Opportunity knocks for those who apply

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Transferring scholarships are available.

By Anthony B. Botello

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

What should students do to prepare to transfer?

Follow the TRAC — that is, The Transfer and Advising Center. TRAC provides a checklist for transferring at www.alamo.edu/sac/transfer. It offers the following tips:

Students should apply to the school of their choice when first in school, said Rosa Maria Gonzalez, TRAC counselor. Selecting a four-year institution depends on a student’s major and desired career. Keep in mind the deadline to apply and that most application fees are nonrefundable so the student should meet with a TRAC adviser.

The center held a workshop for scholarships and preparing to transfer at 1 p.m. Nov. 5 in Chance Academic Center in the MESA student center.

Gonzalez said it was “a good way for students to see how to apply. The focus was on students with majors involving science, technology majors in computer science, IT engineering, and math.”

A TRAC adviser guides students through the transferring process and provides insight. For example, they can explain that some schools do not use the same criteria as this college to determine GPAS.

An adviser can help get transcripts reviewed, determine if the school requires an essay to apply and remind students that some schools won’t process an application until students pay a fee, the school receives their transcript and the applicant has turned in their essay.

“Go for more competitive schools, but have a plan B,” Gonzalez said.

Students applying for financial aid should complete the FAFSA early, and know scholarships are on a first-come first-serve basis.

“It’s better to apply early,” Gonzalez says.

TRAC advisers also help students make their applications stand out by spotlighting high GPAs and including letters of recommendation, leadership programs, club memberships and volunteering. Links to scholarship information can be found at alamo.edu/sac/transfer.

Students should look into schools they like, attending open houses and transfer sessions at their top picks. They can visit a TRAC adviser to find listings.

TRAC advisers have contacts at local, state and out-of-state universities, Gonzalez said.

“Many departments don’t talk directly to students, so it’s better to go through our advisers,” Gonzalez said.

TRAC advisers also know which core classes will transfer.

The law says a state university must accept any core classes completed while a student is enrolled at a public two-year college. However, if a student completes the core after he or she has already transferred somewhere else, the requirements could change. Also the catalog year affects core requirements, and sometimes they can even change to a student’s benefit.

For example, if a student was using a 2012 catalog year and following that core curriculum, the 2013 catalog year may not require some classes, and a student could change their catalog year and not have to take a class from the previous degree plan.

If you have enough hours, most students can probably get an associate degree, Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said obtaining an associate degree is a good move.

“It’s free, looks good on job resumes and can help you get internships, which are doorways to the job you want,” Gonzalez said.

Scott Myer, an astrophysics major interested in the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio, attended the workshop.

“It answered a lot of questions about transferring out of SAC to the school I was looking for,” Myer said.

“If you missed the workshop, you can still go meet with an adviser and get this information,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez added, “Better to ask than not. And ask early.”

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