COVID-19 makes transferring schools more stressful

According to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, 30 percent of students who attend a two-year community college will eventually transfer to a four-year institution. With over 6,000 students currently enrolled in GHC, that means there are several hundred Chargers planning to transfer in the fall.

Unfortunately, there are no neat and tidy statistics for how these numbers are affected by a global pandemic. We are literally living through unprecedented events, and no one knows what long-term effects they will have on colleges, universities and especially transfer students.

As one of those several hundred Chargers trying to transfer to a four-year school after completing my Associates degree, let me tell you: it’s not looking pretty.

Transferring is a stressful process under the best of circumstances. From deciding which schools to apply to, to waiting on acceptance letters, to applying for financial aid, there are small moments of anxiety at every step of the transfer process.
Add in a global pandemic, shelter in place orders and campus shutdowns and it becomes an outright nightmare.
Before, it took several days to get a reply from someone in transfer admission at my first choice school. Now it may take weeks, or I may not get a reply at all.

My first choice school is one I can only afford with financial aid, and it’s still unclear how COVID-19 will affect the financial aid selection process. With thousands of students all over the country suddenly unemployed, I have a feeling scholarships are about to get way more competitive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that school administrations are doing everything they can to address the pandemic and keep their students safe. I understand that processing my paperwork probably isn’t their top priority right now. But it’s my future at stake, and I’d really appreciate it if they’d at least answer my emails.

Everyone is experiencing a lot of instability right now. We don’t know when on-campus classes will start again. We don’t know how long people will be dying of COVID-19 or how long it will be before it is safe to see our friends again. We don’t know how severe or longlasting the damage to our country’s economy will be.

On top of all that, those of us who were in the middle of the transfer process when everything went wrong do not know where, or even if, we’ll be going to school in August.
Not being able to transfer in August would set me back a full year in my education and career. None of my major-specific classes are offered at GHC – it’s either go somewhere else or choose a different degree.

As someone who has had to work to support myself while attending college, I’m currently on track to get my “four year degree” five years after I started college. I’d rather not add any more time to that, especially since a lot of federal aid only covers the first four years.

I know that everyone is worried about the future right now, but I feel like my entire life is up in the air. I don’t even know what city I’ll be living in a year from now, because the answer depends on which school I’m accepted to. Even though I did everything right, I have very little control over my own future right now. And that’s really scary.
So, if anyone who works in college admission happens to be reading this, do all of us transfer applicants a favor: please check your email.