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A Broken System: Why the College Transfer Process Needs an Overhaul

Transferring to another college shouldn’t prevent a student from graduating — but for thousands of New York students, the transfer process can be confusing and expensive, and put them at risk of leaving college without a degree.

This semester, our Young Advocates led a campaign to improve the transfer process for college students across New York. They surveyed their peers on the barriers that prevent students from successfully transferring colleges, collected stories from transfer students across New York, and launched a statewide policy agenda to make a seamless transfer process a reality for college students in New York.

Below are blogs from our Advocates, explaining why improving the transfer system will help make colleges more equitable institutions. Ready to join the fight to improve the transfer system across New York? Sign our students’ petition, watch our student-led town hall, use our social media toolkit to make noise, and sign up for our campus pledge to lead the charge to transform our college system.

Confusing transfer policies take a real toll on students’ academic goals, finances, and well-being.

“Because of my confusion about transferred credits, I ended up taking a semester off because I simply didn’t know if I should take more credits at my community college and when I should transfer them — let alone knowing what colleges would be best for me based on credits I gathered so far. This added to my anxiety and depression at the time, as I felt completely lost on my college path.” – Joseph Torres, CUNY-Hunter College

“[Losing college credits is] like pawning away your valuables knowing that you will not get all your worth back.” – Shing Chung, Sarah Lawrence College

Colleges and policymakers should pay attention to the issues transfer students face, and advance policies that make the process seamless for all students.

“One way to make transferring a better process is to allow previous work experience to count for college credit. Internships and other work experience should count for credits. Another way is to invest in academic counselors and programs that help college students transfer successfully, – Nikaury Urena, CUNY-LaGuardia Community College student

“Students should be given as much information, advising, and direction as possible. Advisors need to ask students a variety of questions to help them narrow down their college choices and choice of major based on interests and skills,” – Joseph Torres, CUNY-Hunter College

For more student perspectives on the transfer system, read the rest of the blogs from our Young Advocates: