If you are attending community college chances are you’ve thought about transferring to a university. Imagine how good that would look on your resume to attend a big name school and get a bachelor’s or masters degree, but is it worth it? Is it a difficult process and what’s it actually like going to a college university? 

I was lucky enough to be able to interview Alexis White, who attends Arizona State University. She previously attended Paradise Valley Community College and transferred to ASU this past year for their nursing program. Alexis is a very busy 29 year old. She’s a single mother who has an active 8 year old son with special needs(Alexis’ son has a metabolic disorder called Phenylketonuria or PKU), attends class in person at the college 3 days and does clinicals at the hospital every Saturday for 12 hours. Needless to say finding time for her to do an interview face to face was pretty much non-existent. Thank goodness for technology. We were able to talk on the phone, text and FaceTime in order to discuss this.

I would tell them to try and seek out certain classes they are able to take at the community college rather than university so it will cost less. Some classes you can take at university but they still offer at community college that cost way less.

ALEXIS WHITE, ASU STUDENT

I’m sitting in front of my laptop and Alexis joins the FaceTime call. She’s wearing navy blue scrubs, her hair is tied back in a bun and she has a big Dr. Pepper ready to go in her hands. Before I even start asking questions she says, “I’ve never been so excited to go to sleep.” And laughs. I can’t blame her, so I get started. 

Q: So Alexis, how old were you when you first started community college?

A: I was 22. My son was only 3 at the time. I did online classes the first year and I would do the work when he was asleep. The only time I went in person was for one semester and my sister would watch him while I went at night after work. 

Q: And how long were you in community college for?

A:. In total after I graduate it will be 7 years.

She looks up and laughs. “Better late than never!” I say.

Q: How were you able to afford community college?

A: Financial Aid grants and a credit card. Scholarships help a lot too if you can get them. 

Q: Was it hard for you to get grants or scholarships?

A: It’s super hard to get scholarships but not hard to get financial aid. You just go to the FAFSA website and apply there.I was able get a scholarship through Helping hands for Single moms.

Q: When did you decide to transfer to a University?

A: I transferred in fall of 2021. I was just getting ready to move back in with my grandma in order to go to school full time. 

Q: So you moved in with your grandma? Was that because of the cost of school?
A: Oh yeah. ASU costs an absurd amount more. I’m only two semesters in and it’s cost me $10K. I also couldn’t work a full time job and go to nursing school and take care of my kid.

Q: Wow! Yeah that does sound like a lot on your plate. How did you choose which school you went to? 

A: I honestly just picked which one had the least amount of transfer credits needed so I could get in and graduate faster.

Q: That makes sense. What was the process of transferring like? Was it complicated?
A: The transferring process was fairly easy. You are set up with an advisor depending on the first letter of your last name. You need your community college transcript, the right amount of transfer credits and you have to apply- I believe it was $45.00 application fee. 

Q: Oh that’s not too complex. How were you able to pay for your ASU classes? Especially considering how much they cost?

A: The same way I paid for community college. Student loans, grants and money I’d saved. I don’t know how else anyone can afford college without loans or grants. 

Q: That’s how I’m doing it too! What are some of the benefits or things that you enjoy about being at ASU? 

Alexis in her scrubs ar school

A: The teachers are more lenient at ASU. My class schedule is more convenient and there’s no commute.

Q: When you say the teachers are more lenient do you mean they’re more understanding?
A: Yeah, they understand life gets stressful and will work with you in general. ASU teachers are more lenient than community college teachers.

Q: Wow, I would have thought it would have been the opposite for some reason. What are some of the things you don’t like about ASU? 

A: Honestly the biggest con is the money it costs. For example- my last semester at PVCC cost me $1,000.00. At ASU it cost me $4,500.00 – just for January to May. And my community college classes were in person and my ASU classes are online. 

Q:. How are the classes different?

A:  ASU offers a lot more of a flexible schedule. Having all my classes be able to be entirely online helps so much. And the instructors being more lenient like I said before. 

Q: If you had to say, what is the most challenging thing about ASU in comparison to community college?
A: The most challenging is the cost of university. 100%. 

Q: What advice would you give someone transferring to a university?

A: I would tell them to compare and contrast different universities. Especially when it comes to pricing, commute and transferable credits. Also, I would tell them to try and seek out certain classes they are able to take at the community college rather than university so it will cost less. Some classes you can take at university but they still offer at community college that cost way less.

Q: One more question for you, do you think that transferring to a university it is worth it? The cost and everything?

A: No, not at all. At least not for my degree. The BS in Bachelors of Science in Nursing is exactly that-BS.

We both laugh and on that note, I tell Alexis thank you for her time and to get some well deserved rest and we end the call. 

The major takeaway from this interview for me was the cost of university. It’s important to note that ASU has a 56.2% graduation rate. While some might be quick to say that could be due to a lack of motivated students, it’s important to consider the cost of attendance. Whether you choose to transfer to a university or stay down the community college path, just be sure that you are taking advantage of all the help available to you. Apply for any scholarships you can and don’t be afraid to talk to a financial advisor.