Shannon Watkins of the Martin Center highlights a program designed to help students transferring into the University of North Carolina.

Jumping right into a four-year university after high school isn’t for everybody. There are numerous reasons why, for some students, attending a community college and then transferring to a four-year university is the most prudent decision.

For some, it’s financially practical. The low cost of community college allows students to virtually cut the cost of their education in half. Other times, 18-year-old students do not have the maturity that a rigorous university education and independent living require. And in some cases, community college acts as a “second chance” for those who were not admitted to their university of choice.

But navigating the transfer process can be daunting—even for the most driven students. Successfully transferring to a four-year school requires a lot of guidance and proactive planning.

While most community colleges offer advising services, there is a program in North Carolina that goes above and beyond in its efforts to ease students’ transition to a four-year university. Not only that, students who are accepted into the program are guaranteed admission to the state’s flagship university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The program is called the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP). Thirteen of the state’s 58 community colleges participate in C-STEP. Wake Technical (Tech) Community College is one of those thirteen.