Daniel Hermosisima / West High Chieftain
West Torrance High School

Why two-year transfer students are making a wise college decision

Ever since National College Decision Day on May 1, high school seniors have been tooting their own horns, bragging about the colleges that have accepted them. Students who were admitted into universities like UCLA, UC Berkeley, or any of the other prestigious undergraduate schools in California are often celebrated, but there is a large portion of high school students left out of the limelight.

This is the case mostly because of these students’ plans to take a wiser, and more economical route to higher education, which means transferring after two years of community college into the UC or CSU school systems. Yes, there is not much to brag about when you are going to El Camino or Santa Monica Community College, because after all, it is not Stanford, but what matters is the end result.

No matter where you go for higher education, the first two years of college that lead up to attaining an Associate’s Degree are filled with classes that satisfy the General Education (GE) requirement, which is mandatory for every college student. The fact of the matter is that whether students choose to go to a community college or even the prestigious University of Southern California for these GE requirements, the certification and degree are one and the same. The ranking of colleges have no effect on the caliber of an Associate’s Degree, hence, it does not matter where students go for the first two years of college in order to satisfy GE requirements.

The most attractive aspect of going to community college for the first two years of post-high school education is the affordability. Community colleges charge $1,000 to $1,500 per year, proving to be vastly affordable in comparison to the $12,000 to $15,000 that UC and CSU schools charge. Given that the accreditation for the first two years of college is the same no matter where you go, many high school seniors look to save at least $20,000 worth of tuition costs by choosing to attend a community college and wait for two years to apply to the dream university of their choice. This is what is known as the Two-Year Transfer program that community colleges like El Camino, Santa Monica, and Cerritos offer. This option not only saves students a large amount of money because according to LA Times higher education reporter, Teresa Watanabe, now is the best time to take advantage of this transfer opportunity.

Watanabe said, “Several community colleges are experiencing enrollment declines, since the recovering economy and robust job growth have lured more people back into the workforce. So, it is probably easier to get [community college] classes now than [before] during the recession, when the lack of jobs prompted many people to go back to school and community colleges got really crowded. It is a good time to be a community college student looking at the two-year transfer option.”

Furthermore, small rumors make high school students skeptical of this two-year transfer option, like the concept that the prioritization of these two-year transfer students is either declining or nonexistent. On the contrary, Watanabe instead pointed out how because of The 1960 California Master Plan for Higher Education, the UC and CSU school systems give further priority to college student transfers and accept one two-year transfer student for every two freshman applicants admitted.

Even more compelling was how Watanabe mentioned that, “In 2014, UC President Janet Napolitano convened a work group to review the transfer issue. In 2015 UC unveiled a ‘transfer pathways program’ which now offers an academic roadmap for courses to take at community colleges in 21 majors that allows for a seamless transition to UC.”

As a sophomore in community college looking to apply into the UC or CSU school systems, students do not have to over-hydrate their bodies with caffeine and study for AP, SAT, or ACT tests so that they can send in their scores to universities. Universities only see if transfer students meet a GPA and college credit requirement.

This option seems almost too good to be true because not only do universities put transfer applicants under much less scrutiny when compared to freshman applicants, at the end of college, transfer students will have less debt and tuition to pay off, if any. Transfer students will also be able to get gradual rolling start to college life and college courses.

4 Comments

  • Reply Bianca Ibarra May 19, 2017 at 9:30 am

    After reading this it makes me feel that my collueges who are going to community college are making a smart financial choice. I on the other hand don’t feel bad for choosing to go to a CSU because the financial aid package that was given to me covered the whole cost of attending school. I didn’t have to take out any loans and stress about money

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  • Reply lilly May 19, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    i totally agree with this article and can relate to it. I feel that many students apply an go to these “top universities” many because of social acceptance or o have something to brag about. For example, me friend got accepted to both ucla and ucsd. USCG offered him more money so in the end, he would owe less money but decided to commit to Ucla because its UCLA. Although they did not offer him as much money.

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  • Reply Christian Najarro May 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    The main idea of this article is to help people understand that there is no shame about going to a community college instead of attending a 4-year university. In fact, it is a smarter decision to go to a 2-year college and transferring to a university as stated in the article. I agreed the most with the fact that it is economically beneficial. Including the statement that what matters most is the end result and not where you begin. Not once did I have a disagreement with the article as I read.

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  • Reply Darren Hong May 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I believe staying in community college is wise because it helps save a lot of money and even though you may go to different schools with different reputations, If you have to end up paying debt for the next decade or so, I’d say university isn’t really worth it if that’s the real catch to it. ok so it may look good on your records but being in debt for like 15-20 years would suck a lot. Which is why I think 2 year transfer is a great idea and a wise decision.

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