Gator News

Gatorcast Ep. 13: Plan Ahead – Readying Your Transfer Application

By College Relations, Media Services and the Office of the President, August 4, 2020

Episode Resources

Episode Transcript: 

President Johnson: Welcome to Green River College's Gator Cast. This is Suzanne Johnson, President of Green River College. Today's episode is about making application to transfer to your next college after Green River. For the student listeners here today, this is part three of a three-part series that we're doing on what it means to transfer, and the majority of students at Green River College are transfer students. That means you are here for a couple of years completing your Associate's Degree, and you're gonna go on to another college, another university to get your four-year degree. And the first two episodes that we did prior to today's focused on exploring and determining that you are gonna be a transfer student, that's episode one, and the next episode was all about how to plan, how to pick your schools. Which, as a reminder, you should have at least three to four schools that you're thinking about transferring to, and so those two episodes are really important for you to listen to. So my recommendation would be to hop off of this one. Go listen to episode one and two on transfer, and then come back into this. But you're welcome to stay and listen today and re-listen as you might need. So today we are joined with another one of our fantastic advisors at Green River College, Aileen Arsenio. Thanks for being here, Aileen.

Aileen Arsenio: Thanks for having me I'm excited.

President Johnson: So tell us about yourself, where are you located? What do you do at Green River, and then we'll get into our topic today?

Aileen Arsenio: I am located in the Career and Advising Center, so the Student Affairs building, bottom floor, first office on the left-hand side. If you ever have questions, I'm there.

President Johnson: So tell us a little bit about yourself. Are you a transfer advisor?

Aileen Arsenio: I am a transfer advisor. I work primarily with transfer students, and so it's all throughout their process. When they're first coming in deciding what they wanna do. Throughout their process making sure they're on track to graduate and then helping students with their applications, looking over personal statements or just getting an idea of what is on the application. What do I need?

President Johnson: Sure, so tell us a little bit about yourself at Green River. How long have you been here?

Aileen Arsenio: I have been here since 2015. I actually started out as a program coordinator in the Career and Advising Center with the intention of going into, hopefully, an advisor position someday, and I got the opportunity and became an advisor. And it's been awesome,. It's been very exciting. I've learned so much. I've connected with a lot of people, so it's been awesome. I love Green River.

President Johnson: Well, that's great, and a lot of times our students, they oftentimes wonder about our backgrounds and how did we get to have the jobs that we have. And students have one time recently at a Pizza with the President a student said, "So how do you become a college president?" That was an interesting question 'cause I had never thought about being a college president, but I think it's always helpful for students to know about our backgrounds, so tell me about your education. Where did you go to school? Where you grew up?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so I was--

President Johnson: Are you a local?

Aileen Arsenio: I'm pretty local. I was born and raised in Bremerton, Washington so not too far. Out of high school, I actually went to a community college, so I went to--

President Johnson: Oh, which one?

Aileen Arsenio: Olympic College.

President Johnson: Okay, good school, good school.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, it was awesome. Got very involved in multicultural services. I actually started out wanting to go into nursing, found it wasn't a good fit, and I kind of explored different options, did a general Associate's Degree and then eventually transferred to Washington State University.

President Johnson: Wow, so you're WSU.

Aileen Arsenio: I'm a WSU Alumni, yeah.

President Johnson: Okay and got your degrees from there and then you found your way to Green River.

Aileen Arsenio: I found my way to Green River, yeah, and I think a lot of the influence that I had wanting to go into this profession was because of a lot of the staff that I had interactions with. They had such a huge influence on my decision to pursue this that I just love being at a school. I love being a part of a school, and community colleges have a very special place in my heart, so I wanted to stay within the community college system.

President Johnson: Well, that's terrific, and I love your story. I've been mentioning this on other podcasts for our student listeners out there if you noticed Aileen talked about some different areas that she studied before she found the area that she's in now. 'Cause one of our episodes with Josh Staffieri, our career specialist here at the college, we talked about how trying different programs of study, trying different career ideas out, it's part of and a normal part of college life experience.

Aileen Arsenio: For sure.

President Johnson: But so oftentimes students feel so pressured to feel like they should have the answers about what they're gonna do for the rest of their lives, and sometimes with that kind of pressure it just sort of paralyzes people in terms of being able to make any kinds of decisions or being afraid to try things.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah.

President Johnson: So I love it that you shared that you thought about nursing in the past and that that wasn't the best fit for you, and you know you found your way.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah.

President Johnson: That's terrific, so just file that all of our student listeners out there.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, I mean if you were to tell me that when I was 18, 19 years old that I was gonna be a college advisor, I probably would have said, "No way." This wouldn't be a career that I'd wanna do, but, lo and behold, here I am, and I love it.

President Johnson: Wow, that's great, and we're really happy you're here. So Aileen, since you weren't here for our prior episodes we have talked about the reality that most of the students here at our college are transfer students, meaning that what they're studying here will require that they go on to another institution to complete a degree and then move on in terms of a career aspiration. Maybe they'll even go on to graduate school. We do have students here that are career and technical education students. They're studying programs that lead directly into employment opportunities, but clearly the majority of the students that you work with are those that are gonna go to another college after ours. The other thing we've talked about besides the fact that the majority of our students are transfer students at the college. Is that there's phases of planning to go to the next school and how important that is for the planning, and we've talked about the reality that when students come in here they might be exploring and pretty quickly they realize, okay what I'm interested in studying will require that I have to go on. And that was episode one of our transfer series, and then our last episode really focused on, okay I know I have to transfer and so then what? And we talked about the importance of a degree audit and that's the tool that students can access on our website through our class registration page, which shows them what a four-year degree in whatever area it might be, what the course work looks like and then how they can build an education plan or an academic plan for their time here at Green River. And these are really like pieces of paper. You hear degree audit or education or academic plan and it sounds like something that's, I don't know, a little scary or weird. It's like, is that something that happens to you? But these are really just charts, they're grids that students are able to use and fill out. So today, we're really focusing on the journey of transfer, and so now here we are, students. You have determined that you're a transfer student. You've also identified a selection of schools, minimum three or four, I'm gonna keep saying that number 'cause I know I talk to a lot of you oftentimes at the pizza events, and I'll ask, "Are you transferring?" And you'll say, "yes," and I'll say, "Where do you plan to transfer?" And you'll give me one college, and my next question after that is, "Okay, I'm sure that's gonna work out, "but just in case it doesn't do you have a backup school?" And many of you look at me and tell me, "No". So one of the things that we learned in our prior episode, Aileen, is that it's really good to have three or four schools that you're actually going to make an application to.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, definitely, mm-hm.

President Johnson: So it's not just, oh, I have three or four that I might like to, and I only apply to one. No, right? So how many applications would you say a student should fill out or plan to complete?

Aileen Arsenio: I agree. I think three or four is a very good number to at least have an idea of different schools that you would prefer. It's like when you're shopping for a car, right? That's a big investment that you're gonna be pursuing, so when you're going in you're looking at different banks, who's gonna give you the best deal, or who has the best payment plans? So being really mindful of that, you're gonna look at different options, and it's just like school. You're gonna wanna have a whole bunch of different options because realistically sometimes it doesn't happen that you get into the school that you want to go to, and sometimes it works out better that way. But you never know unless you apply to those schools.

President Johnson: And just as a reminder as our listeners might know who have been with us for episodes one and two on transfer linked to episode number two and the planning you will find a number of resources there: dates for our transfer fairs that are coming up, and that's when schools are on our campus; transfer workshops that our career advising staff provide; as well as potentially any dates that we might know about in terms of particular schools sending recruiters and advisors to our campus. So make sure you check out those resources 'cause I'm sure Aileen's going to mention them sometime soon in our conversation.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: So let's start with some questions that I think students might have as they're listening to us have this conversation.

Aileen Arsenio: Sure.

President Johnson: When should I start thinking, if I'm a student and I've realized, okay, I'm gonna need to transfer. And I have figured out what schools I think I want to apply to, when should I start working on my transfer plans?

Aileen Arsenio: Honestly, I always say that the minute you start school is when you wanna start planning because the earlier you decide what you wanna major in, even where you want to go, it makes it so that we're able to work with you to create a plan based on what you want to do. So the earlier you can decide, again we don't want to pressure people, but it is a big thing like I said to plan out, and, as long as you're planning accordingly, the transition from community college to a university is a lot smoother.

President Johnson: Sure, so let me ask a question about that because a lot of our students are making their decision in terms of what they might wanna study, and so certainly I guess from an advisor standpoint if you have a student that's sitting with you saying, "I know I wanna study history." or "I wanna study engineering." it's easier to find schools that you can identify in terms of a degree audit or making an ed plan, but a lot of our students aren't ready to make that commitment, and is that a normal thing?

Aileen Arsenio: It is very normal, like I said before I thought I knew what I wanted to do, and it wasn't necessarily the case. I think the beauty of the AA-DTA, which is a General Associate's Degree, the beauty of that degree is that you have the opportunity to be able to take different classes and kind of explore your options.

President Johnson: So this becomes really important, and thank you for bringing this up 'cause this is exactly where I was gonna go. So for our student listeners out there, a lot of students who are transferring know generally what area they might wanna study and for them they're working on a degree audit and ed plan around topics like engineering or English or history, whatever it might be. But for all of those students, there are probably more students that don't know what they wanna study yet, and they're taking lots of courses across different areas. And it's something that Aileen just explained called the AA-DTA. Can you tell me what those letters stand for?

Aileen Arsenio: So the AA part is Associate in Arts, and the DTA means Direct Transfer Agreement. And basically what that means is within the Washington State schools and some surrounding areas, we have agreements with those schools that if you were to complete an Associate in Arts DTA degree that that would cover a majority of your general education requirements, but it's basically like the first two years of a four-year university. So a lot of the courses that you're taking as a freshman or sophomore if you were to go to a university is basically what you're covering here.

President Johnson: Right, so general education, you mentioned that, these are courses that all students, regardless of what a major might be ultimately in their four-year degree, need to take. They're courses across different content areas like the fine arts, English humanities, math, science, social sciences and so on. Correct?

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yes.

President Johnson: So when a student says to me, "I'm just getting my general education courses done," what they actually are doing is completing two years of the coursework they need to take regardless of what major they might ultimately have.

Aileen Arsenio: Right.

President Johnson: So it's not just, it's kind of important.

Aileen Arsenio: It's very important.

President Johnson: It's very important.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: So I think what I'm hearing is whether you know what you wanna study when you go to the four-year school or not, you're ability to make a plan for transfer is the same.

Aileen Arsenio: Right.

President Johnson: Okay.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: So when should they start? You said as soon as they know that they

Aileen Arsenio: The sooner, the better.

President Johnson: need to transfer they should start.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah and keeping in mind that there are different degrees and majors that have really specific requirements and that's why it's really important to decide ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.

President Johnson: As best you can.

Aileen Arsenio: As best you can, yeah. 'Cause again it's unpredictable, you could decide to do something else in the next year.

President Johnson: Even after you've transfer,

Aileen Arsenio: Even

President Johnson: you might take your first term of courses and then realize, ope, nope, this isn't what I wanna do.

Aileen Arsenio: Exactly, yeah.

President Johnson: Nothing's writing in stone.

Aileen Arsenio: It isn't.

President Johnson: So the sooner the better?

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: And if you're a first-term student here at the college, is that too early?

Aileen Arsenio: No, I mean, I've even met with students who were still in high school that weren't coming in til the next year, coming in and saying, "I just want to know "what I need to do", which is fantastic. I think that's great to at least have an idea of where you're going and especially going into your Associate's Degree, having that plan, knowing what's coming ahead will allow you to best prepare for that. And I'm that type of person, I am a planner myself. I love to know what's gonna come, how I can best prepare myself to be able to pursue things as best as I can I guess.

President Johnson: Right, absolutely planning is the key.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: Now what I've heard before, and since you're an expert in the area let me know if what I've heard is an accurate sort of piece of advice, that if you're a transfer student by the time you start your second year of coursework, that would mean by the time you've gotten at least 45 credits completed, you should absolutely be meeting with an advisor for transfer and getting your plans and actions underway, is that a correct statement?

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yeah, and it comes so fast. The moment you hit that 45 credits, essentially, I mean, hopefully you're at the point where you're at the college level courses, you're starting to explore different options, you're getting a good feel of it. Hopefully by this time maybe you've met with Josh, you've narrowed down your options as far as what you want to do.

President Johnson: That's Josh Staffieri

Aileen Arsenio: Josh Staffieri!

President Johnson: our career specialist

Aileen Arsenio: He's an awesome guy.

President Johnson: in our advising office.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yeah, and really getting that plan so that when you're sitting with an advisor or creating a more long-term plan of what it's gonna look like when you're gonna be completing your degree, so you can plan when you're gonna start applying to colleges, 'cause like I said it does come super fast.

President Johnson: Right, and unlike Green River where we have registration that happens everyday, many of our four-year institutions have deadlines.

Aileen Arsenio: Right.

President Johnson: There are certain times that you can apply for the next year or certain times that you can apply for the next term or semester. It's not that you can apply any particular day.

Aileen Arsenio: Right.

President Johnson: So this becomes really important students and I'm hearing two things here. Number one, if you have completed 45 credits, and you know you need to transfer, and you have not seen an advisor yet, it's time for you to go.

Aileen Arsenio: Come see us.

President Johnson: It's time for you to come and see Aileen and other advisors in the Student Affairs building. So if you have 45 credits already completed or more, and you have not begun your conversations around transfer, it is time. And Aileen I know we're gonna be talking about this again, but where can they find you again?

Aileen Arsenio: In the Student Affairs building, and we're gonna be on the ground floor in room 104. We are once you enter the building, you're gonna go down the stairs take a right, or sorry, a left, and we're gonna be that first office on the left-hand side.

President Johnson: Right and a phone number that they can reach you or others at?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so the front desk they manage our calendars, and they are awesome at answering general questions as well. Their phone number is 253-833-9111, and then their extension is 2641.

President Johnson: So what's the next step then?

Aileen Arsenio: Well one of the key things that I actually want to focus on too is that there are oftentimes two deadlines that you need to focus on because--

President Johnson: Oh, let's talk about that.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so the first one is for general admission into the university, so that's gonna have a deadline and potentially if you are doing a competitive degree--

President Johnson: You mean like nursing or engineering.

Aileen Arsenio: Nursing, business.

President Johnson: Business, okay.

Aileen Arsenio: Some of those particular programs will also have a deadline.

President Johnson: A different deadline

Aileen Arsenio: A different deadline.

President Johnson: From the general admission deadline for the university.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah so that's something that's very important that a lot of students--

President Johnson: See, I'm learning different things here today myself.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah and a lot of students will forget that deadline. So if you miss that particular deadline, again, it could be something where you'd have to wait a whole nother year just to get into the program.

President Johnson: So now I understand why you were saying, as soon as you enroll in Green River College is the time to plan, right? So that's always great. So before 45 credits is always excellent, but that's a big mark off, 45. So then lets talk about this application process. So tell me about what the key components of a college application are because our application for Green River is very similar to the other community colleges in our state, and it's not necessarily the same kind of application a student would be filling out for a four-year institution. So let's talk about the components of the application for a college.

Aileen Arsenio: Sure, yeah. And a lot nowadays are all online, so you're uploading documents. You're able to go back and review them, which is really nice.

President Johnson: Wow, it's a very different world. I'm not gonna tell the listeners how long ago I applied to college. It's probably before your parents were born, it's okay.

Aileen Arsenio: But it was like a one-and-done thing right?

President Johnson: Yes and it was in the mail.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah so that's the nice thing--

President Johnson: But let's just move on from there, all right. So it's gonna be pretty much all online where you needing to upload documents and also submit materials.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, so that'll be the main portion of it is, of course, there's gonna be an application where they're asking for general information, your first and last name, your address, your institutions where you went previously.

President Johnson: Right all the colleges that you've attended.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah.

President Johnson: They probably need high school transcripts.

Aileen Arsenio: Yep, for some of them.

President Johnson: And the Green River College transcripts as well.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so depending on how many credits, and a lot of students think that they have to complete a degree in order to transfer, you don't necessarily have to.

President Johnson: Although we do encourage it.

Aileen Arsenio: We do very much encourage it, and a lot of universities encourage it as well.

President Johnson: You know one of the interesting things that has been noted in terms of students going to community colleges is that they have greater success in completing when they go to their four-year institution if they stay at their community college until completing their Associate's Degree.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yeah.

President Johnson: Now that might not be true for all students in all situations, but there is benefit for staying to the end of your Associate's Degree before you transfer.

Aileen Arsenio: Definitely and I can, being a transfer student myself I can attest to that 'cause I felt very prepared when I transferred to a university and when I had really those degree-specific classes that I was able to, I knew what I was doing.

President Johnson: Right, excellent. So there's gonna be a general information section to the application

Aileen Arsenio: General.

President Johnson: about name, address and some basic educational history kind of things, right?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, and those applications typically come with, they have a fee, so it's not free to apply to these colleges, which is also a reason why it's important to have those three or four options.

President Johnson: Right, your three or four transfer schools that you've identified so that you can know how much it might cost to apply to them.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes and on average they cost, I wanna say about $30 to $50 per application, yes.

President Johnson: Per application. Okay so if I had like four colleges, I need to plan to have about $120, $150 and a certain number of terms set aside.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, and so it can get pretty pricey. However, what's nice about a lot of universities now is they have an application fee waiver.

President Johnson: Right so if you qualify, and so that's another thing we can plan for as a student. You can learn about what the qualifications for that application fee waiver would be.

Aileen Arsenio: Exactly.

President Johnson: You can help them find that information out.

Aileen Arsenio: For sure.

President Johnson: And then submit the information to make them eligible for that.

Aileen Arsenio: Exactly. Yeah, so don't ever look at the cost as being one of the barriers. Like I said many schools will allow you to apply if you qualify for those fee waivers.

President Johnson: Excellent, excellent. So we've got the general information, there's an application fee, what other components of the application?

Aileen Arsenio: Transcripts, of course, is the big one, so--

President Johnson: Transcripts, okay so those are your school records like classes you took and what grades you got.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, and keeping in mind it's all of the classes that you took, so it could include ones that you've re-took. It could be ones that maybe you withdrew from, so everything regarding your student record is gonna be on your transcript. So that's a big thing when you're completing your degree.

President Johnson: It's a complete record of all the courses that you've completed or attempted.

Aileen Arsenio: Exactly. Yes, yeah and so there are withdrawals, which we encourage to keep them at a very minimum. If there are ones in there, I usually say, we have students that are very concerned about, "Oh, I'm gonna withdraw from a class. "How is that gonna affect what the colleges see "on my transcript?" If you're making an effort to retake those classes and you're getting better grades on them, universities and the reviewers are gonna notice the trends of, okay, they attempted this. It didn't work out the first time, but they went back and they did it again and they did really well in that. So they will notice those trends in your transcripts.

President Johnson: Well, that's such an important point to share, I'm so glad you've brought that up because so oftentimes students believe that those who are transferring are straight A students, and they've never had any challenging class that they either failed or barely passed with a low C or D or that they never withdrew from anything and in reality many, many students have those kinds of experiences. The colleges will be looking at the entire educational record, the entire whole student, and with that whole student aspect, what other elements then will be in our college application?

Aileen Arsenio: The personal statement is a great way for you to be able to explain what was going on, your experiences within your community college, extracurricular activities. So going beyond the transcripts and your general information this is really your time to shine on letting that university know who you are, what are you passionate about, and how is the university going to get you to where you wanna be in life?

President Johnson: So every application has something called a personal statement, and Aileen is sharing one area of an application to colleges, which I know some students have such a level of stress and worry around, but this is a really an opportunity, everybody and student listeners there, your personal statement is an opportunity for you to share who you are, why you belong at that next institution, and to share things that they can't know about you by looking at all the other paper material that they're going to be seeing. You are more than the grades on a piece of paper. You are more than the courses that you took. You're more than whatever area of study that you're saying you're interested in pursuing. You're a whole person, so this is really your opportunity to shine and to tell the world who you are and why you want to go there. So try not to stress about that, and when you do, you'll go visit Aileen and she'll help you through it.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah.

President Johnson: Okay, so in addition to the personal statement then what additional components are there?

Aileen Arsenio: Some applications require letters of recommendation, so--

President Johnson: Usually how many, about three?

Aileen Arsenio: Maybe two or three.

President Johnson: Two or three?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, and so those will be from people you've worked with. It could be if you've made a connection with your advisor, like me or an instructor, they can attest to how great of a student you are.

President Johnson: Now would you say that letters of recommendation from faculty are especially useful?

Aileen Arsenio: I think so because they can reflect how you are as a student, and so if they have seen how successful you are and how great of a contributor you can be in the classroom, that is very helpful.

President Johnson: This is really important for our listeners to hear because many times students are shy or not feeling all that confident to go and meet with their classroom instructors or faculty in their offices. All the faculty have office hours, and I'm sure that they tell their classes, I have office hours, meaning they're in their office waiting for you to come and see them. But what a great opportunity for a student to get to know faculty, who can write letters of recommendation. And oftentimes, for the student listeners, you might be applying to the school where the faculty member actually went as a student, and they know faculty that are there. And that can be a real advantage.

Aileen Arsenio: For sure, yeah.

President Johnson: So two to three letters of recommendation, so that sounds to me like, oop, there's another element of planning.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yeah, yeah, and one of the things that I stress to students when they're sending out these letters of recommendation is one thing to simply ask, but I, as someone actually, I just applied to graduate school, and I had to do this for my own--

President Johnson: Oh, wow.

Aileen Arsenio: For my letters of recommendation was I gave a little cover letter of, here's my accomplishments. Here's what I wanna do for the rest of my life, and just to give them a good feel of what they could write about in the letter of recommendation for me. It is a lot of work to come up with a letter of recommendation so being able to provide some materials for them to write about is very helpful, too.

President Johnson: And actually giving them a few weeks at least to do it.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, you don't wanna ask them a week before.

President Johnson: Yeah, or the night before.

Aileen Arsenio: Or the night before.

President Johnson: Yes, when I was in the classroom, students would come and ask for letters of recommendation, and of course, you always want to say yes, it was always so much better when a student would come with a request and they'd say, "It's due in three weeks." I'd think, oh, thank you, thank you, as compared to, a student coming and saying, "I need it tomorrow." Because everybody's got full days, so students out there, try to get those requests to those people who you want to have write you letters, at least a couple of weeks if not more before it's actually due or before you would like to have it so you can complete your application. We've got general information, transcripts, or the records of courses taken, letters of recommendation, a personal statement. Now, of course, there's another element if the students are applying for financial aid and so on. But I think we'll be taking that up with another episode that's different from this one. Let's circle back then. So the application is itself seems pretty clear and straightforward. Let's go back to that personal statement 'cause it is one that I realize many students struggle with or stress over. What sorts of advice do you have in terms of writing a personal statement.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so the number one thing we stress when we're meeting with students that have questions about a personal statement is, make sure you know what the prompt is.

President Johnson: Okay, so that means make sure you pay attention to the question that you're being asked to write about 'cause each college can be interestingly different in terms of what they're asking their applicants to write about.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so while this is a way for you to be able to let the university know, here's who I am, they wanna know how you're gonna be, how you're gonna be contributing to the university. You're gonna be a part of a whole new community, so this their way of getting to know you on another level, so definitely making sure that you are reading those prompts and answering those questions because they're gonna be looking for those.

President Johnson: I'm also hearing then something else, which is you can't write a personal statement for one school and then say you're done and put that same personal statement for all the other colleges.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yes.

President Johnson: You've gotta make sure your statement is applicable and fits to each college individually.

Aileen Arsenio: Correct, yeah, so just like if you were applying for a job, you're gonna want to tailor it to each job position, so same thing with schools. I've had students actually come in, have me read their personal statements, and they have the wrong school in there.

President Johnson: Oh, dear.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so that's not good! Good thing they came in to talk with me.

President Johnson: Excellent, that's why it's always good to have somebody that you're going to and have

Aileen Arsenio: Exactly, yeah.

President Johnson: a different pair of eyes.

Aileen Arsenio: Have some second eyes look at it. Yeah, so definitely be careful, knowing what the prompts are because those are definitely key factors within your personal statement that reviewers are gonna be looking at.

President Johnson: Okay, so that leads us actually to a really important question that I'm sure students ask you every day when they're sitting there, they're filling out their applications. They might be getting them completed. They're getting ready to send them off. What are colleges looking for

Aileen Arsenio: What are they look for?

President Johnson: in the applications?

Aileen Arsenio: I think one of the bigger things that I would say that they were looking for is what do you wanna pursue? Why do you wanna pursue it? So a lot of students will say, "I wanna go into IT because I'll make a lot of money." But that's not necessarily what the universities wanna hear. While they do recognize, yeah, it's gonna bring you to have a very good paycheck, they wanna know, what are your passions? Why did you chose IT? Or why did you wanna choose a specific major, and how is that school going to help you get to where you wanna be? I think that's a big thing is, why did you choose this school?

President Johnson: This is really important to contemplate. It's the same in terms of why the student is choosing the school, or why a students is choosing a career, and you bring something up that I think is really important for us to just pause and contemplate. So you used IT as an example, and it could, have you had students say, "I wanna study IT 'cause I'm gonna make a lot of money"?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah.

President Johnson: Okay. Well, something that's interesting that we know in terms of research is that when you don't have enough money, and what I mean by that is, not enough money to provide for shelter, adequate food, to be able to have heat and electricity and so on, 'cause you've always heard this phrase, money can't buy happiness. And of course, people who struggle financially say, "Well, the heck it can't! "Of course, money can buy happiness. "I don't have enough money." Well, but what research shows us is once you have enough money to adequately live, having more money does not make a person happier.

Aileen Arsenio: Right.

President Johnson: And what we find in terms of research, in terms of happiness, life satisfaction, life happiness, is how meaningful the work a person does is.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes.

President Johnson: As adults, the majority of our waking hours aren't in the cars that we love or the boats or the house or apartment wherever we're living or with our loved ones, the majority of our waking hours as adults are at our place of work.

Aileen Arsenio: At work, yeah.

President Johnson: And the people we work with. So choosing a career solely for monetary gain may not be the only thing that one ought to consider in context of satisfaction in life and feeling like the work that they do is meaningful. And I know this is a sidebar, but what you're also talking about is the fact that universities and colleges acknowledge that and see that, too. And so, as much as we want students to be choosing areas of study that are meaningful to them and contemplating career choices that are meaningful for them, colleges want to know that they're meaningful to the student.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, for sure.

President Johnson: And that's what I think I hear you saying, that the college wants to know why the student wants to go there.

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yeah.

President Johnson: It's not just, oh, I need to go to another college. It's like, what's special about WSU? Or what's special about U-Dub, why do you wanna be here?

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah.

President Johnson: What's so special about us?

Aileen Arsenio: And it goes further than just saying, U-Dub's a great school, or WSU's a great school, I like it there. It's nice. What makes it nice for you? What is it about the school? What are the components of the school that you feel would make, or that you would be a good fit for that school, or why do you think it's gonna help you be successful?

President Johnson: This is telling me that in terms of planning and application, planning around the application, it's not just that you choose, oh, okay, I've picked three or four colleges that are nearby where I live or near the area I wanna be, that the student needs to do a little research about that college and why it would be a good fit for them.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, I mean, you're spending two years at this school, again, being a part of a community, so going beyond being a student, this is a community.

President Johnson: And probably at a higher price.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, yeah, so make the most out of it. There's gonna be so many opportunities outside of the classroom for you to be able to develop your communication skills with people. I, for example, I was involved in a lot of clubs, and that was one of the things that I wanted to be a part of when I transferred was I wanted to be part of a Filipino student association. And I was able to really hone in my leadership skills, which helped me find a job after school.

President Johnson: You bring up student activities and extracurriculars. We're right now focusing on, what do colleges look at and look for in an application? We've touched on they wanna know what's meaningful or important about what it is that you're saying you wanna study there. They're looking for what's meaningful about why the student would wanna go to that college. Are they looking for extracurriculars? Are they looking for student activities, student clubs, leadership activities?

Aileen Arsenio: Those are definitely very helpful. I always say, especially for the ones that are pertaining to your major, but--

President Johnson: If you've decided on an area of study.

Aileen Arsenio: If you've decided, correct. But they also wanna know, again, how are you gonna be contributing to the community that you're gonna be joining if you're going to a university?

President Johnson: What about work experience? So many of the students at Green River are working, not just one job but multiple jobs.

Aileen Arsenio: Multiple jobs, yeah.

President Johnson: Is this an advantage to be able to identify, to share with the next college that they're juggling

Aileen Arsenio: Definitely.

President Johnson: One or more jobs?

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, and I've done that as well. So I've worked two jobs when I was going to school full-time. Those are the things they wanna hear about. That's showing perseverance for a student.

President Johnson: Absolutely, time management.

Aileen Arsenio: Time management.

President Johnson: Dedication.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, so definitely, I mean, if you're making the time and effort to not only work, have familial duties and also be a successful student, that's huge. That's a huge accomplishment that you should be priding yourself and sharing within your personal statement. For sure.

President Johnson: Is there any other advice that you say to students when they're making their application in terms of what colleges look for?

Aileen Arsenio: I think another thing that I also mention, in addition to time management and working at the same time is if there are hardships that you experience, again, going into the perseverance, while sometimes they could be tough to reflect upon, it can be very beneficial in explaining, okay, well, let's connect this to the student's transcript. Maybe this is why around this time, maybe they weren't as successful. But again, they tried it again and they did better, so they're gonna able to connect those, your story to your transcript and say, oh, okay, this is why this was going on.

President Johnson: And that's such a common experience for students, that sometimes there are difficulties that occur. We all have them. And it might have occurred where it affected a term or two, maybe even a whole year of education, and maybe a student took some time away and time off from school, came back, had to maybe repeat courses. That's a success story.

Aileen Arsenio: It is, yeah.

President Johnson: Oftentimes students see that as a deficit or a negative or a mark against them when, in fact, they're showing resiliency. They're showing success and perseverance.

Aileen Arsenio: That is a huge accomplishment.

President Johnson: It's a positive story to share with the college destination. Let's see if we can tie this together today, so a couple of things I've heard that I'm hoping our student listeners have heard. As soon as you're at Green River, it's time to start the planning process for transfer, but certainly by the time you've accomplished 45 credits, you should be at our career and advising center seeing Aileen or other transfer advisors in terms of making a plan, in terms of identifying the colleges that you might wanna be applying to, and starting to look at the applications and what they look like and the deadlines that are connected to those applications based on the schools that you think you might apply for. Importance of planning, but the importance of not being afraid to go into the advising office saying, "I know I've gotta transfer. "I haven't even begun my process. "Who can I talk to?" So that's what I'm pulling out of our conversation, of course, many other things. But what would be some last takeaways today, Aileen, in terms of the student who's a transfer student, they know that they've gotta make application? What top takeaways and action steps? We like to have actions

Aileen Arsenio: For sure.

President Johnson: In each of our episodes. What should our students do? What kind of advice can you give them?

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah, meet with us! We wanna meet with you, no matter how many times. If you have questions, if you need to email us, you can call us. We are there, so don't ever be afraid to ask any questions. There's no such thing as a silly question or a dumb question. We are here to answer every single question.

President Johnson: And I bet if they have it, other students have that question, too.

Aileen Arsenio: You are not the only one.

President Johnson: You are not the only one that has all the questions. Whatever question you have, you are not the only one.

Aileen Arsenio: For sure.

President Johnson: Everyone else is trying to figure this out, too, yes?

Aileen Arsenio: Yes, yes, for sure. And then the other thing is to really take advantage of the events that we have here at Green River.

President Johnson: Right, and that's the reminder connected, and we'll probably load these on to our, this episode as well, we'll probably put these additional resources to each of the episodes related to transfer. Again, if you go to, you will find additional resources listed with each of the episodes on transfer. We might resources with our other podcast, too, and you can find them all at that website location. And take advantage of these additional activities, like transfer fairs.

Aileen Arsenio: Transfer fairs.

President Johnson: Transfer workshops.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah

President Johnson: Meeting with advisors from other colleges when they're here on different days.

Aileen Arsenio: Table events for sure.

President Johnson: Any additional resources that you can think of?

Aileen Arsenio: If you're still exploring, we always stress WOIS is such a helpful tool.

President Johnson: WOIS, now that's W-O-I-S-E?

Aileen Arsenio:

President Johnson: W-O-I-S, and that is a .org, and that is something that Josh Staffieri, who's our career specialist here, career specialist for you students at Green River College, can help you go to and explore. That is a career exploration tool. You need to go to the Advising Center. They can give you a login.

Aileen Arsenio: A site key, yeah.

President Johnson: A site key, they call it. Another way, I like to say login, password, whatever. Check that out 'cause WOIS

Aileen Arsenio: WOIS.

President Johnson: Is a tool that can help you do some career exploration.

Aileen Arsenio: It also gives you a list if you have a specific major that you wanna do but you don't know where you wanna go, it even lists different schools that provide a specific degree that you're looking for.

President Johnson: Excellent.

Aileen Arsenio: If you are not sure of where you wanna go or you know you just wanna explore other options, again--

President Johnson: Right so if I knew I wanted to study economics, I could put that in there, and it'll say, here are all the schools that offer economics. Here are the best ones and so on.

Aileen Arsenio: Right, 'cause again, having those three to four options, very important, so that'll help you pick those three to four options.

President Johnson: Excellent, well we're gonna list all these resources that you just mentioned, and I know we've talked about in prior episodes on transfer up on our website, again, And Aileen, I just wanna thank you for being here today, talking about transfer.

Aileen Arsenio: This was fun.

President Johnson: It is fun, right? Students out there and other listeners, I hope you've enjoyed today's episode. Remember, this is one of a three-part series on transferring from Green River College. You can go anywhere from here, from the banks of the Green River to the world. That's what I like to say.

Aileen Arsenio: I love that, yeah.

President Johnson: Yeah, I think we should start hashtagging that.

Aileen Arsenio: Yeah!

President Johnson: All right, you've heard it here first, on GatorCast. Thank you, you've an excellent day. Check our website and remember to subscribe, Looking forward to having you listen in next time!

Recent News