Submission by Antonio Alvarez Valdivia
Even though there are multiple resources, events, and counselors dedicated to help transfer students, there is still a lot of confusion between Pre-Engineering students about some of the procedures that we must follow prior to transferring to a 4-year college. My experience with the transfer program has been great, and now I am ready to transfer to Iowa State University next Fall. However, during my first two semesters at DMACC, I had a lot of confusion about what classes I should take, when I would be eligible to transfer, and how my credits would be transferred to the institution of my choice.
One of the most common misunderstandings between Pre-Eng students has to deal with how your DMACC grades (GPA) would transfer to another institution. In the case of ISU, when a student transfers DMACC credits, grades are not transferred. This means that in your ISU transcript, all the credits you have taken at DMACC will be shown as “taken at another institution” or something similar, and the grades achieved at DMACC will not be included in the calculation of your ISU GPA. Take this into account once you are at ISU!
Another common confusion for Pre-Eng students is whether they have to get an AS Liberal Arts Degree before transferring. This issue is more dependent upon personal preference and institutional requirements. Some 4-year colleges require students to have a Liberal Arts degree before transferring. For some other schools, like ISU, you do not need a degree. I’ve heard many advisors recommending students to finish their AS degree before transfer, but I do not agree with that advice. If you find yourself transferring to ISU, I recommend transferring to ISU as soon as you finish the Transfer Plan and complete all the Math and Physics courses available at DMACC. That’s what I did, and I will not be getting my Liberal Arts degree before transferring. However, there’s a way to finish your Liberal Arts degree after you transfer! Dr. Nancy Woods, a professor at DMACC Boone Campus, mentioned that the same way DMACC credits transfer to ISU, you could transfer ISU credits to your DMACC transcript. This way, if you are some credits short of your Liberal Arts degree, you can complete the rest of those credits at ISU and apply them to both school’s degree requirements. Sweet!
DMACC offers many transfer fairs during the school year. In one of those fairs, I was introduced to the ISU Engineering Admissions Partnership Program (E-APP). This partnership program works as a connection to peer mentors, advising, and many other resources at ISU while still attending DMACC. The program successfully assisted me in having a smooth transition to ISU. Some of the benefits of the E-APP are guaranteed admission to Iowa State, personal academic advising and mentoring, transcript evaluation, and even an ISUCard and email account. The sooner you join the E-APP, the better. It is important to take advantage of this program by planning ahead with the help of ISU and DMACC advisors.
Many of the misconceptions that we as Pre-Eng students have could be easily clarified if we use the resources that are specially made for us. Although I know that friends and classmates could offer valuable tips, they can also confuse you and give you imprecise information. Attend transfer fairs, keep contact with your academic advisers (both at DMACC and your transfer institution), sign up for E-APP and similar programs, explore transfer scholarship applications, and I’m sure you will be fine enjoying a smooth transition into the 4-year college of your choice!