Researching Colleges

Many Blue Water Middle College Academy students have plans to continue their education after graduating from St. Clair County Community College (SC4).  They are looking to earn a bachelor's degree at a four-year college or university.  Some students have plans to continue in graduate school after that.

The sooner a student knows what college they expect to attend after SC4, the better decisions they can make when it comes to choosing classes that will transfer and count toward their bachelor's degree program at the new school. 

However, ...  You do not have to narrow the list down to just one future college.  In fact, it is better not to narrow it down to just one until you are well into your final year in the middle college and have applied to several possible future schools.  Your final decision will likely depend on several factors that you will not know until then.

Creating your "short list" of future colleges should begin as soon as possible.  Here are some things to think about as you begin researching future colleges.

Researching Future Colleges:  Why, What and How?

Why is it important to research colleges now?

  • Attending your next college or university will be one of the biggest and most valuable investments you will make. EVER!
  • BWMCA students in grade 13 will start applying to future schools in August.
  • Guaranteeing SC4 courses you choose will transfer to another college requires knowing where you want them to transfer and what you will be studying.
  • Good college research now will save you thousands of dollars.  Think of it as a well-paying summer job you can do at home.

What should you be looking for?

  • Colleges that you would consider going that provide a degree or major in what you want.
  • Specific information on the bachelor’s degree and major and possibly minor you want.
  • Credit transfer information in the form of “transfer guides” for SC4 or a database of course equivalencies that includes SC4.
  • When and how to schedule an official visit to the campus.
  • Contact information for an admissions representative and an advisor in the department your program would be in.

How do you research future colleges/universities?

  • Finding schools:

    • Use Career Cruising or petersons.com to search for your career or major and narrow options using their filters; e.g., location, size, cost, admission difficulty, etc.
    • Use a web search tool like Google to search schools you know and would consider attending.  Get to their main website.

  • What’s your major?

    • A “major” is a concentration of courses (usually 40 credit hours or so) in your ‘major’ area of focus.
    • A major can be slightly different than the name of the bachelor’s degree.  Ex. Bachelor of Science in Biology with a microbiology major and a minor in genetics.
    • A “minor” is a small concentration of courses, usually 12 – 18 credit hours.
    • Career Cruising in the “Education” section of your career will provide degree or major ideas.

  • How do I know what degrees or majors a school offers?

    • Usually there is an “Academics” tab on the school’s home page.
    • Look for any of the following: degrees, majors, undergraduate programs, etc.

      Note: You are an “undergraduate student”.  “Graduate” or “Grad” programs are for student who have earned a bachelor’s degree and will be working on a Master’s Degree or higher.

    • Drill down into the pages to find what you want to study; i.e., biology, accounting, psychology.

  • Degree and major requirements:

    • To find a list of the actual course requirements, you may need to get to the specific department or college page.  Note:  Universities have small “colleges” within them, such as a “College of Engineering” at Wayne State University.
    • The degree requirements are often listed in a PDF document.

  • What will transfer from SC4 to the university program?

    • The best case scenario is when a school has a “Transfer Guide” for each academic program tied to each community college in Michigan.  Examples:  Wayne State and Oakland Universities have transfer guides specifically for SC4 courses.
    • Search for “transfer guide” in the college’s web site search box, or go into the Transfer Student section of the admissions pages for a link to help determine what will transfer.
    • Transfer guides are very specific and list all courses needed for the bachelor’s degree or major and which courses at SC4 can be used to fulfill them.
    • If no transfer guides are available, print a list of degree requirements and use the “michigantransfernetwork.org” site to look for SC4 courses that will fulfill as many of the requirements as possible.
    • Get advising help to be sure you are planning for the best transfer of credits.

  • Contact colleges:

    • Make connections and build relationships with an admission representative at the new college or possibly an advisor in the department or college you would enroll.
    • It’s not too early to reach out.  Call or email.  Get a name.  Stay in contact.  Call when possible.

  • College Visits:

    • Schedule an official visit to the school.  Don’t just drive around.
    • Sign up from the website or call the school.
    • BWMCA will lead visits next year to Wayne State, Saginaw Valley State, and Michigan State this fall.  Check your email for dates and the registration process.

  • Applying:  Here is some important information for students who want to apply to colleges over the summer:

    • You apply as a freshman, not as a transfer student.
    • Your high school is the Blue Water Middle College Academy, not your regular high school.
    • Contact us when you need to request your transcript.  You must request it from the BWMCA, not your regular high school.

Don't wait to start researching future colleges.  The more you learn about your options for the future, the better decisions you will make now.  If you have questions, please contact one of the middle college staff members.