What do I need to know before starting my search?
The Difference Between Two-year and Four-year Institutions
A four-year school is either a college or a university; these schools grant a bachelor's (baccalaureate) degree. A university comprises more than one college (such as the College of Engineering and the College of Business). Usually the bachelor's degree is a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS); although there are other possibilities. If you complete approximately 30 credits per year, it will take you four years to earn your bachelor's degree.
Community colleges are often referred to as "two year" schools because if you complete approximately 30 credits per year, it will take you two years to earn your associate's degree. More time may be required depending upon your academic background and work/family responsibilities. If you take fewer than 15 credits a semester, you may wish to consider coursework in the Summer session to accelerate your progress. Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Science (A.S.), and Associate of Arts in Teaching (A.A.T.) programs at Chesapeake College are equivalent to the first two years of study at many four-year institutions. With planning, your Associate's degree should match the majority of the requirements at your intended transfer institution.
What is a "Transfer Student?"
A student may change colleges at any time. All they need to do is apply to the new college, get accepted, and go. However, there is a difference between a "Transfer Student" and a "First Time Freshman."
A Transfer Student has accumulated enough credits to satisfy the transfer requirement at the college of choice. The number of credits varies, but it is usually somewhere around 24 credits to 36 credits depending upon the college. All a transfer student has to provide to the new college is a transcript of their course work from their previous college, namely, Chesapeake College.
A First-Time Freshman does not have enough college credits to qualify as a Transfer Student. They must provide the new college with whatever the college requires from first-time students. This frequently includes a high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores.
Frequently, students who had average high school records will stay at the community college long enough to meet the transfer requirement at their college of choice so as to improve the likelihood of their acceptance.
Creating a Transfer Plan
Every college degree, whether an associate or bachelor's, has three components: general education (also called core), program requirements, and electives. Each college and major requires courses in different proportions (some may require more program courses and less electives). Every four-year institution has different requirements, so the sooner you choose a major and a transfer institution, the more accurate your course selection for transfer will be.
Students should always verify information with their intended transfer school. It is recommended that you choose your transfer institution before completing 15 credits. That way you can choose Chesapeake College courses that will fulfill requirements at your transfer college.
Policies that Affect Transfer in Maryland
Most Chesapeake College students, who continue their education at four-year institutions, transfer to schools within Maryland. We are fortunate that there are transfer policies which govern the transferability of courses from Maryland community colleges to publicly funded four-year schools in the state. Several of the policies are listed below:
- Maryland community college students who have completed the associate degree or students who have completed 56 semester hours of credit with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher on a scale of 4.0 shall not be denied direct transfer to a MD public four-year institution.
- Courses taken at a MD community college as part of a recommended transfer program will ordinarily be applicable to related programs at a MD public institution granting the bachelor's degree.
- Courses designated as meeting the general education requirements at any MD public college shall be applicable to the general education requirements at any other MD public college or university.
- Credit earned in or transferred from an associate degree-granting institution shall be limited to approximately one half the baccalaureate degree program requirement, not to exceed 70 credits, and to the first two years of the undergraduate educational experience.