Avoiding Potential Pitfalls In Transferring
SUNY Cortland is committed to the smooth transfer of students into our academic programs. As a student, there are steps you can take at any point throughout your transfer experience to become more knowledgeable about the process and to prepare for academic success in your bachelor's program.
While at your previous institution...
Choose a transfer-friendly two-year degree. If your goal is to transfer to a four-year college and earn a bachelor's degree, you should be enrolled in an associate's of arts (AA) or associate's of science (AS) degree program. Associate's of Applied Science (AAS) and Associate's of Occupational Science (AOS) programs are designed for direct entry into the work place and lack the arts and sciences foundation necessary for a seamless transfer into most bachelor's programs at Cortland.
Start sequential courses early. Many courses are sequential in nature, and you cannot complete all courses of the sequence in a semester. For example, you must take Beginning Spanish I before Beginning Spanish II. Delaying the start of sequential courses can delay degree progress, so begin early!
Tackle your "hard" courses. Every student has a subject matter in which they feel less confident - math, foreign language, psychology - and that they have to complete for their degree. Many students put off the course until after they transfer; however, completing the course(s) early has its benefits. The course may be a pre-requisite to upper-division coursework, and completing it early may allow for smoother transition into major-specific coursework. You may also be more familiar with the professor, fellow students, and academic support services at your previous institution in order to seek help if you encounter difficulty in the course.
Focus on your General Education requirements and introductory coursework. Completing most, if not all, of your GE requirements will allow you to move into your major-specific coursework upon transfer.
Utilize your academic advisor and transfer counselor. They can help you make course choices at your institution that will prepare you to transfer. Your transfer coordinator will also be familiar with other colleges' programs and help you make a choice that is right for you. Ask about what articulation agreements your community college has with 4-year colleges, too, and for the list of recommended courses.
Seek help for academic difficulty early. Reading comprehension. Math skills. Writing. Test-taking skills. Time management. Students struggle with a variety of issues, and these issues can become more prominent as course difficulty increases. Establishing good habits early is critical for long-term success after transfer.
Focus on your GPA. Many of SUNY Cortland's programs are competitive, and achieving the minimum GPA necessary for transfer (2.5) does not guarantee admission. Establishing a strong GPA not only makes you a stronger candidate for admission but also reflects strong academic preparedness and habits. Again, establishing good academic habits will help you achieve great academic success after transfer.
Explore majors - especially at the four-year college level. Many AA/AS Liberal Arts or General Studies programs will prepare you to transfer to a variety of majors. However, having a solid idea of your intended major and completing introductory courses will better prepare you to transfer. Not knowing what to major in is ok, but use your time at a community college wisely. Use your career services/counseling office to explore majors and associated careers.
Discovering your interests and strengths is a crucial part of college, which may also lead to a change of major and refocus of goals. You will need to realize, however, that the requirements for the previous major may not apply to your new major. This may increase your time to degree completion.
Research transfer policies and requirements at your future school. How many credits will transfer? What is the minimum grade for a course to transfer? Do they require certain courses to be completed in order to be accepted? Be prepared and knowledgeable to avoid surprises later. View the college's website and catalog and speak to an admissions counselor.
Looking to finish your degree online or at night? Research course availability at your new institution. SUNY Cortland is a traditional, residential campus. We offer a limited amount of courses online or at night during the fall and spring semester, and you may experience difficulty completing your degree at Cortland this way. Many programs also require observation hours, fieldwork, or internships that typically are completed during working hours. If you plan to work full-time or if you have family obligations, discuss your program and situation with an admissions counselor to determine if Cortland is the best fit for you.
Once accepted to SUNY Cortland...
Read all the materials sent to you. It can be overwhelming, but the information we send will help you understand the admissions process, registration, housing, financial aid, and more. Mark down important dates to avoid missed deadlines.
Attend a Transition Seminar. SUNY Cortland recognizes that transfer students have different needs than first-year students, and the transition seminar will address those needs. Our policies, procedures, and online systems will differ from your last institution, and the seminar will explain those differences. The seminar also provides the opportunity to meet with a faculty member in your academic department, to learn more about your program, and to register for your classes for the upcoming semester.
Send all transcripts in a timely manner. You will need to send transcripts for all colleges you have attended and any AP, IB, or CLEP credit you may have earned. Typically when students apply, however, they are still taking courses. You would need to send a final transcript after those courses are completed and grades/degrees are posted, meaning that you would send a minimum of two transcripts from your last institution. Requesting your final transcript in a timely manner will allow your final credit evaluation to be completed and will assist your advisor in advising you for your first semester of coursework.
When you arrive at Cortland...
Attend Transfer Connect programs. Transfer Connect programs, offered through the Advisement and Transition, are designed to connect you to other new transfer students, services on campus, and academic information. You might just meet your new best friend at the Transfer Student BBQ! Check out the Transfer Student Support website for information on upcoming programs.
Take advantage of your Transfer Buddy. New transfer students are assigned a transfer buddy to help with their transition to Cortland. This student is an upper-classmen transfer who is there to answer questions, give you a student perspective on life in Cortland, and point you to the right office or service. The transfer buddy will contact you via email at the start of the semester.
Stay in touch with the Transfer Student Blog. The blog will help keep you up to date with upcoming events and academic deadlines. Submit your email to receive a notice when a new post is added.
Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor. You should plan to schedule an individual appointment with your advisor within the first two weeks of classes. Your advisor's name and contact information is available on myRedDragon. Ask any lingering questions about your credits and create a plan toward graduation. This plan may evolve, but it provides you a template from which to start.