Early College students who will complete an associate's degree from a North Carolina
Community College can opt to be considered as a first year student or a transfer student
as a new undergraduate student at WCU. For most early college students, advantages
to being classified as a first year student outweigh any advantage to being classified
as a transfer student. Consider the similarities and differences below to determine
which student type (first year or transfer) would suit you best.
The Office of Admission at WCU reviews new undergraduate applicants as to admission
to the university and not to a specific program of study.
- The stronger an applicant's academic credentials, the more likely the applicant will
receive a favorable decision. The amount of coursework and college GPA carry significant
weight in any admission decision and, depending upon the amount of credit earned,
can trump high school credentials regardless of student type (first year or transfer).
- Official high school transcripts, standardized test scores (ACT or SAT), and official
college transcripts for any colleges attended initially are requested at the time
of application for all new undergraduate applicants. [NOTE: Admission to some academic
programs may be dependent upon standardized test score results, whether an applicant
is first year or transfer.]
- UNC Minimum Course Requirements (MCR) and Minimum Admission Requirements (MAR) from
high school must be met. WCU is authorized to make exceptions to those requirements
in certain situations (e.g., if an applicant has earned 24 or more semester hours
of transferable college credit through enrollment at another college). An early college
student who will earn or has earned an associate's degree would be considered for
admission under this exemption.
- Application deadlines sometimes differ first year and transfer students (deadlines.wcu.edu), but all students are strongly encouraged to apply early in an application cycle.
Applying toward the end of an application period can disadvantage an applicant, whether
a first year or transfer applicant. Many other processes are dependent upon admission
to the university, and applying later in an applicant cycle can negatively impact
other things like financial aid packaging and awarding, scholarship consideration,
advising and registration, etc.
Credit Earned Elsewhere
Credit is assessed and awarded based upon the content and credentials of the course
or examination and the student's performance in the course or on the exam. Whether
an applicant is admitted as a first year student or a transfer student, the credit
granted will not differ.
Student classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) is based upon the number
of credit hours accepted from elsewhere (college credits or examination credits) and
the number of credit hours earned at WCU. Because the amount of credit granted does
not differ whether a student's type if first year or transfer, class standing is not
impacted by student type either.
First year students and transfer students are both new undergraduate students, and
University Policy 96 requires new undergraduate students to live on campus. Exemptions
to the on-campus housing policy can be requested and are considered on a case-by-case
basis, whether or not an applicant is first year or transfer. By Policy 96 definition:
- All newly admitted, degree-seeking undergraduates who have not attended college following
high school completion (excluding enrollment in the summer immediately following high
school graduation) are subject to a two academic year (four fall or spring semesters)
requirement to live in the residence halls. This student type includes those who have
earned credit while in high school (i.e., early college or dual enrollment students).
- Base upon the current wording of Policy 96, being classified as a transfer student
for admission purposes would not exempt an early college graduate from living on campus
or going through the exemption process.
New Student Orientation
All new undergradutes are required to attend an orientation session.
- First year students benefit from a more in-depth, 1½ day orientation session and have
more session options from which to choose.
- Transfer students attend a one-day orientation, and fewer session options exist.
- Early college students who have earned an associate's degree can request to participate
in a transfer orientation session. They do not have to be a transfer student to make
Financial Aid Consideration
No differences exist as to consideration for federal and state financial aid based
upon student type. Student loan thresholds and eligibility are based upon the number
of total earned hours, irrespective of student type (finaid.wcu.edu).
Student type does make a difference in terms of scholarship consideration. While being
classified as either a first year or a transfer student does not guarantee that an
applicant will be competitive enough or eligible for a scholarship, applying as either
a first year student or a transfer student impacts scholarships for which an applicant
can be considered. Currently, more scholarships and scholarship amounts exist (as
designated by donors) for first year students than for transfer students (scholarships.wcu.edu).