To transfer, graduate or both; that is the question

The pros and cons of the different paths you can take from COD

by Sharlah Lotze
Staff Reporter 

College of the Desert 2011 graduates celebrate their accomplishments. (Revae Reynolds/College of the Desert)

As with most situations, people have choices. What should I wear this morning?  What school should I go to?  Should I get my AA or go on for my BA, or the third option; should I do both?  And, also like most situations, there are pros and cons to each side.

First, the pros and cons of transferring.  Pro- You get to continue with your education that will enrich your life.  Con- Continuing your education also means continuing to pay for it.  Even if you get financial aid, the rules change when you get to a university.  For example the BOG waiver: Gone.  ­Pro- Moving straight into upper division allows for your mindset to remain the same.  As students, we all have to have a certain discipline that may dissipate if we take too long of a break.  Con- If a person does transfer and does not finish their Bachelor’s degree, some of the units they completed have the potential to become obsolete after time albeit, probably a long time, but that possibility is still there.  Pro- At College of the Desert (COD), there is a transfer recognition celebration that transferring students may participate in where they are applauded for their work thus far, and they receive a medallion.  Con- For some students, to transfer may mean to relocate.  This can actually be considered a pro or a con, depending on the student.  Casey Steeps, a COD student in the process of transferring in the Fall, says of her decision, “I know I want to finish with my BA, so I figured there is no point in taking more classes to get my AA first.”

Now, the pros and cons of the decision to graduate and finish with an Associate’s degree.  Pro- You’re done!  I don’t know any student that wouldn’t be thrilled with that absolution.  Con- Some say that an AA is not enough in this economy; that to get your foot in any door, a BA is required.  ­Pro- You’re done!  This definitely counts as a double pro.  Con- As with anything, money is always a factor, so if a student wants to participate in the graduation festivities, it is going to cost them.  To register and get your name on the list, it is actually free, which was surprising to me.  It is apparently something that the school recently started to do to say congratulations to the graduates.  But, what does cost is your cap and gown, pictures, flowers, a plane ticket for your Great Aunt Sylvia to fly in from Buffalo, etc.

And last, the pros and cons of doing both.  Pro- To state the obvious, you get the best of both worlds; you get to reap all of the benefits from transferring and from graduating, well, except for being done that is.  Con- Again, money!  It makes the world go ‘round, but it also makes this decision a little rough.  It is going to cost to get your Aunt Sylvia here, and it is going to cost to move on.  Pro- If you do decide to graduate, but still continue on, you will always have that degree.  As stated previously, if something were to come up, and for some unforeseen reason, you were not able to finish your BA, the units from COD could never be lost, because they are in degree form.  This can be a major source of relief for some, and may compensate for the extra money and time.  Con- To continue on and get your degree as well does require students to complete extra courses.  As Khanh Hoang, the Counselor and Coordinator of the Transfer Center at COD states, “In these times, where classes are harder and harder to get into, where the school is overcrowded and there are limited resources, if a student can transfer sooner rather than later, they should.  If a student were to stay for a couple of classes just to receive their AA, it will take them longer than ever before to complete those few classes because of the fact that they may not get into the ones they need.”

At the end of the day, it is a personal decision that cannot be taken lightly.  Each situation is different, and one of the cons on this list may actually be a pro in some cases; it is all relative.

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