San Jacinto College student Karina Lozoya talks over transfer plans with educational planner Alfredo Gomez. Business major Lozoya plans to transfer from San Jacinto College to the University of Houston. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Transfer plans, articulation agreements provide seamless transitions for San Jacinto College students
Rob Vanya, July 2, 2012
PASADENA, Texas – To help students intending to attend four-year colleges or universities, San Jacinto College educational planners offer students help with transfer plans and articulation agreements – partnerships that outline how courses count toward degrees between institutions.
Texas guarantees transfer of most core classes between all public colleges and universities. But degree-specific courses may or may not transfer between institutions. That has led many colleges and universities to establish articulation agreements, designed to provide specifics about credit transfers. Unfortunately there is a lack of standardization in articulation agreements, according to Dominic M. Chavez, senior director of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board office of external relations.
“There are literally thousands of individual articulation agreements between the 50 community college districts in Texas and our 38 public universities,” Chavez commented. “These agreements are not monitored or regulated by the state, and often vary by school and in some cases, by individual degree program. This lack of cohesion and consistency creates confusion that can be costly for students who end up taking courses that do not transfer, or that do not apply toward their intended degree.”
San Jacinto College strives diligently to ensure such loss-of-credit does not occur, so students do not have to go through the frustrating and expensive process of repeating courses. “We do two things to ensure a seamless transfer,” commented Dr. Catherine O’Brien, San Jacinto College associate vice chancellor for learning. “First, we strongly encourage a student to meet with one of our educational planners as early as possible before registering for courses to create a degree plan. Our educational planners work closely with university advisors to keep our transfer plans updated. Second, we continuously work to expand and improve our articulation agreements with universities. Those agreements make it easier for students to successfully transfer and earn a four-year degree while not losing credits in the process.”
O’Brien said a transfer plan and an articulation agreement are similar, yet there are some important differences. “Basically, a transfer plan lists which courses at San Jacinto College are likely to transfer as equal to courses listed on a university degree plan,” she explained. “An articulation agreement is a legal agreement between San Jacinto College and a university that guarantees courses are equal.”
San Jacinto College currently maintains articulation agreements with more than 20 institutions. In some cases the College has articulation agreements with specific academic or technical programs from institutions. “We have articulation agreements with strategic partners in the region, like the University of Houston, University of Houston Clear Lake, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Sam Houston State University, to name a few,” said Dr. Chris Duke, the College’s director for curriculum and assessment. “We are always working to add to the list of universities with which we have agreements and to improve our existing agreements. The single goal of that work is to make the transfer process easier and more successful for our students.”
O’Brien said the best way for students to streamline the transfer process is to work closely with educational planners.
“We recommend that all students take the time to meet with educational planners as early as possible, preferably before they even register for their first semester,” she commented. “An educational planner can create a transfer plan that clearly identifies the four-year university degree the student wants to earn and the San Jacinto College courses that will count toward that degree. Once that transfer plan is created, the student should use it semester-to-semester to guide decisions about which classes take.”
O’Brien said it’s also a good idea for a student to communicate with the senior college he or she intends to attend once the student and a San Jacinto College education planner has put together a transfer plan. “An advisor at the university will be able to provide additional help and information to ensure that no credits are lost when transferring,” she noted.
For more information about San Jacinto College’s transfer plans and articulation agreements, please visit www.sanjac.edu/transfers.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
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