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Video | An advisor makes all the difference

This is part of a series on the transfer experiences of North Carolina’s students between community colleges and four-year institutions. Click here to read the rest of the series.

Elizabeth Vanegas enrolled in Lee Early College primarily for financial reasons. “I was able to receive my associate degree without paying for it,” she said.

After graduating from Lee Early College, she enrolled at NC State University. “I took a lot of the classes that I needed pretty early on,” Vanegas said, “so when I came to State, it was a smooth transition.”

Vanegas ran into challenges when she decided to switch her major from human biology to education. Many of credits that she earned from her early college were track specific, and it was difficult to apply those credits to a different degree path. That’s where an advisor helped her out.

“I reached out to the assistant director of advising at the College of Education, Mrs. Amanda Beller, and she was able to help me out,” Vanegas said.

Beller worked with Vanegas to figure out what classes she needed to take.

“This is pretty common,” Beller said. “I work with a lot of students on figuring out how to make the credits that they’ve previously taken work towards their new degree program, and sometimes it’s seamless and sometimes it’s hard.”

For example, as a human biology major, Vanegas had already taken an advanced biology course, but an education degree only required a lower level science credit. The computer system did not count the advanced biology class as a completed credit, so Beller had to manually approve the higher level science credit.

“I could have gone through the whole switching my degree, figuring out how my credits transfer, by myself,” Vanegas said. “But reaching out and taking the initiative to talk to someone who has more knowledge made the process a lot smoother for me.”

“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without Mrs. Beller,” Vanegas said.

Taylor Shain

Taylor Shain is a documentary filmmaker and video producer with EducationNC.