In my last blog post I talked about how my dream finally came true: I am now officially a Brown University student, or as they say, I’m officially a Brunonian. Unfortunately, the hard work doesn’t end there. After acceptance, it doesn’t mean I can just sit back and relax. There are still a couple of things I need to take care of. Transferring Courses In terms of transferring from community colleges, the transferability of the courses is something people worry about. In my case, I transferred from a community college, which uses the quarter system and Brown happens to use the semester system. This complicates things. A one quarter course is not equivalent to a one semester course. It all boils down to the number of hours spent in class; one quarter is not as long as one semester. So in one academic year, there can either be three quarters or two semesters, which means that one and a half quarters is equivalent to one semester. However, that’s not all. Let’s say we want 12 courses to be transferred to our new institution. Using the explanation above, this means that I would theoretically need to take around 18 courses in order to get 12 courses on my transcript. But this might not be the case if the courses taken aren’t transferrable (it isn’t equal to any of the courses at your new institution). For example, say I took three consecutive classes at Green River Community College (GRCC) about the Javanese language. Technically speaking, that should be equal to two semester courses. However, Brown might not have Javanese courses, which would mean that those Javanese classes I took couldn’t be transferred. With this being said, before registering for any class, it would be advisable to make sure that those courses are transferrable. This can be done by comparing your college’s course catalog with your new institution’s catalog. Or, if you’ve looked at the course descriptions and are still confused, you could probably drop an email to the professors at your new institution and ask them about the transferability. (more from Indira below infographic)
So now that I’ve explained how complicated and troublesome transferring from a community college is, why would anyone want to transfer from a community college? To start it off, I guess the most apparent reason would be the cost. As we all know, the university tuition fees are incredibly expensive, and at some universities it can even reach USD $60,000 a year. The fact that these tuition costs continue to skyrocket isn’t helping much either. In comparison to a university, the costs of attending a community college are way, way cheaper. In my case, the total cost of attendance at Brown is four times that of at GRCC, and hence, by attending a community college first, I feel that I have saved quite a considerable amount of money. Aside from that, community colleges are a quite good stepping-stone for students as compared to universities. For one, the classes are much smaller. If at Brown, an introductory CS class can have 150 students or more; I took my introductory CS class in a class of 20. Since there are considerably fewer students, it is much easier to get help from the instructors. Besides that, coming from high school, the small community college can prove to be way less daunting compared to the massive university. All in all, as I’ve always said, everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. Going straight to a university might be the easier solution, while going to a community college first before applying to a university might be the cheaper solution. But the experience that someone would gain from each situation would be very different. Post by Indira Pranabudi, an international student alumna of Green River Community College.
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