While much of the national consciousness around college admissions still focuses on where students attend as freshman, people should pay more attention to transfer students. Rick Clark, director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech, notes that one-third of students graduating from four-year colleges started elsewhere. Georgia Tech enrolls about 850 transfer students annually.
If you have been watching TV lately, or listening to the radio, or interacting with other humans, you know the NBA Playoffs are heating up. These days the hottest name in the NBA is Steph Curry. He is the uber-talented point guard for the Golden State Warriors, and he was recently unanimously named MVP of the league. But interestingly when he was graduating from high school the big time college programs around the nation were not interested. He was crushed and ultimately decided to stay close to home in North Carolina and attend Davidson College.
Curry’s experience got me thinking about Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” and the fact more families and students don’t consider the transfer route.
Data from the National Student Clearinghouse shows that in 13 states more than half of four-year university graduates began at a two-year college. Much of this is because public universities have established articulation agreements with colleges in their state or region geared toward enrolling transfer students.
Florida is certainly a state with a strong history in this arena. The University of California system, which boasts five of the top 10 public universities also has a deep commitment to the transfers. As Tech has become more selective on the freshman side, we see more students going to another college or university for a year or two and then re-applying to earn a Tech degree.
Whether transferring is an affordability strategy; a necessary path to your ultimate goal due to circumstances; or you wake up in a cold dorm room next November wondering “Why did I pick this place? I gotta get out of here!” think of Frost’s roads – “both that morning equally lay.”
Unlike the poet who bemoans a permanent separation, the roads of transfer and freshman students converge and ultimately cross the same stage– same school name and credentials on your resume and diploma.
Steph Curry held on to his dream of playing in the NBA. He harnessed the initial setback to be his motivation at Davidson. It fueled him. It drove him to push harder and to prove himself. And ultimately, like many students who transfer colleges, it is that road “that has made all the difference.”
Read Clark’s entire blog post here
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