Transferring to a university is in your hands

By Crystal C. Valentin
Pulse Staff Reporter

Jonathon Martinez Researching the Transfer Center online
Jonathon Martinez researching universities in the Transfer Center.

At Palo Alto College, starting the transfer process is easy for students who start early and follow all the steps before application deadlines.

“I help students. Most transfer to Texas A&M-San Antonio (TAMUSA). The second most transferred school is the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and then popular private universities, like Our Lady of the Lake (OLLU) or the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW),” said Jonathon Martinez, a Palo Alto College peer adviser and Kinesiology sophomore.

Martinez, like many PAC students, plans to complete an associate’s degree at PAC then transfer to TAMUSA in the fall of 2015 because of its convenient location and low tuition cost.

“We highly recommend an associate’s degree of 60 credits before transferring,” said Dr. Debbie Kahipe, Texas A&M transfer adviser. “Being core complete is the best way but not required.”

First, students need to do their research and compare schools. Comparing the undergrad catalog for different universities is an important first step in the decision-making process.

“Students shouldn’t wait until the last minute to apply because it could cost them time and money,” said Victor Natera, a UTSA transfer specialist.

“At UTSA, about 70 percent of our students come from the Alamo Colleges,” said Natera. “Degrees and certificates total around 100 plans to pick from.”

UTSA has about 30,000 students, and Texas A&M-San Antonio has about 4,000 students. If some students have a preference for large or small classrooms, parking availability, location or cost, an adviser is always ready to answer all questions and provide additional information and deadlines.

“It’s important to trust and meet with your adviser every semester for any new updates and to ensure you are on the right track for graduation,” said Martinez.

Second, students need to research the degree requirements for the transfer university of their choice. This includes having the required transfer credits, pre-requisites and GPA to be accepted and fulfill their degree plan.

“I do a plan of action with information regarding the admission process,” said Natera. “I also do denial counseling and give students advice.”

Selma Lopez, a sophomore Social Work major, plans to complete her associate’s from PAC and then transfer to Our Lady of the Lake University. Lopez planned to attend OLLU from an early age, and she has a passion for helping others.

“My first tour of Our Lady of the Lake University was during my elementary years,” said Lopez. “Conexión is a program I’m in that helps with scholarships and college preparation.”

Third, tuition is an important decision-making factor. Many Alamo College students transfer to TAMUSA or UTSA instead of an expensive private university, unless they get scholarships, financial aid or student loans. Average cost of TAMUSA is $3,000 and UTSA is $6,000 per semester. Private universities average $17,000 per semester.

“It all boils down to information and knowing what you need to do,” said Natera. “It’s all going to be the student’s responsibility.”