Back to School: Students transfer to community college

By Sobia Siddiqui

Though it is a fairly new phenomenon, there is a growing number of reverse transfer students throughout different universities.

The term “reverse transfer” refers to students who started their education at a four-year university then transferred to a community college.

Yet after attaining the degree or credits desired from the community college, these students transfer back to a four-year institution to complete their education.

Lisa Wilhelmi, the director of community relations at McLennan Community College, said there are a number of reasons for students to transfer back and forth between four-year universities and two-year institutions.

“I believe it’s because they maybe didn’t make good grades at a four-year institution and needed to come back home,” Wilhelmi said. “It could also be that the four-year college was too big, so they came back home.”

According to the Baylor’s Institutional Research and Testing’s website, the majority of entering freshmen return to Baylor for a second year, but some students may transfer out because of feelings of unease about being in a different environment or feelings of stress due to financial difficulties.

Students who do not return may have chosen the same path as other reverse transfer students, which is to take the option of fulfilling as many of their requirements as possible before returning to a four-year college to lessen the financial burden.

“Part of the problem is, once students begin at Baylor they’re limited to taking no more than 15 hours away from Baylor,” Linda Johnson, associate director of academic advisement for Baylor, said.

Wilhelmi said McLennan Community College offers academically challenging courses which Baylor accepts for credit.

“Our credits transfer fairly easily from MCC to Baylor,” Wilhelmi said. “We offer freshman and sophomore classes just like a four-year, and we have quality education.”

Students may also decide to go back to community college after they have graduated with a bachelor’s degree from a four-year university.

“We’ve had some folks that came back after their bachelor’s because of the recession, and they’re looking for a career where jobs are available,” Wilhelmi said.

These students take the option of either enrolling in a particular class to gain a skill or knowledge in a specific field or join a program that will end with a two-year degree and a job opportunity.

“Terminal degrees are two-year degrees that you get and start working right after you get them,” Wilhelmi said. “Allied help fields include nursing, radiology and respiratory care. In health care, there are a lot of jobs open like that.”

More students are deciding to take the option of attending a community college after having experienced some time at a four-year university and then returning to complete their bachelor’s degree.

“I think it’s beneficial. Everyone deserves an education. If the four-year is not what they need to be, then going to a community college is a good option, and they can continue their education there,” Wilhelmi said.