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Advising & Counseling

Considering Transfer Prior to Completing an Associate's Degree?
Frequently Asked Questions 

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Why should I consider completing an associate degree at RVCC prior to transferring to a four-year college?

Some of the reasons to consider completing the associate degree prior to transfer are:

  • Your tuition costs are substantially less by completing the first two years at a community college
  • You can enjoy the small classes and ease ofcontact with professors that may not be as available at certain four-year colleges
  • Some colleges give priority admission consideration to associate degree holders
  • Some transfer scholarships are available only to associate degree holders
  • The protections provided by the State transfer law, commonly referred to as the Lampitt law (P.L. 2007, Chapter175) apply to students who have completed the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree programs
  • Completing an associate degree with a high GPA may open up the doors to transfer to more competitive colleges as you will have demonstrated your ability in college level work
  • Completion of the associate degree is a credential you can add to your resume, especially if unforeseen circumstances interrupt or delay your completion of a bachelor's degree
  • If you have attended more than one college inaddition to Raritan Valley, completing the Associates degree will demonstrate that you are a serious student who is likely to complete your Bachelor's degree at the institution into which you are transferring.

There are circumstances when transfer without the associate degree has advantages such as for a specialized major in which RVCC does not provide certain courses needed in the freshman or sophomore year. Or perhaps you have a strong desire to experience residential college life or some other aspect not provided by a community college. An in-depth discussion with an RVCC Counselor or Advisor will help you carefully weigh your options.

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What's more important, my GPA or the specific courses that I take at RVCC?

Both are important. Four-year colleges want tosee at least two semesters of successful college work preferably in general education courses. In general, these include English/Communication, Math, Science, Technological Competency,Social Science, and Humanities. A college's minimum GPA for admission is just that. Certain degrees in education, business,science, engineering, and pharmacy may require higher GPAs.

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Which majors are the most competitive when applying to a four-year college?

The best sources of information for answering this question are the individual websites for those colleges that you are interested in attending. Some majors have very specific criteria including a minimum GPA, a score on the Praxis I exam,etc. RVCC students have access to all college catalogs throughout the country via a web-based system called College Source availablein the College Library. Other resources include Peterson's Guide, Barron's Guide, College Board Guide, and Bear's Guide to External Programs as a starting point for exploring colleges/universities and the degree programs that they offer.

RVCC also offers two major transfer events annually including Transfer Day in the Fall where representatives from over 80 colleges are on campus and Adult Transfer Night in the Spring to which we invite "adult friendly" colleges.  When these events are scheduled, they will be posted on the RVCCwebsite.

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Are there any advantages/disadvantages to following the AA in liberal arts, general curriculum before applying for transfer?

Advantages include the ability to explore manyoptions if you are not sure which major you want to pursue. In addition, the AA in Liberal Arts provides a broad-based education that allows transfer to most majors, keeping in mind that once youdeclare a major, you may have to take more courses. One disadvantage would be if you decide to transfer from the Associate of Arts program at RVCC to a Bachelor of Science program at a four-year college.

Students can utilize the New Jersey Transfer option found in "Quick Links" on the RVCC home page to determine the transferability of specific courses and plan their academic program. Again, it is important to check the requirements for a major on the website of your intended four-year college including any pre-requisite courses that might be required for admission.

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What other criteria do four-year colleges look at when deciding whether to admit someone transferring without an Associate's degree?

If you have completed less than 24-30 transferrable credits at RVCC, a four-year college may rely more on your high school transcript and SAT or ACT scores. Life  experience/work history may be a factor; evidence of student activities and leadership as well as community service can help letters of recommendation may be helpful if requested.

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Will my financial aid orstudent loans be affected if I transfer before completing my associate's degree?

In general, they should not be affected. Students who transfer in the Fall will need to renew their FAFSA and changetheir school code. Students transferring mid-year, e.g., in the Spring, will need to update the FAFSA school code. Check with the financial aid office of the four-year college you will be attending to see if they have any further requirements.

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If I took developmental math courses at RVCC, will they be accepted at a four-year college?

If I earn a certain number of credits at RVCC,will I still need to take developmental math at a four-year college? Standards vary from college to college. You will need to check with the specific college or university to see what they will accept. Some colleges may still require completion of their own Math and English placement exams if you have not completed college-level credit courses in those areas.

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If I am not doing well in my program, what can I do to bolster my transferability?

  • Retake courses in which you received a D or an F
  • Change to a major that better matches your interests and abilities
  • Reduce your semester course load to more manageable levels and consider summer coursework
  • Take advantage of all RVCC support and resources including utilizing the Academic Support Center, applying for accommodations if eligible, meeting with an RVCC advisor, transfer specialist and/or career counselor.
  • If personal/family/psychological issues are impeding your progress, you may want to consider meeting with an RVCC personal counselor.



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