Nursing Student Starts Education at a Community College – A Reflection
by Kathy de Jong, Independent Educational Consultant and Shelby Years, Contributor
An interview with Shelby Years, a 3rd year nursing student. Shelby started her college education at Forsyth Technical College in Winston-Salem, NC and shares her path to Appalachian State.
When you decided to start your education at a community college, did you have a 4-year plan in mind? What did you think you were going to do? major?
Starting out at Forsyth Tech, I did have a 4-year plan in mind and knew I wanted to transfer to a university after 2 years. During the first year, I was still trying to decide between early childhood education and nursing. But towards the end of my last year there I had decided on nursing. Being at the community college really helped me to determine what I wanted to major in and I’m glad that I chose to start there.
What guidance, if any, did you receive from the 2-year college in your freshman year to get you working toward your plan?
I met with an advisor each semester who would help me plan out my schedule. They would ask about what my end goal was and would help me determine which classes I needed for my major. Once I decided that I wanted to apply to App State for nursing they were able to help me figure out which specific classes the college wanted me to have to be able to apply for the nursing program.
At some point, you decided to start looking for 4-year nursing programs. What did you discover/learn that you didn’t realize going into the 2-year college about transferring?
When I started looking for 4-year nursing programs, I realized that there was a lot more involved than when I applied to the community college. I went on multiple tours of different colleges. I was lucky to have an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) come with me and determine what questions I needed to ask and the people I needed to talk to, and it really helped me figure out if these colleges were right for me. My community college did not have on-campus housing so having to decide if I was going to live on campus or off-campus was a difficult decision. Along with that, having to start harder coursework all while trying to navigate a new and larger campus can be hard to get used to, but it made it less stressful having someone there to help me along the way.
What would you recommend to students that want to start at a 2-year college and transfer into a 4-year college, in general?
I would recommend that anyone who is unsure about their major, or really anyone in general, start at a community college. I saved a lot of money while still being able to successfully complete the general education requirements that I needed to be able to transfer. My advice would be to make sure you meet with your advisor and you clearly lay out your end goal with from the beginning. That will allow them to help you to the best of their ability and ensure you are taking enough credits to be able to graduate on time and have the proper courses completed to be able to transfer to the university of your choice.
What would you recommend to students that want to start at a 2-year college and transfer into a 4-year nursing program?
For my specific nursing program, they look at your science GPA heavily. My advice would be to use the resources that are available to you such as tutoring to be able to be successful in your classes and especially the science classes. I would also advise you to research multiple different nursing programs and talk to people who are already in those programs if possible before choosing one. It will be helpful to ask questions and get the most accurate answers from people who are already involved. Lastly, no matter how competitive the programs might be, don’t let people psych you out. Stay positive and confident in yourself and that will show during interviews and during the transfer process and will help you be successful.
Would you recommend a 2-year college student work with an Independent Education Consultant? Why?
Yes, absolutely! It’s very overwhelming when transferring to a new college, and I wouldn’t have been able to be as successful during that process if it weren’t for someone to help me along the way.
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