by Peter Neiger
Read Part 1 here.
My first day of class at CofC went smoothly and I decided to run for one of the available Junior Senator spots in the Student Government Association. One of the requirements of this is to get your status approved by the Registrar’s office. I went back to that office and asked for verification. The nice student employee informed me I was registered as a freshman because I did not have any transfer credits. Growing frustrated I asked to speak with a representative and after a few minute wait I talked to one, this was a different person than I spoke to the first time. She told me that whoever entered my data gave me credit for the classes for pre-requisite purposes but never gave me credit for the hours, so I was still sitting at 0 hours even though I had classes completed on my transcript. She went through and fixed the problem and informed me that this happens all the time and it usually resolves itself because students don’t really like to cause waves. With that completed I turned in my paperwork for Student Government and continued on with my semester.
At the end of the semester I got my grade reports and was a bit surprised. I had transferred from HGTC with approximately 3.9 GPA but it said my average was equal to the grades I received that semester. I called around and was informed that when I transfer, the University was unwilling to recognize the grade, they would only recognize that I had passed the class. This was extremely frustrating because I was under the impression that my hard work during my first two years would work to my benefit and not be in vain. It would have been easy to maintain the required 2.6 GPA transfer requirement and spent more time on other things while at HGTC. This rejection of reciprocity irked me for my remaining time but I continued on, viewing it all as sunk costs. At the end of it all I graduated from CofC with a 3.4 GPA (it would have been approximately 3.7 and Cum Laude if my grades had been accepted).
I learned a lot from the experience, especially that I need to plan ahead and not trust the guidance given to me at either community colleges or universities. I am currently preparing to enter graduate school and I was not at all surprised to learn that a large number of the math and economics prerequisites for a PhD program were not mentioned or emphasized to me at any point. If I had to do it all again I would not have undergone a transfer strategy for my college education. The system is uncoordinated and lacks the transitional processes necessary to assist students in the process. The potential is there to make a difference and encourage educational growth and transition but right now the additional stress, confusion, running around and disorganization do not warrant the monetary savings, especially for students who can perform well enough to receive significant grants and scholarships.