Students opt for community college, transfer to DePaul
DePaul remains a top destination for transfer students in Illinois.
Transfer students from suburban Illinois have long been interested in DePaul for its location and diversity in an urban environment. Illinois community colleges are the main source of new transfer students for DePaul, accounting for 59 percent during the 2010 Autumn Quarter. The top three community colleges with students transferring to DePaul in recent years have been the College of DuPage, Oakton Community College, and William Rainey Harper College.
"I picked DePaul's College of Commerce because of the downtown location," said Cyrus Christen, a senior at DePaul who transferred from College of DuPage. "It was a little difficult to transfer because of the quarter system that DePaul is on, but the transfer was worth the effort because [DePaul] is such a good networking school. I'm not worried about finding a job after graduation,"
Of DePaul's 16,052 undergraduate students enrolled, a total of 1,596 undergraduate transfer students enrolled in the fall of 2010, up 29 percent from 2006. With college tuition on the rise, many students are transferring to four-year institutions rather than starting out as a freshman at a university.
"Harper has helped me out with my transfer to DePaul," said Sarah Johnson, who transferred from William Rainey Harper College. "I saved so much money—literally, thousands—by staying at a community college for two years. I always knew that I would get my degree from DePaul, but I am glad that I took my general education classes at Harper; it was also nice to spend two years there because I didn't know what I was going to major in,"
Undecided majors are a common reason why students opt to attend community colleges instead of four-year institutions. College is becoming increasingly expensive for students, and the prospect of a job upon graduation is not always guaranteed with the faltering economy.
Community college is a way for students to afford higher education while still having the option of transferring to a larger university later. Student advisers can help students take classes that are guaranteed to transfer, so transfers need not worry about some classes not counting for credit. Some universities offer even more scholarships to transfer students that did not receive them after graduating high school.
"When I applied to DePaul during my senior year of high school, I was accepted, but I didn't receive any scholarships," Johnson said. "When I applied after I had received my Associates' Degree, I got a scholarship, and it was actually cheaper for me to go to DePaul than it would have been for me to go to a public or a state school,"
Johnson is not alone, either. Universities often offer transfer students more scholarships since they are in a different pool than freshmen.
According to DePaul's website, its VISION twenty12 strategic plan focused an additional emphasis on transfer enrollment. DePaul will provide students with a service-oriented education that is ready to meet the challenges of the future. This fall, transfers accounted for 42 percent of new degree-seeking undergraduates.
"Transfer students are essential to DePaul's enrollment," said College of Communication adviser Ginny Rowe. "In our college, we work with just about as many transfer students as native students to DePaul. We are comfortable working with students who transfer from a local community college, which is very common. Many students start at a less expensive two-year school, and then transfer to DePaul in order to complete their B.A. Transfer students are definitely an essential part of [our] enrollment,"
Chicago has long been a destination for suburban students wanting to study in a metropolitan environment. Because of this environment, DePaul continues to build its foundation on diversity—a trait for which the school is known. In 2010, 39 percent of all new transfer students were students of color, and based on reports in 2010, the transfer class is 42 percent minority.
"I went to a community to save money at first, but then I transferred to DePaul because of its diversity," said Luis Rojas, a senior transfer student from Elgin Community College.
Diversity is something for which DePaul has always strived, but higher education is not always something that many students can afford.
"I am so glad that I went two years at a junior college," Rojas said. "I was able to save some money, and now DePaul is setting the foundation for the rest of my life."
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