Feeder Schools

Already planning for your next degree? Learn about America’s top feeder schools to help in your decision.

Feeder schools are colleges that enable a significant percentage of their graduates to move on to specific universities and/or specific programs at other schools. According to a recent College Board study, four out of five community college students seek to transfer to a four-year school, making feeder schools especially relevant today.

While certain schools like University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and UCLA have specific affiliations, there doesn’t need to be an official connection to be deemed a feeder school. Feeder schools can operate at different levels: community colleges can feed into four-year colleges, while four-year colleges can also feed into graduate schools.

If you are planning to transfer or enroll at a specific university for undergraduate or graduate studies, knowing the prominent feeder schools can increase your chances of, eventually, being accepted.

Community Colleges as Feeder Schools to Four-Year Colleges

Community college enrollment is on the rise. The same study by the College Board states that out of the country’s entire undergraduate population, nearly 40% go to community college.

Community colleges often have affiliations with one or more public universities throughout the state. Sometimes however, the process of transferring from a community college to a four-year institution can be complicated. Feeder schools seek to make this transition much easier by creating coursework that’s designed to meet specific colleges’ necessary prerequisites. This ensures that students are as prepared as possible to continue their education.

Community colleges with high transfer rates to certain schools are often located within the same region as the four-year university. For example, Santa Monica College (SMC) in Los Angeles sends more transfers to UCLA and USC than any other community college in the country. This is due, in large part, to a specific schedule that is set up to ensure students meet all the requirements in order to be eligible to transfer.

Additionally, SMC has multiple transfer programs that guarantee admission for students who meet all of the prerequisites: usually, a minimum number of credits and grade point average. Contact your local community college in order to learn which four-year universities it may be affiliated with.

Four-Year Colleges as Feeder Schools to Graduate Schools

Certain four-year colleges have guaranteed admissions programs for their undergraduate students wishing to extend their education at that same school into graduate studies. The Vanderbilt University ENGAGE program allows students who meet specified criteria automatic admission into several graduate programs, including Law School, the School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine.

The Wall Street Journal ranked the top 50 undergraduate feeder schools for the 15 best graduate programs in each area of study (law, education, medicine, etc.). The top 10 included well-known universities, such as Harvard, Princeton and Stanford.

However, many of the schools are smaller in size and name, yet they offer many of the same benefits for students with the goal of graduate study. For instance, Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN has many internship programs with health-care corporations to prepare students for medical school. Also, Pomona College in California sends nearly half of its graduates to higher education programs; in fact, Pomona sends a higher percentage of students to Harvard Law than Columbia or Duke.

Colleges Seek Out Transfer Students

Transfer students appeal to four-year institutions because they often provide for ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. Additionally, transfer students make up an academically successful demographic. Admitting these students can be difficult however, which makes feeder programs so much more valuable.

But remember, while attending a feeder school may increase your chances, it doesn’t guarantee admission to four-year undergrad or graduate schools. Make sure you’re aware of the requirements necessary to maximize your chances of admission. With proper planning, you can find a path through higher education at a feeder school.

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