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Advice for students who transferred in undergrad?


amd115
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I attended community college for two years and then transferred last year to a university. I have two more semesters until I complete my B.A. in Political Science and I have an avid interest in continuing my studies in political science. However, I am incredibly concerned about the prospect of being able to obtain recommendations. I have only had graduate students teaching my courses or visiting professors and the single full-time professor I had retired in the fall, after I had a class with him.

I have doubts that graduate schools will want recommendations from community college professors with whom I had actually developed relations. I suppose they would actually want to see recs from those of higher academic levels- right?

If my applications are mostly due by spring or prior, then what is a transfer student supposed to do? Is less than a year adequate time to be considered a reference source? Have any other transfer students gone through this ordeal? Do undergrad transfer students normally not go after graduate school? Should I just put aside applying to graduate school?

My school adviser is of absolutely no help. His advice was that those in my situation just don't try for graduate school and that I probably would not make it since I spent two years at community college. It seemed off-base to me, so I figured I'd ask around, just to see if this was perhaps the case.

Thanks in advance for your help or any input you can provide!

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My school adviser is of absolutely no help. His advice was that those in my situation just don't try for graduate school and that I probably would not make it since I spent two years at community college.

how were your grades during those 2 years? and how are your grades now?

if you spent 2 years studying hard and making excellent grades at your community college and then you continued being a successful student after you transferred to a university, then of course you should apply to grad school.

if you spent 2 years slacking off and doing horrible or just mediocre at community college, and your next two years at a university was more of the same, then maybe your adviser is right.

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how were your grades during those 2 years? and how are your grades now?

if you spent 2 years studying hard and making excellent grades at your community college and then you continued being a successful student after you transferred to a university, then of course you should apply to grad school.

if you spent 2 years slacking off and doing horrible or just mediocre at community college, and your next two years at a university was more of the same, then maybe your adviser is right.

This, and also: you could consider waiting a year before applying, and coming up with a couple of things to do in that year to get more recommendations (such as taking a few graduate classes at a local college or university and developing relationships with those professors). Being a transfer student doesn't damn you at all; I wasn't one, but I've had many friends who've been transfer students and gone on to dazzling programs.

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My school adviser is of absolutely no help. His advice was that those in my situation just don't try for graduate school and that I probably would not make it since I spent two years at community college. It seemed off-base to me, so I figured I'd ask around, just to see if this was perhaps the case.

Your advisor sounds like an academic snob. Plenty of people graduate from community colleges, transfer to earn a bachelor's degree and then go on to graduate school. I work at a community college and we have many alumni who have done just that (and saved a bunch of money on tuition, which is one reason they do it). As long as your academic performance was solid at both schools, I see no reason why you shouldn't apply.

As for references, schools ask for letters from professors who are familiar with your work and able to attest to your scholarly potential. If the professors who best fit that description are ones at your first college, ask them. It might look odd if you had no letters from your baccalaureate institution though, so if you can manage one from there it would probably be helpful. I would imagine that being a stand-out student in a semester-long course (produce top-notch papers, ace your tests and participate in the class) would give a professor enough to write about even if s/he hadn't known you for several years.

Good luck!

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Went to school A, dismissed. Transferred to school B, dismissed. Went to CC, then transferred to school C, graduated with a 3.7 and am off to graduate school. One of my recs was from a CC professor, admittedly one with a PhD from a top school in the field. Plus, he knew me really well and stumped hard for me.

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One more possible option: Is there an opportunity to participate in an honors program or to write a senior thesis at your school? If so, definitely take advantage of the option; it will provide one more way for you to stand out as a committed, talented applicant. Good luck!

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