Know Your Options: Transfer Degrees

By Maci England on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Madison Ogle

Sebastian Varela

Age: 22 | Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
High School: International Christian School in Costa Rica
Higher Education: Transferred from Madison Area Technical College to John Brown University
Working toward: Bachelor’s degree in construction management

Soccer enthusiast Sebastian Varela grew up in Costa Rica then moved to Wisconsin for his first two years of college. Wanting a change of pace, Sebastian decided to continue his undergraduate degree somewhere he could grow as a person, student and athlete. After a conversation with the head coach of men’s soccer at John Brown University, Chris Cole, Sebastian knew the Arkansas-based school would help him achieve his goals.

This option is for you if:
• You want to save a lot of money (or need to work part-time)
• You’re not quite ready to leave home
• You’re working to get into your dream school

“I was impressed and convinced that this school was going to be the right path for me to succeed in school and soccer,” Sebastian said.

Transferring schools was not difficult for Sebastian. After all, he had already made a big leap moving from tropical Costa Rica to America’s midwest. Moving to Arkansas was just another stop on Sebastian’s path to success.

“I started at a junior college so I could develop myself more and get adapted to the change of environment and culture,” he said. “Then, after developing myself during my first two years, I continued my progress for an undergraduate degree.” 

Sebastian is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in construction management. He is interested in engineering and business and dreams of becoming a professional soccer player. He encourages other students who are considering transferring to follow their hearts even though the change may be scary.

“Don't be afraid of change,” he said. “[Trust] your instincts on what you want in life.”

What You Need to Know

Completing the first two years of a four-year degree at a two-year school will save you a lot of money on cost of attendance; it allows you to take your basics while still determining a major; you can raise your GPA, if you weren't able to get into a four-year college at first; or it can help ease you into the college experience.

Admissions Requirements
While four-year schools have GPA requirements and ACT/SAT score minimums, most community colleges only require a high school diploma or GED. 

Transferring Credits
This is VERY important: Before enrolling at a two-year college with plans to transfer, make sure the credits you plan to earn will transfer to your degree at the four-year college you plan to attend. 

The majority of two-year colleges don’t offer on-campus housing, but once you transfer to a four-year school, there will be plenty of residence halls and student housing options to choose from.