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Shea Huffman
Courtesy of Kyle Rodrigues
Courtesy of Kaitlin Neises


Being in a community college is one of the safest, most sheltered methods of attending college in today’s society. Community colleges are places that anyone and everyone in one’s community can attend, and it is easy to feel right at home on small, tight-knit campuses.

This is especially true for Estrella Mountain Community College, being one of the smallest community colleges in the Maricopa Community College County District. While some may not want or need to leave the comfort of the community college setting, some students here on campus are actively preparing to transfer to a university this upcoming fall semester, and are excited to begin a new journey in their lives.

Transferring to a large university such as Arizona State University, University of Arizona or Northern Arizona University can be daunting. For starters, if you attend a community college, you are already used to the way things work—the small class sizes, the close student-teacher relationships, the one-on-one mentoring offered on campus; things are starkly different at most universities around the globe. It isn’t that they do not want to provide as much support as they can; the fact of the matter is they typically are too big to have the capacity to accommodate everyone’s needs and desires, whether that be your professor personally going over a paper or exam with you, or getting you into a meeting with a counselor at the last-minute. While some of these accommodations offered at EMCC may not be offered at a university, there are still countless benefits to transferring.

Kaitlin Neises, a sophomore at EMCC, claims she knows exactly how different attending a university will be compared to a community college. Neises says, “I have friends who have gone to universities straight out of high-school, and I have visited them in their dorms. The environment is very different, and there are a lot more students. It was a bit overwhelming when I first took a tour to the University of Arizona.” Neises goes on to say how she felt on her first campus visit to UA, the school she plans to transfer to: “While it was a little scary at first, the representatives reassured me that everyone gets nervous in the beginning, but soon everyone is able to find their place at the university.” Needless to say, Neises is no longer as anxious as she was, and is now looking forward to tackling this new chapter in her life head-on.

Some may be wondering about the process of transferring to a university. EMCC has dedicated resources to help with this process. Students need to review and follow the tips and instructions outlined on EMCC Advisement’s Transfer webpage.

Additionally, when applying to a university, students must not rush on any essay questions, and it’s important to ask for letters of recommendation from professors, academic associates, employers, etc.; these are the aspects of one’s application that will make students stand out in the sea of endless applicants.

Twenty-year-old Kyle Rodrigues, a sophomore student, talks about his experience with the transfer process that he is currently undergoing: “So far, the process has been pretty smooth, and all my classes are transferable, so I’m set with that. I am very excited to get more involved in my major once I’m at ASU, since EMCC could not offer me the same major-based classes that the university has.” He shared with The Lion’s Perspective how he feels toward change; for him, even though it might be a little frightening he feels “getting used to the larger class sizes at a university should be interesting. After being in such small classes for so long, it will be a little strange. But I’m definitely up for the challenge!”

Although change can seem daunting, it also has the potential to open many new doors that one may not have even known existed before. For many, EMCC serves as the beginning of something new in their lives. For countless high-school students, it was the first move away from the shelter of high-school and into more of a “real world” setting; others used EMCC as a fresh start to a better life.

Estrella Mountain can be used as a stepping stone toward the future, for those young and old. Additionally, for those transferring to universities, it is simply the stepping stone they needed to take before opening up that first new door in their lives.