seemed out of reach for me. I made the decision to attend community college part time, while I worked full time to pay for my tuition.
How did you make your transfer decision?
I knew I wanted to transfer out of community college eventually and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. However, I was facing many challenges. I applied myself and became very involved on campus. I met a great mentor, who introduced me to private scholarships that I could apply to and guided me through the application process. When I became a Jack Kent Cooke scholar, my life changed and my biggest obstacle suddenly tumbled down.
What were your biggest obstacles in adjusting to your transfer institution?
The academic course load. I went from being a part-time student to having 17 credits my first semester.
What helped you the most in getting adjusted at your transfer institution?
As cliché as it may sound, what helped me the most was the fire within me; the passion I had to get a nursing degree is certainly what empowered me to push through all the difficulties I faced.
What helped you make friends at your transfer institution?
Making friends was easy because I went into a nursing program, so I had classes with the same group of students all day. My second year, however, I expanded my friendships beyond the nursing school. I joined different committees and organizations that were interesting to me. I met one of my closest friends in one of these organizations. It is important to surround yourself with people who share the same values and ideals as you.
What advice can you share that you wish someone would have shared with you before you transferred from community college to a university?
Transferring is not easy at first. But once you get through that hurdle, everything will start flowing better. However, it is essential that you have a clear vision of what your goal is – beyond getting an education. Be passionate about the career you chose to follow, your drive and determination will determine your success. Also, know which study habits work for you, everyone is different. Do not be afraid to seek guidance from your professors, especially if you are struggling with your academics.
Make a point to identify your weaknesses and strengths – and work on both. Do not compare yourself to others, you are as good as all you give and that is a wonderful thing.
Effective time management is crucial when you are juggling school, work, organizations…and life outside all of these areas! Organizing my days, weeks, and months (yes, months) worked well. If I knew a certain time of the month would be very busy, I would attempt to complete as many tasks as possible when I had free time so that my responsibilities would not pile up.
And most importantly, enjoy every minute of it – academics should be your priority, but they should not take over your entire college experience.
Great advice - thanks Ale!
If you have a transfer success story to share on the blog, please visit isaadney.com to learn more!