By Alison Bergblom Johnson
Two transfer fairs and two days of workshops highlighted many resources for students who wish to transfer to four-year institutions. Transfer week began on Sept. 22 and ran through Sept. 26.
Overall, many students who begin study at community colleges intend to transfer to four-year institutions, but most of those do not transfer, according to the College Board.
“MCTC is great preparation for study at a four-year university,” said Chuck Paulson, Dean of Math and Science.
Regardless, 38 percent of students who begin seeking a degree at full-time status and are beginning college for the first time graduated or transferred to other institutions within three years. This was the lowest rate of Minnesota’s community colleges.
One initiative to improve this rate is a two-semester course sequence called Statway, which was developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Students taking Statway have placed below college-level math on the Accuplacer and by the end of the sequence have earned a college level math course. Paulson said the course is “a junior-level statistics class that counts at the U of M”.
Ayele Ekue is in her first semester at MCTC who attended both transfer fairs this week. Her major is currently Pre-Nursing, but she intends to change it to Pre-Med once she transfers. She spoke with many colleges at the transfer fairs. She spoke highly of the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.
“They were really open and provide scholarships. It’s also pretty great that they have a Biology major,” she said.
Ekue also really liked the University of Minnesota because they are helpful and have majors that she likes. She would have liked to have attended workshops given as part of transfer week but did not know about them.
One such workshop was on transferology.com, a website that shows how courses will transfer between colleges. The website will show how courses taken at other colleges may transfer into MCTC and how courses from MCTC may transfer to other colleges. Students can import their unofficial transcript straight from eServices.
Students graduating from MCTC with associate degrees have completed the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC), though it is possible to complete the curriculum without earning a degree. This curriculum is accepted by many colleges in the state as the equivalent to completion of their general education requirements.
MCTC has articulation agreements with several four-year colleges and universities for many majors. An articulation agreement is a formal path to transfer into another institution. Some such agreements allow A.S. graduates in Nursing to transfer to the B.S.N. program at Augsburg, A.A. graduates in Liberal Arts to the Communications Studies bachelor’s program at Minnesota State University – Mankato, and from the Education A.S. degree to the Urban Teacher B.A. program at Metropolitan State University.
Paul Spies, Chair of the Urban Teacher Program in the School for Urban Education at Metro State, noted that MCTC transfer students have experience with and commitment to urban teaching. The program started in 2001 with Metro State, Inver Hills Community College and MCTC.
“Our genesis was a legislative mandate because existing [teacher education] programs were not meeting the needs of [urban K-12] students,” he said.
Fifty percent of students in the urban teaching program must be students of color. Spies said it is not just the race of the student teacher, “but being prepared to have the attitude, knowledge and skills for a wide variety of urban learning”.
Spies advised students wishing to transfer to the urban teacher program to seek advising early to avoid extra courses.
Andrew Straub, a transfer admissions counselor with the University of Wisconsin – Stout, said his college has a 97 percent placement rate over the last 10 years, in part, due to collaboration with industry. Placement rates show the percentage of graduates who get jobs in their field.
“We’re pretty transfer friendly, have a traditional on-campus program … and an adult option for non-traditional students,” Kirstin O’Leary, an enrollment counselor with Bethel University said.
The adult option offers one course at a time that students attend one night per week. O’Leary said the strength of Bethel as an option for transfer students is that it works for a 20-year-old who wants to live on campus or for a 45-year-old who needs flexibility.
“I love my MCTC students,” said Mary Kazura, Assistant Director of Admissions with Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), referring to A.F.A. transfer students. “Professors [at MCTC] prepare students well for transferring.”
Regarding the cost of transfer to MCAD, Kazura said the admission office refers students to a net-cost calculator on their website. The college offers merit awards, institutional grants and students are eligible for federal financial aid. She also said most students do have out-of-pocket tuition costs.
In addition, she said the admissions office at MCAD is very happy to give feedback on portfolios and review unofficial transcripts. She advises visual art students to attend National Portfolio Day to be held at MCAD on Oct. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Students will be able to meet with representatives from arts colleges from all over the country and get additional feedback on their portfolios and admission materials.