By Shanna O’Mara
Rider University and Bucks County Community College (Bucks) signed an agreement on Feb. 19 that will allow Bucks students to more easily transfer credits into 12 majors, and even into the honors program.
“Students can get their associate’s degree then transfer all their credits [to Rider] as seamlessly as possible,” said Shannon Conte, senior assistant director of transfer admission at Rider.
Jamie O’Hara, vice president of enrollment management at Rider, emphasized the benefit of this agreement for both institutions, as well as the students who take advantage of such an opportunity.
“Our collaboration with Bucks dates back to the beginning of its foundation as a community college 50 years ago, and includes a re-signing of an institutional agreement during the fall of 2013,” he said in a press release. “This partnership just continues to get stronger. Although agreements like this are beneficial for both institutions, the most important advantage is to students who gain improved opportunities to achieve their higher education goals.”
Bucks students with the intention of enrolling at Rider are given advising guides which will outline their courseload semester by semester for the first two years.
When choosing which majors would be included in the agreement, Conte said it took some time to analyze which were most popular among students of both institutions.
“There were 13 specific [disciplines] that we felt that there’s a good amount of students in those programs at Bucks that would be very feasible to transfer to Rider, so those programs really fit nicely,” she said.
Program-to-program transfer arrangements are now in the disciplines of behavioral neuroscience, biology, business administration, chemistry, communications studies, criminal justice, finance, global supply chain management, journalism, nursing, psychology, sports management, and honors programs.
Rider has formal partnerships with several other community colleges, including Brookdale, Burlington, Mercer County, Middlesex County, and Raritan Valley. Close ties are also kept with 21 other institutions in the area.
“We have similar agreements with numerous other colleges and universities, but this includes our first honors-to-honors agreement,” said Ronni November, director of the advising and transfer center at Bucks, in a press release. “This means graduates of our ‘Honors@Bucks’ program can transfer into Rider’s Baccalaureate Honors program.”
Now students can transfer without uncertainty.
“Students can see exactly what they need to be taking at the community college so they know what will come over to us,” Conte says.
According to Clayton Railey, Bucks provost, this affiliation between the two schools will allow students more academic opportunities.
“These agreements with Rider will provide Bucks students with a broad range of opportunities to create a seamless transition across a wide variety of disciplines that our two schools support,” he said. “The scope of these agreements leaves no discipline untouched, from the humanities to the sciences and much in between.”
Bucks signed an overall agreement with Rider in 2013, but Rider has been assisting Bucks with transfers since they created the college in 1965. Bucks students are permitted to transfer to Rider if they declare a major during their freshman year and complete an associate’s degree at Bucks with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Students who transfer into a program will obtain junior status, according to Kristine Brown, media relations director. Conte said overall the agreement would be substantial for both institutions, to share in learning and academic success.
“[Community colleges] need places to send their kids, great institutions that can give them scholarships, that can give them the credits they deserve. That we are able to do it with an agreement helps both parties,” said Conte.
Additional reporting by Alexis Schulz
By Shanna O’Mara