Tips For Transferring from Parkland College

Brittany Webb

Staff Writer

There are two paths one may take when studying at Parkland: career based classes and transfer based classes.

“Career programs are designed to get people jobs when they finish, and therefore the classes deal mostly with the major,” John Sheahan, Director of Counseling of Advising at Parkland, said. “The transfer programs are the opposite of that, the goal is to prepare students to go onto the next step: to finish a Bachelor’s degree.”

Students wishing to transfer spend the majority of their first two years taking general education requirements and introductory classes in their major. Some programs have a separate type of degree that could change these requirements.

Engineering, art and music are examples of this, says Sheahan,

“So many of these classes have to be integrated in with every year they are here,” Sheahan said.

Many students are young, and are still unsure of which field of study to go into, which can make the process of transferring more difficult. Sheahan stressed that, for a student, the most important part of transferring is knowing where you want to go.

“The earlier a student can make the decision about where they want to go, the better the chance that things will turn out really well and work well,” Sheahan explained.

There is no universal path for transferring and the acceptance of credits is dependent upon the institution. Karla Martinez, a sophomore in Chemistry, is a transfer student who is familiar with the many different factors that a student must consider when planning out their academic career.

“Many universities don’t accept the classes I have taken or would like to take,” Martinez explained.

Keeping track of transferring classes is only one of many pressures a student faces when wishing to move on to a 4-year school. Students also have to consider how to best utilize the time they spend here at Parkland.

“I often feel the pressure of having to finish a certain amount of classes and credits in the least amount of time,” Martinez said.

While some students worry about their classes transferring, others are apprehensive about the transition. Moving from one institution to another can be a stressful experience in and of itself.

“I think the most stressful part of being a transfer student would be leaving a place that you have grown comfortable with and moving to a new school, especially a bigger one,” sophomore in Psychology Kaitlyn Breitenfeldt said.

The transition to a new school can be difficult, and the cost of tuition sets 4-year schools apart from community colleges.

“Wherever you go, it’s going to be a rude awakening, because it’s going to cost a lot more,” Sheahan said.

Some students may find themselves overwhelmed with the thought of transitioning to a larger school. Building good communication with an advisor is key; explaining to them your goals and asking for their advice is a good place to start, according to Breitenfeldt.

Advisors can be helpful not only for deciding what school to go to, and which path to take to get there, but also for filling out the necessary paperwork.

“I went to see an advisor who walked me through each step of the application,” Breitenfeldt said. “It took about half an hour, and then I had to submit an essay and my transcripts from high school and college.”

Parkland’s main transfer program, Pathway to Illinois, is meant to ease the transition students face by allowing them to take a class at the University of Illinois while studying at Parkland.

“The Pathway Program has enabled me to get a taste of the university while still staying comfortable at Parkland,” Breitenfeldt explained. “But breaking out of your comfort zone is key to growth.”

For more information about transferring, questions about majors, and transfer programs, contact the Counseling and Advising Center, located in U267.