Tips For Transferring CUNYs

By Jasmine Smith

More than 10,000 students transfer from one CUNY college to another in the fall semester alone. There is no guarantee of acceptance for those coming from the system’s junior colleges. City College, for example,  has a 46% acceptance rate, compared to SUNY’s Farmington’s 86% rate.

Below are some tips for transferring from CUNY professors, students and faculty with experience with the process.

Get Personal

Even though a personal statement for CUNY transfers isn’t required, Suede Celik, 19, wrote one for Hunter College. The former Borough of Manhattan Community College student said she was stressed during the transfer process but since Hunter was her first choice, she made time to put together an essay for the school.

As an English major, Celik was already weighed down with essay writing much of her final semester, but pushed through to write a piece about her struggles moving from Italy to America. She came to this topic after a conversation with a professor. “My professor said to write my three biggest struggles and go from there,” said Celik. She chose the topic of immigration because she believes colleges favor those not from the United States.

Anotine Murr, 40, who has a bachelor’s in psychology, wrote about being a nontraditional student in his personal statement for College of Staten Island while he was at Kingsborough Community College. “I didn’t go to college right out of high school like everybody else,” said Murr, and he wanted to explain his situation to CSI.

Build Relationships

Dr. Shawna Brandle, a political science professor at KCC says that building a relationship with a professor is important and that office hours are a good opportunity to build that connection. “They may have information to offer that is helpful,” says Brandle. “And when you need a letter of recommendation for your transfer applications, they will have more information to work with.”

Brandle, also a faculty member on the digital humanities program at the CUNY Graduate Center, says it’s best to complete your associate’s degree before transferring. She said a degree is better than “a collection of credits” on any application for school or a job. 

The professor also suggests that community college students visit their transfer offices and look for transfer fairs and information sessions. Baruch College offers a web page specific to transfer students to help make the process easier.

Start at The End

Figure out your end game first, says Academic Advisor Okyeera Ohene-Asah, who works in the CUNY Edge program for BMCC. The CUNY Edge program is for students who receive government assistance. Ohene-Asah begins focusing on transferring the first day she connects with a student. 

She uses these monthly sessions with students to figure out what they want to do in life and how to execute their goals. Questions she suggests students should ask themselves:

  • Do I need a Doctorate or Master’s degree?
  • Is a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree enough for the career I want?
  • Will I begin or continue work while in school?

KCC’s Brandle seconds this. “If you want to pursue a career path that will include graduate school, then you need to preserve your resources (time, money, financial aid, energy!) for the marathon,” she said.