Starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year college or university is a common strategy for students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree. From teens to adult learners and career changers, more students are considering the transfer route for its many advantages:
- Low tuition
- Smaller class sizes
- Financial aid and scholarships
- Online choices
- Transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities
- Career opportunities
Approximately one out of four students at Westmoreland County Community College intends to transfer. With transfer agreements with numerous four-year colleges and universities, students can start a bachelor’s degree at WCCC knowing their courses will transfer.
WCCC offers the associate of arts (AA) and associate of fine arts (AFA) degrees which are designed for students planning to transfer. The courses in these degree programs are the same courses students would take during the first two years at a four-year college or university.
Ease into the College Experience
With dedicated faculty and smaller class sizes, community colleges are better at easing students into the college experience with more individualized attention. Smaller class sizes allow for greater access to instructors, which translate into a better learning environment and potential student success. At WCCC, the average class size is 15 students.
In addition, students who do not have a major in mind after graduating from high school find that a community college is the best place to start. Community colleges are good places to explore career fields of interest before committing to a major.
Attending a community college can provide substantial savings. For starters, tuition and fees are often less than four-year institutions. At WCCC, tuition for Westmoreland County residents is just $93 per credit. By starting and staying at WCCC through completion of an associate of arts or associate of fine arts degree, students may save enough to cover the tuition costs of their junior year at the university to which they plan to transfer.
Community college campuses also tend to be conveniently located, saving students commuting costs and dorm expenses by living at home. In addition to the Youngwood campus, WCCC maintains four centers in Westmoreland County – in Belle Vernon, Export, Latrobe and New Kensington. The college also serves residents of Fayette, Greene and Indiana counties with centers in Uniontown, Waynesburg and Indiana.
Another important, yet often overlooked, benefit is scholarship opportunities. When students start at WCCC, they start building their college transcript and their academic achievements there which can lead to scholarship opportunities not just at the community college, but at a four-year institution as well. Together, the WCCC Educational Foundation and the college award approximately $500,000 in scholarships each year.
Complete the Basics
Bachelor’s degree programs require that students fulfill a set of general education courses. Community colleges are good places to earn these credits. WCCC students can take these courses and transfer their credits to various public and private colleges and universities.
WCCC has a number of transfer agreements with four-year public and private institutions which means that the receiving institution has agreed to accept WCCC students as having completed the first two years of specific four-year programs. By working with an advisor or transfer counselor, students can experience a seamless transition from WCCC to a four-year institution.
More Time to Define a Major
Students who are unsure of what to major in after graduating high school find community colleges the best place to start. WCCC is a good place to explore career fields of interest before committing to a major. WCCC provides an opportunity to take time exploring options while paying less per credit than at a four-year institution.
Assistance with Transferring
Students need to be educated consumers when choosing a college or university, especially if they know they will be transferring to another school in the future. When meeting with a college admissions representative, one of the most important questions to ask is “Will my credits transfer to another institution?” and then ask for a list of those schools that accept the credits.
Many four-year institutions hire personnel specifically to assist and recruit students from community colleges. Throughout the semesters, many of these representatives visit WCCC to speak with students about transferring to their college or university. Additionally, WCCC hosts fall and spring Transfer Fairs for students to learn about transfer opportunities at many different four-year institutions at one time.
“Transferring from a community college is the smart way to start college, save money and achieve academic goals,” said Robert Wright, WCCC counselor/associate professor.
“By using the expertise of dedicated professors, professionals and resources, the process provides a smooth transition to a four-year institution, especially for graduates with an associate degree.”
Where are WCCC students transferring?
WCCC graduates have successfully transferred to many colleges and universities. Here are some of the most popular transfer schools over the past 10 years:
- California University of Pennsylvania
- Carlow University
- Clarion University of Pennsylvania
- Edinboro University
- Franklin University
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania State University/Fayette
- University of Pittsburgh/Oakland, Johnstown & Greensburg
- Point Park University
- Robert Morris University
- Saint Vincent College
- Seton Hill University
- Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
- Waynesburg University