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Old 04-07-2011, 08:11 PM   #1
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Default Could use some advice (related to college transfers)

This semester, I transferred from a community college in my home state to a private school (with a solid scholarship). I'm a chemistry major and I specifically want to get a B.S. with American Chemical Society certification, because I'm planning to go into industry (not education).

I found out yesterday that, despite what I was told when I transferred in, I am *not* on track to finish my degree on time.

Not because of any chemistry class issues. Because there are a million general ed. requirements I haven't filled and I'd likely have to spend two semesters taking stupid history classes and psychology and Spanish. I was told all I would need to take were a couple language classes and the Theology/Philosophy requirement - turns out I need 11 courses beyond that, because even though my credits from the community college technically transferred, they won't apply most of them towards my degree. It's an issue of not having exactly the right history class, exactly the right this and that, despite the fact that I was initially told they *would* count.

To top it all off, my scholarship wouldn't extend to those additional semesters. So this effectively means I'd be a good $40k *more* in debt than I thought I would be when I graduated, which was already a hefty enough sum by itself.

So basically my options are:

1) suck it up and have a giant mountain of debt I wasn't expecting
2) transfer somewhere cheaper

Looking like #2 is going to be my option right now. It sucks, because I actually like going to school here a lot (minus the roommate situation, though that's settled down somewhat the last couple days) and I really like the chemistry program here. But... it's just not worth the money.

I'm also torn because financially it would make the most sense to go back to my home state - but I don't *want* to go back. Especially because I have an actual relationship that I think is really headed somewhere amazing. We will probably end up getting married some day (and more importantly, he feels the same way). He's about to finish his Master's and already has a very well-paying job lined up after graduation, so it would make 0 sense for him to leave the area.

One option I was considering was taking a few classes at a community college and applying to transfer for the Spring to another university in the area (a state school that even out of state is still relatively cheaper than where I'm going now).

Basically, this is a combination vent and asking for advice - there's a wonderful wealth of experience on this forum and I'm interested in hearing other perspectives.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:51 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good old university screwing.

Did you get any written commitment from them about what CC courses should have counted when you transferred in? If you did, you could use that as leverage. Even if you didn't, who are you hearing this from? If it's from somebody who's pretty low on the totem-pole, it may be worth appealing to somebody like your school's dean (although if you did this, you would probably need to make sure you could persuasively argue why your previous coursework should count).

Is there any possibility that you could work and go to school part-time? What does it take to get an entry-level position in an industrial lab?

Are there any other scholarships or grants you could apply for?

Good luck.

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Old 04-07-2011, 09:00 PM   #3
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Private schools and public schools don't always play nice. When I went to college, I started at a private school and transferred to a public university. A lot of my gen ed classes at the private college didn't translate well to the public university. In the end, I had to take a lot of extra classes. 5 years total and 350 units later (180 required for a degree), I graduated. Luckily though my grants did cover my schooling and I graduated with $12k in loans total.

It is up to you on whether to augment your classes at a community college but you will need to talk to the school about how to do it and to not risk classes not counting. $40k is a lot of money and if i was you, I'd seriously consider transferring elsewhere.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:17 PM   #4
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I have had a ton of problems in the same vein.

It doesn't sound like the school did anything wrong. If I understand your situation correctly, they accept your community college courses as general credits but they do not count for any requirements.

The school your going to probably has a website (or some medium where this can be done easily) where you can enter courses from other schools and find out what they count as. Ie select another college, select a course and then it will tell you if the course counts as general credits, counts as a direct substitution for a specific course, a gen ed or some other requirement. You will probably be able though picking and choosing the courses you take, to complete some of your coursework elsewhere.

Talk to a GOOD advisor, find out how many transfer credits your allowed etc, and get any courses you take approved ahead of time. Get everything they tell you saved in email form.

I would bite the bullet and take on the debt. Your earning potential goes up so much more by having a degree. It seems like you have a solid plan of what you want to do with it. Science fields are always in demand. Taking a few years longer to save a few bucks probably wont compensate for what you could be earing during those years with a degree. JMO
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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I always heard this fromfriends who transfered in to the private school I went to. A few tips that got a lot of them help:

Don't take no for an answer until you've reached the top. One friend even met wth the university president and axplained her situation...and he made it happen.

Go online and access both school's catalogs. Print off the course description of the class you took, and the class you want it to sub for. Compare the descriptions. Take these in to whomever you are meeting with and show them the similaries. If they are different, you may be out of luck.

If they are different, take the description of the class you took to the department chair or dean. Explain to them why your class you took should count towards your degree.

And lastly, ask your advisor to show you how to finish on time. Maybe you can take summer classes, a class online here or there...and make it work. One of my friends had to bust her butt to make up 8 classes she already took that our school wouldn't accept. But since she already had them, she took them online or summer or January term and finished them quickly and made them all up. A bit of work, but it might be possible.

Good luck!

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