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Question: I am 21, attended a community college in Pennsylvania for two semesters, then transferred to a 4 year university to pursue my major (German). After one semester the university dropped my major so I transferred back to the community college to figure out what I wanted to do. I have decided to go into nursing, and while the community college offers a nursing program it is only an associate degree. I would like to transfer back to the university to work for a BSN.

Unfortunately I struggled with one class at the community college and my GPA is currently a 2.96 (to transfer into the nursing program at the university I need a 3.5). When I attended the university my GPA there was a 3.85...if I transfer back will my GPA remain the 3.85, or will my community college GPA transfer? If my GPA stays at the 3.85 I will, hopefully, qualify for the program. - Matt

Answer: Matt, changing your major from German to nursing is rather drastic. Please make sure you get some help from career counseling at the community college you are attending. Although nursing is a good profession to enter at this time, make sure you are suited for that occupation. This is a very unique situation and your answers should come directly from the 4 year school you attended. Their admissions department can talk with you to resolve whether they can admit you into the nursing program.

Another option is to start to take nursing courses at the community college and build your transfer GPA over 3.5. An associate degree can get you started in the nursing field, to go on to the 4 year school to complete a BSN. This may be a less expensive option for you too, as you would only pay the 4 year school’s higher tuition for the last two years of your degree. Take these suggestions to the admission department at the 4 year school and ask for their recommendations. - Faith

Question: Hello, I am 40, a divorced mom of two disabled children and I would like to go back to college. I have been looking into online colleges and got discouraged reading about problems some had getting financial aid. Is this the norm for online colleges to get funding in a timely manner? I'm strapped for money as it is and don't want to be put in a deeper hole. I would like to study psychology (whether it's AA or BA) and it's impossible for me to go on campus at this time (I am in New Jersey). Do you have any recommendations for me? - Joanne

Answer: Joanne, I’m not sure if you have been to college before nor if you have any type of transfer credit you will want to apply to your degree. However, I would suggest you contact Thomas Edison State College. They have a Bachelor of Psychology degree you can earn totally online, and have associate degree level courses too. They offer ways to earn credits through testing for course credit, will transfer in other college equivalent learning through life and work learning, and will help you design a program that is the most cost efficient for you. They have support through Student Services and can help advise you about financial aid for their degrees. This is the most non-traditional college in your area that has the degree program you are wanting to earn. They are an extremely “adult friendly” college. - Faith

Question: I recently turned 34 and am interested in returning to school for a degree in healthcare administration. In 1997 I went to college for one year but probably have little to no credits from that time. Without any previous grades or credits will I be accepted into a 4 year school, whether it be online or classroom? Or should I enroll in a 2 year school for my associates degree, to get my grades up and prove myself, and then enroll in a school for my baccalaureate? - Amy

Answer: Amy, you will want to review any and all transcripts you have from past college work. Even if there are few courses that can transfer to a school you now want to attend, that means fewer courses you need to complete and pay for to earn your degree. I don’t know what your GPA was while attending college, but here are my suggestions to enter a new 4 year degree program.

If your GPA was below the level for full admission to your new college/university, ask the school you plan to attend what to do to raise your “old” GPA. They will suggest courses you need for your new degree program and you may take them at their school or a local community college. You must make A’s or B’s to bring your GPA to the attention of the admissions committee of the school you now want to attend. If possible, do these courses at the chosen school, but if you are not local to that campus, ask their admissions department which community college courses you should take for transfer credit.

You do not need to complete an entire degree at the community college. But, for financial reasons you may consider it and raise your GPA in the field you plan to study, or at least in a degree area that is easy to transfer to the school (maybe a General Education A.S/A.A. degree would be best). But, always make sure you get approval for courses or associate degrees you plan to earn from the academic advisor at the 4 year college/university in writing so you know the courses you will take will transfer to that school. - Faith


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