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Why it is vital that transfer students get the guidance they need

Being a transfer student can come with its disadvantages, especially when one is trying to figure out what to do with themselves for the rest of their life. This is what makes the transfer process from one college to another so vital: it’s a turning point in a student’s life that will have a domino effect on everything that happens to them afterwards. Therefore, it is important that every student has all of the information, guidance, and tools in their disposal before they even consider making the jump to a new college. 

One reason for this is the fact that every college is different in their own ways — with different majors, speciality areas, and tuition costs. It’s important for the student to have a clear understanding of the best path for them to take. This is not to say that these decisions should be made for the student, but rather, 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. What are the job and career opportunities for a student’s major? Students should always be aware of the answer to this question. They should also be aware of differences in tuition and their desired college’s overall structure. 

I, for one, struggled to find out a number of things which delayed my transfer process. I didn’t know anything about tuition costs, any recommendations on how many credits I should take before transferring, or even that I could take credits at the community college to count towards my bachelor’s degree after obtaining my associates degree. These are things I had to research on my own. It shouldn’t be this way. One can easily miss these important bits of information. 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. 

Mental health, uncertainty, and downright confusion are several of many reasons why it is so important that every CUNY college have the advising and counseling resources needed to help students get a clear idea of what college would be best for them. I remember asking my community college if there was an advisor who specializes in transferring and was told that there were only advisors who can assist in matters pertaining to that particular college. It shouldn’t be this way — and I hope things improve for transfer students in the future. 

Joseph Torres is a student at CUNY-Hunter College, and a Spring 2021 Young Advocate with YI-New York.