The real cost of credit transfers

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Jen Marx
Campus News
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Many high school students who do not have a particular career in mind are encouraged to go to community college in order to determine what they want to do and to dabble in a variety of options. But does dabbling become unproductive and useless at a point? Part of answering that question lies in figuring out how those credits earned at community college will transfer over to a four-year institution.
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Eric James, a Nassau Community College graduate of 2005 and an Adelphi University graduate of 2007, raves about his time at college. He said, “My experience at NCC was a positive one which helped set a foundation for the future years of my college career. I was able to take the basic required courses for a low price while getting a great education. All my credits transferred over to Adelphi and because of that I was able to take classes that were strictly related to my major and minor and any electives that interested me. Getting my core courses out of the way at Nassau allowed me to develop my interests and take classes that I was really interested in at Adelphi.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
When asked if the school faces problems with credit transfers from community colleges, CW Post, Adelphi University and SUNY Stony Brook declined to comment. What exactly is the big secret then, if there is one at all? Adelphi’s Admissions website offers a handy tool, the Transfer Evaluation System, for prospective students to determine if their credits will be accepted at the institution. Let’s see how it works!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If a prospective student compares courses from an Associates degree in English Teacher Education at Nassau to a Bachelors in English and a minor in Adolescences Education at Adelphi, he or she will find that 21 courses transfer over. Nassau’s English 101, Composition I, becomes Adelphi’s English 107, The Art and Craft of Writing. Math 102, Introduction to Statistics, becomes Math 113 Survey of Statistics and so forth.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
To account for equal treatment of community colleges, let’s look at how a Suffolk County Community College student would fare in the same program. Interestingly, the guide lists credit transfer programs for nursing students only for the four campuses of SCCC. Whether the tool is not yet complete or the institution simply does not have any other transfer programs from SCCC is unclear. In either cases, 10 courses from SCCC are accepted as credit for the nursing program in much the same style as the previous case, where the community college courses are accepted as one of the same nature of the Adelphi course.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Everything looks great at first; however, in order to have such a flawless transition, students must be like James and have a plan prepared from the onset. First of all, our theoretical student with an Associates in English Teacher Education would have to complete 21 courses at Nassau in order to have all of his or her basics covered at Adelphi — 21 courses are 63 credits. Take an average student who pursues 15 credits per semester, and intends to finish community college in two years, and such a plan leaves one class (3 credits) unaccounted for.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
James admits that in order to complete school in two years, he had to attend classes over the summers. Though not a problem for the student with a plan, what happens to the students who want to dabble? We still have not quite determined where their credits go. Furthermore, the Admissions website states: “Please note that while a course equivalency may appear in a list, this does not guarantee that the course will transfer to Adelphi University. Our Transfer Admissions staff continually reviews equivalencies, making them subject to change. What exactly does this mean for prospective students?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Without answers from school officials, determining exactly where the problem lies is difficult. However, if there were no problems, 2,210,000 results would not appear when searching for “college credit transfer problems” on Google.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Furthermore, a Long Island student, Lola L., stated, “I didn’t have any troubles but I had a cousin who had a lot. She is currently at her third university hoping that they will accept her transfer credits. She has been in school for four years because of the fiasco and doesn’t see her graduation date being anytime soon.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
So far the problem has only been defined in terms of cost effectiveness. The sooner students get out of school, the quicker they make money. The more credits that transfer, the less money students have to spend on excessive credits. However, reworking the definition of the meaning of college presents a different insight on the issue.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Imagine a world where students dabble indefinitely in a wide range of classes that interest them, but perhaps are not going to be useful in their career. Students could take as many art, drama, music, etc. courses as they want without a clear path of that would eventually become their major. Perhaps this fantasyland does not exist, if it did, students would not have to worry so much about credit transfers because they would be more focused on taking courses to enhance their unique interests and tastes instead of their wallets.
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Kieran Kutner, an NCC student, comes close to this idea. When asked about his time at NCC, he said, “When I began going to NCC, my dedication and drive to attend class was low, and my grades suffered significantly. I failed and dropped courses and took time off from school. Since then, my GPA has risen from a 1.07 to just below a 3.0. I now know I have the ability to get the grades I want, and get that GPA over the 3.0 mark.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
He added, “For me, Nassau was the place to start. It was inexpensive enough to allow me make mistakes and improve upon them; it has taught me that the time to mess around is over. I guess it’s gotten the screw around time out of my system, and now that I have found the motivation within me, I am not so worried about transferring to a four-year school.”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For Kutner, community college was not about making a perfect plan for the future, but rather exploring his interests and really getting to know himself. Claire Semder, 2008 graduate of Marist College, perhaps finds a balance between Kutner and James’ experiences when she said, “Personally, I don’t believe that money should be the goal of any education. It is an added benefit. I chose a career that I enjoy, but since graduating from a four-year program my diploma did not automatically entitle me to a life of luxury. I have worked for free at internships, low budget freelance jobs, and just now have taken on my first full-time permanent position.
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“The career you choose and the reasons to choose it are important to the individual, be it for money or happiness or familial obligation. … However, I do think taking courses is good for life in general. Those who take them in college have an ultimate goal of a diploma, but they also learn how to adhere to deadlines and juggle schedules,” she continued.
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Semder summed it up: College is about finding a job, but also about enjoying the ride. Students who want to get out quickly with a successful degree need to have a plan from the start and research the four-year institution they intend to attend after community college, while students who want to spend more time exploring their various interests need to be aware and prepared for the extra money they will spend. But perhaps it is the students who find a balance who are most successful and fulfilled. Afterall, Semder did graduate salutatorian of her class.

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