This past spring, in addition to the 5,000 freshmen admitted to Virginia Tech, 1,030 students were admitted as transfer students, the highest number in university history. Of these students, 66 percent of the transfers came from Virginia community colleges.
Tyler Key, a senior communication major, learned first hand the challenges coming with transfering from a community college to a four-year university when he moved fromJohn Tyler Community College's Midlothian campus last year.
“I got into plenty of schools out of high school, but I wanted to go to Virginia Tech,'" he said. "I thought it would be better to just wait, go to a community college, save some money then transfer to Tech, which is the only school I wanted to attend.”
Mildred R. Johnson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tech, explains the relationship her department has built with students like Key at Virginia community colleges.
“We do a great deal of up-front advising for students who perhaps did not get in as freshmen, did not attend for financial reasons, or found the affordability of a community college better when they graduated high school," Johnson said.
When transfer students apply, they go through the same admission process as incoming freshmen. They are required to submit applications in addition to high school transcripts and any transcripts from colleges or institutions they previously attended.
Tech admissions tends to give priority to students who have completed the prerequisite English, mathematics, and science courses based on their particular major, Johnson explained.
There is a very extensive credit transfer guide from the university registrar website and admissions works very closely with the community colleges to accept the majority of the credits students are taking, especially if they earn an associate degree. In those instances, students come in with junior standing and a majority of their curriculum of liberal education completed.
“If you earn an associate degree with a satisfactory curriculum of transferable credits, and achieve a certain GPA, you can get into any Virginia school," Key explained. "Two representatives came into my community college from Virginia Tech, checked my transcript, and told me I was accepted on the spot.”
With this program in place, students who achieve certain academic standards and receive an associate degree after two years, are automatically admitted to the Virginia school of their choice.
As Johnson explained, it is easy to make certain course recommendations for students at community colleges more so than transfers from four-year universities because they know they are going to transfer — especially from one of the 23 Virginia community colleges.
“They have a list of classes that match up to the Tech curriculum," Key said. Although all my credits did not transfer, I was able to catch up by taking summer classes and now I am on schedule to graduate this spring.”
Right now, Tech and the admissions department are doing preliminary work on a transfer summer academy, which would be modeled like the current freshmen summer academy.
The academy will allow Tech to admit some transfer students in some of the more competitive or space-limited programs where they need certain prerequisite classes to be accepted.
“Getting settled in somewhere then having to transfer would be tough," Key said. "Going to community college first made it an easier transition for me, and I probably wouldn’t have transferred if I had started at another four year university."
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