Community College Transfers

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:24 pm

Community College Transfers

Post by med4java » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:25 pm

Hello all! As I peruse through the 2008-2017 Applicant Profiles and Admission Results as well the current 2018 results I've noticed not many people post about transferring from a community college. I understand that admission into a good program is a culmination of a great applicant (some research, GPA, LOR, etc). However, there are other details that may make you a better applicant e.g. minority female or doing well in grad level classes. My question is do admissions committee see someone that has gone to CC but has ample research an extreme positive since research opportunities are limited at CC and even as soon as you transfer as a junior its tough to fit into a lab. I imagine they would see it as a plus but I know there are a lot stronger applicants that aren't transfer students into university. My second question is how much are CC grades weighed. I've seen in some posts people combine GPAs from CC and their respective universities. I always believed its the GPA from the university they'd consider, do they need transcripts from the CC? Aren't the grades from CC already on your university transcript? Lastly I would assume since one would've spent 2 years at CC and 1 year into transferring(assuming you spend 2 years at CC and 2 years at uni),its already time for applications, they'd weigh what you did at CC more than what one has done at university or am I wrong to think this. I'm a non-traditional student returning to school after a few years of figuring out my life. I'm trying to get an idea of how to be a great candidate for top programs when that time comes for me so any insight is welcomed :D

I have a feeling there's a lot of us CC students on here that don't post and just lurk trying to measure ourselves up to our university comrades. I know its possible to get into a great program but how much are are the stacks against us or they for us? We don't know lol, so lets post more guys! Good luck on admissions I'm checking the 2018 admissions results almost everyday, and it seems like an interesting cycle :)

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Re: Community College Transfers

Post by chris314 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:26 pm

What I learned after is that several programs running internship programs recruit specifically from community colleges and non research universities. I was surprised when I got an internship with NASA doing astrophysics and dark matter research that the other intern in my group was currently in city college and had only taken classical and E&M physics. Research opportunities are scarce in community college, but they are available to us outside of school, I just wouldn’t have thought to reach that far when I was still at CC.

I think most people at CC don’t do research while there so it doesn’t really hurt you but you have to make sure and do research or apply for it ASAP once you transfer.

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Re: Community College Transfers

Post by TakeruK » Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:53 pm

Although it might certainly be possible to do a 2+2 CC->University transfer, I mostly heard about 2+3 programs (2 years at CC, 3 years at university). I think if that is possible, it might be a better option if you want to go to grad school since it allows more time to find research opportunities and to get to know the faculty and letter writers more.

As for transcripts, you likely would need to submit transcripts for all schools you attended, but that depends on each application. Some places only want transcripts from schools you got a degree from.

For GPA weighting, this also depends entirely on each program you apply to. Yes, people here often combine their GPA but remember that the GPAs people write here on the forums may have nothing to do with the GPAs that the admissions committee actually use to determine their evaluation. Although this varies from program to program, it is commonly expected that admissions committee weighs more recent / upper level course grades more than other grades. This is true for both CC transfers and those who started in a 4-year university. In addition, many schools will care more about your grades in relevant courses much more than the cumulative GPA. This is why they ask for the full transcript, not just the GPA.

Finally, I know from talking to profs on admissions committee and running a panel on admissions to PhD programs geared towards students at CCs and non-research universities that many admissions committee evaluate candidates based on the opportunities available to the candidate. For example, if you attended a small liberal arts college without a ton of Physics courses, it might not be a big deal that you didn't take any extra elective courses and/or have fewer physics courses on your transcript since you made the most of what was available to you. However, a student from a R1 university that offers many upper level elective courses that have just the minimum number of physics courses might raise some flags. Similarly, if you are at a non-research university and only have 1 REU or applied to REUs but didn't get in, it will be considered differently than if you were at a place with an abundance of research opportunities but did not apply to any or did not take advantage of that.

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