No one says you have to set foot on a college campus before enrolling there. Some students don’t.
Some community college students visit friends at the four-year school they like — but fail to talk to the academic department they’re interested in or make sure their credits will transfer.
So in March, MCC-Maple Woods put students on buses to visit two popular “feeder schools” outside the metropolitan area: one to the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, and another to Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville.
The free bus ride for students close to finishing their associate degree is just one more way to “promote student completion and graduation and help them transfer on to those next steps,” says MCC-Maple Woods academic adviser Jenny Steen.
The transfer bus program came about after campus president Utpal Goswami, Ph.D., put out a call last fall for good ideas that needed funding. Next thing you know, Steen’s proposal — something she’d been thinking about for a while — got a green light for one of the student success “mini-grants.”
After the first trip, MCC students praised “how welcoming the (UCM) staff and students were” and mentioned appreciating the opportunity to talk to UCM academic advisors face to face, Steen says.
Not checking out a college in person can result in a bad fit, she says.
“Visit the schools, ask questions, take a tour and see what’s comfortable,” Steen advises. “You want to make sure you’re going to be comfortable at that next step of your education.”
The transfer bus program was aimed at MCC students with at least 30 credit hours and at least a 2.0 GPA.
At each university, the MCC students toured campus, met with advisors and their academic department, and enjoyed lunch courtesy of the four-year school. UCM also waived the usual application fee for students on the transfer bus.
Steen says students were also armed with official copies of their MCC transcripts so they’d be prepared for advising.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” she says.