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Video | The path to a degree isn’t always a straight line. Here is how one student made the journey.

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.

After Anna Burby graduated from high school, she was ready to get out of her hometown. She enrolled in a private college. “I loved everything about it,” she said. But the last day of Christmas break after her first semester, worried about student debt, she headed instead to Central Carolina Community College and enrolled there instead.

Burby graduated from Central Carolina in May 2013 and enrolled in a four-year university. While she did earn a transfer degree, Anna couldn’t figure out how to transfer her class credits to her new school.

“Over the summer, I had difficulty getting in touch with any of their staff,” Burby said. “It took me going up there to try and find someone just to be told that someone who could have helped me wasn’t there.”

Burby’s story is not uncommon. Many students struggle to transfer their community college credits to four-year universities.

“For a while I was debating on not even continuing to get my four-year degree,” Burby said. “I had so many frustrations with not knowing if I would even be able to afford a four-year school.”

Burby reached out to her advisors at Central Carolina. They walked her through all of her options and recommended she re-enroll at Central Carolina to earn more transfer credits.

After attending Central Carolina for another semester, Burby earned an associate of arts degree. She then transferred to NC State University and in 2015 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ecosystem assessment.

“I’d already graduated from [Central Carolina]. I was out the door and enrolled in somewhere else. They didn’t have to continue working with me,” Burby said. “Even when I felt like I was ready to give up, they helped me figure out my next steps.”

Taylor Shain

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