By Julianne Mosher
Deciding where to go after leaving community college may be the hardest decision students face after graduation.
“Does this school accept all my credits?” “How long do I have to attend here after staying at my previous college for two or more years?” “What benefits am I going to get out of this new place?” “I’m scared.”
Mercy College, with its main campus located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, is a private liberal arts college known for making its students happy – especially its transfers.
“Mercy College is committed to providing motivated students the opportunity to transform their lives through higher education by offering liberal arts and professional programs in personalized and high quality learning environments, thus preparing students to embark on rewarding careers, to continue learning throughout their lives and to act ethically and responsibly in a changing world,” preaches the mission statement located on the college’s website.
This idea of personalized learning and preparation for a future career is the most important aspect that educators at the school want to show potential students along with a low-cost tuition perfect for people who do not want to be in debt forever.
“”First and foremost we are incredibly affordable,” Deirdre Whitman, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said. “We provide students with an affordable tuition rate… it’s in the $17,000 range for the entire year the national rate is about $30,000 a year for a private experience.
“We don’t want students to be buried in debt after they gradate,” she added.
Other private colleges and universities in New York alone can range up to $50,000, including dorms, food, transportation and other necessities required for college. Mercy does not want students to feel entitled to pay back loans forever and truly promote the multiple scholarships along with grants and financial aid available to anyone who wants to go there.
“It’s a tremendous value that’s hard to beat for higher education,” she said.
Not only is Mercy known for its impeccable and affordable price, but also they are devoted to taking as many credits as they can from a student’s previous college.
“We’re generous with credits from a previous school, so we try to take as much as we can,” Whitman said. According to the Mercy website, a maximum of 75 credits can be accepted upon transfer from an accredited two-year college. Transferring from an accredited four-year college allows a maximum of 90 credits, and combined credits from both two- and four-year colleges cannot exceed 90 credit hours – a huge benefit for students who spent a lot of time at another school.
“The partnership with community colleges is very strong,” she added.
After all the credits are sorted out and applied to Mercy’s curriculum, Whitman said that their students are encouraged to create a plan to get their degrees on time.
“It’s a priority that they graduate and start their lives,” she said.
“Graduate courses can apply to undergrad and graduate degrees – so students can get a master’s degree within only three years,” she said. “It positions other students ahead in the real world, giving them a competitive edge.”
The administration and faculty at Mercy College strive to see their students succeed and be the best that they can in a short amount of time. Recently, Whitman said, the college added a new coaching and mentoring program for incoming transfer students – a program that was once only available to freshmen coming into school for the first time.
The program allows incoming transfers to be paired up with a personal coach – someone with a master’s degree, who has his or her own real life experience and who is enthusiastic about student success.
These mentors meet with their designated student and create customized plans and it is called the Personalized Achievement Contract Program (PACT).
Whitman said that this program is a huge aid to students suffering from culture shock of transferring to a college straight out of community college.
“The national average of students meeting with an advisor is two times per semester,” she said. “At Mercy, it’s 20 times a semester.”
The mentors connect with the students and allow them to become comfortable with their new surroundings and even offer aid in internships and experience.
“The faculty at Mercy are the most passionate about higher education and their students,” she added.
Along with the ongoing support students receive from faculty; Whitman said that the location, classes, scheduling and programs are all great for students considering the switch to Mercy.
“We have 90 academic programs, but what really helps us is our location is phenomenal,” she said. Including the main campus in Dobbs Ferry, Mercy College also has three other campuses: in Manhattan, the Bronx and in Yorktown Heights. All of these campuses have student housing for their students, and if staying at a dorm is not an option, the travel for commuter students is always a breeze.
“The campuses are very accessible to all forms of public transportation,” Whitman said. “We make sure that we make everything very streamline for commuter students.”
However even with the easy public transportation available, the campuses have open gym facilities that commuters are able to use, cafes and various personal spaces that commuters can lounge in while waiting for class.
“We really think through what students need, whether residential or transfer,” she added.
Transferring to Mercy College could be a great choice for students, especially if they want to study one of the college’s main five strengths:
Mercy is known high for its health and natural sciences programs, business school, social and behavioral sciences degree, education degree and even the study of liberal arts for those who still may not be 100 percent sure where they want to take their learning after they leave community college.
Students who want to visit Mercy are able to do so anytime and may even sit in on a class if they want to see how comfortable a school with a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio can be; studying at a college with the added bonus of having a wide range of programs and a great price tag.