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Transfer fair gives students a chance to learn about choice of new school PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 January 2018 10:01

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By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times

With the lack of four-year higher education opportunities in Southwest Kansas, a popular choice for many students is to go to one of the area’s junior colleges and transfer those credits to a four-year school.
Wednesday, Seward County Community College is giving students a chance to learn about those four-year schools through its Transfer Fair.
SCCC Transfer Coordinator Janeth Vasquez said representatives from at least 14 schools and two military branches will be coming to Liberal Wednesday to talk to students.
“They can talk to them about all the programs that they offer, scholarships, financial aid, applications, deadlines,” she said. “They can just go from table to table and visit with somebody face to face about what it is that they need to do to get into that university or institution.”
Vasquez said she would love to see a great turnout for Wednesday’s Transfer Fair. She said past fairs took place in SCCC’s student union, but more recently, the fair has moved to the Hobble Academic Building on the school’s campus.
“That’s where the majority of the classes are for most of the students, so we get more traffic there,” she said.
In addition to a good turnout, Vasquez said she would like students to learn valuable information, including scholarship deadlines.
“A lot of the schools’ deadlines are Feb. 1, so I want to be sure for them not to miss those deadlines,” she said. “That’s very important for scholarship information. It’s kind of first come, first serve. They can still get scholarships after Feb. 1, but if they’ve already run out of money they have scholarship fund, there won’t be any scholarships available.”
Vasquez said she helps students look information about schools and programs online all the time, but she said Wednesday’s opportunity is a huge one for all looking to transfer to a four-year school.
“It’s much more convenient having that face to face interaction and just to have an actual representative from the school they can talk to about their requirements,” she said. “They can tell you what classes transfer.”
Plus, Vasquez said, having representatives from the schools means a greater source of knowledge for those looking to transfer.
“It’s just easier having that communication with someone in person versus that communication with a computer,” she said. “Plus if students haven’t narrowed down the school, this is a good opportunity for them to go from school to school and just look around and see what the best fit for them is. It’s kind of like shopping, but for a school – a little mini-market for my students but for a school.”
Vasquez described some of the process students go through to transfer.
“The first thing I would recommend to students is they have to finalize their degree,” she said. “They have to know what they’re going in. That way, they can look at the actual program requirements. Once they know what they want to study, they can start browsing different schools. Once they look at what scholarships they offer, financial aid that they can get, maybe clubs they can join, once they find housing, they can pick a school. Once they’ve picked a school, they have to look into the deadlines.”
Vasquez called the deadline factor a huge one.
“Once they know deadlines, they have to get their application in,” she said. “They have to get their transcript from Seward and sent to the institution. A lot of these schools have department scholarships. If they’re majoring in business, they would go to the college of business. It’s important for them to look at the college, the specialization college, not just the transfer scholarships, but also look at the departmental scholarships and apply for those.”
Vasquez said some schools offer this as part of their general application, but some have specific applications for these scholarships.
“It just depends on the school,” she said. “It basically just comes down to their major. There’s a lot of scholarships within universities depending on their major. That’s something to also look out for. They have transfer scholarships, but what a lot of students is the actual department scholarships for their major. I also recommend look outside of the universities.”
Vasquez said there are tons of scholarships available.
“There’s a scholarship if you’re vegetarian,” she said. “There’s a scholarship if you’re majoring in engineering. There’s a scholarship if your parents work in the cattle industry. There’s a scholarship for just about anything, and you just have to focus on researching.”
Vasquez said the easiest way to do research is through Google.
“Type in whatever you’re majoring in, or type in whatever area you’re from,” she said. “Type in those scholarships, and a list of scholarships will come up. Just start making a list.”
Vasquez said many scholarships are pretty similar.
“They’ll ask you for the transcript,” she said. “You’re going to need a transcript. A lot of them will also ask you to write an essay. A lot of the essays are similar. At the end of the day, you can cut and copy from one essay and just kind of personalize to what they’re asking you for. Most of the time, the scholarships are the same criteria. What’s your GPA? What are you majoring in? Write us an essay.”
Making transferring easier, Vasquez said SCCC has more than 50 articulation agreements in place.
“What we’ve started working on since I got there is I’m actually doing articulation agreements specifically for the degree,” she said.
Vasquez said the SCCC articulation agreements outline what classes need to be taken there and what needs to be taken at the four-year school.
“I’m trying to work on getting to all of the schools,” she said. “As of right now, we’ve done K-State, and we’ve done Fort Hays. Eventually, my goal is to have all the schools in Kansas done.”
Vasquez said transfer barriers are not much of a problem in Kansas, but issues do come up when students try to transfer to an out-of-state school.
“That’s just because the universities and institutions have different requirements,” she said. “They may require more humanities or more social behavior versus in Kansas, where they’re all pretty similar. We don’t really run into any issues with classes transferring in state. It’s mostly out of state.”
While many factors play a part in a student’s choice of school to transfer to, Vasquez said the biggest factor is finances, but she said others play a big part too.
“Money has a lot to do with it,” she said. “Is the school affordable, and is it realistic? Number two, are they going to offer scholarships, and if so, how much? Another big factor is housing. Is there housing available near campus? Do they have dorms? Are the dorms affordable? The most important, do they have the degree available, and if so, do they lack a lot of general requirements, or will they transfer in as juniors? Distance also has a lot to do for a lot of students out here.”
Vasquez said Wednesday’s fair will also give students insight into online programs available through some schools.
“That’s where they can learn about the online program,” she said. “Fort Hays has a whole virtual college where they can take a lot of degrees online. K-State just started doing that too. There’s tons.”
Wednesday’s Transfer Fair will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it is open to the public.
“You don’t have to be an SCCC student to attend,” Vasquez said. “If you’re a former student from SCCC and you want to continue your degree, you can still show up to this transfer fair. It’s open to the whole community. Feel free to stop by and visit with different schools. It’s open to the public. The more, the merrier.”
Vasquez said the fair will likewise give the representatives from the schools and military branches a chance to get the best of their time.
“They’re traveling a great distance to be here,” she said. “We want it to be worth it for them too. That way, they can keep coming out here and recruiting our students.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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