AACC is one of four community colleges in Maryland with a dedicated pre-transfer advisor for the University of Maryland, College Park. Liz Murdock LaFortune works with students who are interested in transferring to the University of Maryland to help them determine what courses will transfer to Maryland and how they will apply to their major of interest. She also helps identify remaining requirements to duplicate the first two years at Maryland as much as they can while they're at AACC to save time and money and transfer seamlessly.
She shared her advice and resources for students in a recent interview.
What do you wish students knew?
First, that I'm here. I wish they realized how helpful it can be to work with an advisor, whether it's an Anne Arundel advisor or me, from the very beginning, because we can really help them keep open options. Sometimes students won't meet with me because they'll say they don't know what their major is. And that's fine, but if we choose really carefully, we can keep a couple of options open as long as possible. At some point, we need to narrow things down, but just to realize that this can be a real stress reducer, and the earlier they meet with me, the better.
What other advice do you have?
The advice about meeting with the Anne Arundel advisor and with me early is really the most important, because we can do so much. ... And I really do help students. I tell them they're under no obligation to meet with me. ... (But) one of the things that I always say, you cannot meet with me too much. ... I mostly work with student semester by semester, and ... then we can regroup. ... You can adjust your plan as your interests differ or knowledge grows in a certain field.
Which of the college's values (community and relationships, opportunity, positivity, innovation and creativity, equity and inclusion) resonates most with you?
Equity and inclusion. The students I work with are very talented, and some of them are students who applied to Maryland as freshmen and were not admitted, but that's a really small portion of the students I work with. A lot of students have planned to go to community college to save time and money all along, and they're great students. They want to know how to maximize their opportunities, but some of the students have had setbacks, and/or they didn't have a lot of knowledge about the college process, what transfer is, what you should do at the community college, especially if they're first generation college students. So I do see it as an equity issue for all of these students to have this opportunity.
Now College Park is not the right school for everybody. And that's fine. Whether it's the size, the majors we offer, or whatever, I want to help them make sure that if this is what they want to do, we do it for them in a way that they really can make progress and open doors to things they may not have thought they had as opportunities before.
What's the best way for someone to contact you?
My email, firstname.lastname@example.org and through the UMD Pre-Transfer Advising website. There's a link there to make an individual appointment with me, and then I have an information session coming up in September.