May 5, 2010

C.U. Enters Into Transfer Agreement With N.J. College

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Cornell’s Human Ecology and the Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J. entered into an agreement last month to facilitate the transfer of RVCC students to Cornell.

The goal of a transfer agreement, which involves the creation of specific articulations, is to assist potential transfer students by outlining what courses they should take at their respective schools that could carry over easily to Cornell. In the case of RVCC, Human Ecology specified a list of required courses for each major that correspond to parallel courses at RVCC.

These recommendations “prescribe” which courses the college wants to see in applicants who are prepared to transfer to Cornell, according to Paul Fisher, senior associate director of admissions for Human Ecology.

However, Fisher said, “Human Ecology articulations do not imply acceptance.”

Rather, the agreement ensures that RVCC courses will transfer seamlessly into the Human Ecology curriculum.

“[RVCC students] have an advantage compared to a typical student who may not have taken courses we want to see,” Fischer said. “But students from any university who take courses we require and have a good GPA and a strong interest [in our curriculum] will be a good match.”

Although RVCC currently has 51 formal college transfer agreements, the articulation agreement with Cornell is its first with an Ivy League school.

“[The agreement] means a great deal to our students,” said Paul Michaud, RVCC’s director of transfer and career services. “It clearly establishes a pathway into Cornell, especially by defining precisely which courses community college students should take. The transfer agreement also opens up the door for students to consider the Ivy League. I believe a lot of students were apprehensive, thinking that a community college degree wasn’t sufficient for entry. The signed agreement really changes that perception.”

As with transfer students to other schools, Human Ecology looks for a minimum 3.5 GPA and a strong interest in the Human Ecology curriculum. If students also take the recommended courses specified in the articulation agreement, they will be in prime position for acceptance.

Human Ecology currently has 10 active articulation agreements. Historically, according to Fisher, Human Ecology has been reserving more spots for transfer students, especially those from community colleges. This agreement is somewhat unusual because RVCC is a New Jersey school, but it’s not “out of the ordinary,” Fisher said. In fact, Fisher explained, most New York State colleges and universities have articulations with other schools.

Articulation agreements are not unique to Human Ecology. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has 31 transfer agreements with community colleges and two-year colleges.  Of these agreements, CALS has six agreements with community colleges in California along with agreements with two-year institutions in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont. According to the CALS website, CALS makes “transfer agreements with community and two-year colleges that offer programs that match the missions of CALS [… CALS has] established agreements to encourage and assist students with their transfer planning.”

Students matriculating at these two-year institutions are guaranteed admission so long as they meet five transfer criteria, which include having at least a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 and demonstrating a solid interest and fit in the CALS major. If applicants meet all five criteria, then they are guaranteed admission to certain CALS majors such as Information Science, International Agriculture and Rural Development and Nutritional Science. Transfer students wishing to enroll in Applied Economics and Management, Biological Sciences, Biology & Society, and Landscape Architecture, however, are simply considered competitive applicants and not guaranteed admission.

Though CALS and Human Ecology have articulation agreements with community colleges, not all of the contract colleges at Cornell do. In an e-mail, Ian Schachner, Industrial Labor Relations admissions/transfer counselor, said, “ILR does not have any articulation agreements with any two-year schools and we currently have no plans of establishing this in the future.”

Original Author: Elizabeth Manapsal