Thursday, March 20, 2014

Changing Colleges: The Transfer Student Experience

By Devan Lau

Before graduating from high school, most young adults must have a plan on the decisions or choices of colleges they would attend and study. Most would start attending four year institutions after graduating from high school. However, many other students including myself would consider starting small by attending a community college for two years. After attending a community college, the student can transfer to a four year college of their choice for the remaining two or more years, depending on the amount of credits transferred and accepted.
After I graduated from high school, I had chosen my educational path by starting small. I started to attend Bergen Community College in September 2010 majoring in Broadcasting. Unfortunately, I was not able to graduate within the expected two years because I did not pass their placement exams, which resulted in taking remedial math and English courses and graduating a year beyond the expected original date.

The experience of attending a community college was memorable. This helped me to break the ice of becoming independent and taking responsibilities and making personal decisions as a young adult. It was very convenient for me to attend because I commuted from my home to Bergen, which takes 15 to 20 minutes to travel there. I was also able to create a flexible schedule, in case I would work part-time it would not conflict with classes. I was able to make a few new friends and saw some familiar classmates from high school.

The campus seemed huge, which in the beginning was difficult for me to navigate through. However, I eventually was able to find my way around the campus, which includes separate buildings that are not directly connected to each other. Bergen was notoriously known for difficult parking, which I personally would recommend leaving earlier in order to find the perfect parking of your choice. However, there were many other students who do not own or drive a car, so they use the public transportation system to commute to the campus.

The courses I took were on the easy to almost difficult setting. Some of the classes were small while others had about 25 students maximum. My most favorite class was television production, which gave me the experience of how to operate the cameras and record a live show. Before my graduation, I worked part-time at Bergen’s media technologies department. My tasks were usually to handle and transport media equipment such as a speaker, computer, and projector for the school’s faculty when they do seminars with guest speakers. I also occasionally filmed with a camcorder for live concerts and guest speakers.

Before I graduated from Bergen, I was trying to decide which four year college I would transfer to. I applied to two colleges, Ramapo and St. Thomas Aquinas. I filled out both of the applications and wrote an essay for them through the site: I attended a couple of college fairs and received information from both colleges about their campuses and degree programs. I also spent my spring break taking a tour of both colleges to get acquainted with their campuses.

I finally decided that St. Thomas Aquinas College was the best choice because they offered the program and courses that I wanted to take. I declared my major in Communication Arts through their Bachelor of Arts program. Therefore, I submitted the school entry deposit and my transcript from Bergen and got scheduled to meet with a transfer counselor to begin my transfer process to STAC.

After graduating Bergen, I received my Associates degree and began my journey to transfer to STAC. I attended their orientation and received my ID and parking permit. Attending my first semester at STAC was a big difference compared to Bergen. The campus is smaller and easier to navigate and the classes, which have the same amount of students like Bergen, were slightly more advanced depending on the course chosen.

Like Bergen, commuting to STAC takes about 15 to 20 minutes from my home. Parking is easier even though getting to campus earlier is still highly recommended. It has been a wonderful experience to get acquainted with new professors, classmates, and courses. I am looking forward to continue to enjoy my time as a STAC student and to receive my Bachelor’s degree in less than two years from now.

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