From Community College to the University of Rhode Island

The transfer process from any school to another can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing even for the most resilient and most stable of us. I’ll admit there were a few times when I felt a little lost or impatient with my own transfer process, but that’s not to say that it was a bad experience. Well, at least the one concerning my current college, the University of Rhode Island. My experiences with one or two other colleges left a lot to be desired in the way of more support for the process.

Granted, I’m doing this during a global pandemic, like so many others are attempting to do at this time. That changes the rules and muddies the playing field quite a bit! Regardless of how quick and seamless the original pre-pandemic procedures may have been, it would be prudent to remain as flexible and as patient as possible. Those of us currently transferring will have unique challenges of our own when it comes to requesting and sending documents from institutions, finding financial aid, getting registered for the right classes on time, and getting the rest of our checklist to-dos crossed off with as little stress as we can manage.

Now, I can’t speak from every college or university transfer, but over at the University of Rhode Island, it’s fairly straight forward so far. Reaching out to admissions and a transfer counselor right when you’ve committed to the decision of transfer will go a long way toward making everything go smoothly. The earlier the better!

Once you contact them and let them know of your decision, the next steps are simple enough:

  1. Fill out the TRANSFER Common Application (the freshman version is only for those transferring with less than 24 credits!)
  2. Send over your official transcripts from all previous institutions. If you have an Associate’s degree like me, you don’t have to bother with high school transcripts. 
  3. Fill out the FAFSA form and apply for financial aid, even if you think you won’t get any!
  4. Have a sit-down with the transfer advisors and financial aid counselors if you feel like you need more support throughout the process. Don’t be afraid to call or email them with questions, that’s what they are there for, to help you transition.
  5. Pay enrollment deposit. You can’t do much else without this and it counts towards a portion of your main tuition. For URI, that’s $300.
  6. If you plan to live on campus, or even want to try off-campus housing options, speak to the Housing department as soon as you pay the enrollment deposit and fill out any forms they request of you. The deposit to hold your space in any dorms or apartments is $200.
  7. Around this time it’s crucial to set up all your student accounts, especially E-campus where the financial aid info, billing, courses, and other important information will be accessible. There is also StarFish which is where you can see your academic support network of dean, advisors, professors, and more that are all assigned to you when you need them. All their contact info will be posted here and you can schedule meetings or calls with them through this account. The other accounts are Handshake, similar to Linkedin for students and alumni for work-study or on-campus jobs during your degree, internships, and opportunities after you graduate. The last one is BrightSpace, where online classes and materials are accessed. Beyond that, you need to set up your student email which goes through Gmail and is what they expect you to use throughout your stay at URI.
  8. New Student Orientation has been online since the Fall semester 2020. It runs through a lot of this content with step by step video showing exactly how to do the majority of this. It shows you what you need to do to accept or decline any loans or check on what kind of Fin Aid you were offered. There are also online chats on a lot of topics that will be relevant and helpful on the same page used to access the online Orientation.
  9. At the end of the Orientation, schedule a meeting with your academic advisor to talk about your major, course planning, and help with class registration. 

Once all that is taken care of, what’s left is school supplies, dorm supplies, and moving into your new space whether you decide to live on campus and nearby. I won’t be moving on campus or nearby just yet, as my classes are still online for this semester. I won’t need to worry about being on campus the days I have class. Hoping that will change for the Fall semester of 2021. Still weighing my options for on or off-campus housing. I’m leaning more towards either the University Gateway Apartments near the entrance or the off-campus housing along the perimeter of the campus property. More on that coming over the summer!

Of course, freshmen will have a different process but not drastically so. The noticeable differences are the freshmen version of the Common Application and the necessity of high school transcripts and test scores. The rest of the admissions process from there is almost identical!

Drop me a comment here or over on social. Are you transferring to a university to finish a 4-year degree or higher? Are you transferring to URI or another nearby college in Rhode Island or Massachusetts?

Good Luck!

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