The Path of Liberal Arts Transfer to Career Success

At the age of 16, Garth Beyer fell in love with Madison, Wis. Moving from high school to community college during his junior year of high school, Beyer completed his associate degree from Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill. When he made his dream of living in Madison a reality and toured the University of Wisconsin-Madison three times, he discovered he had another dream: Attend UW-Madison and get a job at advertising agency Hiebing.

Madison College Social Media Specialist Maureen Alley sat down with Beyer to discover how he made his dreams a reality by attending Madison College as a liberal arts transfer student.

Maureen Alley: Why did you decide to go to Madison College?
Garth Beyer: Unfortunately I didn’t get accepted at UW-Madison the first time I applied. After talking to a UW counselor, he suggested I take a few courses at Madison College to make me a better candidate. During the summer of 2012, I decided to take a handful of courses at Madison College, particularly the basic courses.

MA: Did you always want to do liberal arts transfer?
GB: I actually never thought of it until I was denied acceptance at UW-Madison the first time I applied. As I talked with Madison College counselors, I realized the liberal arts transfer path was for me. While I understood there was no guarantee I’d get accepted into UW-Madison, it sure felt like my chances greatly increased.

MA: Experience at Madison College?
GB: Most of the professors cared and wanted to connect with students (me!). I’m actually still friends with a handful of the professors I had there which goes to show the type of people employed at Madison College.

I was also a student who wanted to make the most of every course I took, so I was always seeking out other students who were there to learn, grow and challenge themselves. I’d connect with them on projects outside of class.

In addition to the core classes I needed to take to get into UW-Madison, I also took classes that would help me down the path of being a journalism major and benefit me regardless of career path: writing courses. I loved the assortment of classes Madison College offered so I could take classes I truly enjoyed.

MA: Advice to others considering liberal arts transfer?
GB: If you’re just starting to out, do liberal arts transfer and figure it out along the way. The classes are challenging yet doable.

It makes sense to do liberal arts transfer especially if you know you want to go to UW. Sure, there’s no guarantee you’ll get accepted to UW but you still need to show up, do the homework and show your dedication to your schoolwork. At the minimum, you can save up to $11,000 per year and get grounded in what it takes to succeed at UW all while increasing your chances of acceptance.

MA: When did you transfer to UW?
GB: I transferred to UW in Spring 2013. I actually kept taking classes at Madison College after I was accepted and before I started because … well, why not? I was enjoying the courses, the professors, the flexibility, everything.

MA: How was the transfer process?
GB: The transfer process went smoothly from a credit standpoint because of the active and open communication between Madison College and UW. The transfer program at UW was remarkable; they made sure you had the opportunity to know other transfer students. There was a solid onboarding process and it made the transition seamless.

MA: Why did you dream to work at Hiebing?
GB: While at UW, I enjoyed writing and sharing human-interest stories and realized public relations was where I wanted to focus. So I decided to tour a handful of advertising agencies in the Madison area, which included Hiebing. Everything I had learned about them resonated with my personal values. I fell in love with the people at Hiebing and dreamed of working there.

MA: Advice for others who are considering liberal arts transfer as a pathway to employment?
GB: Know what you want even if you don’t totally know what you want. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely spent 18 years of your life learning what you like and don’t like; reflect and figure out what careers align with the things you like, then jump, decide, do it. You can always change later. What matters is that you laser in on a goal now.

Once you know what it is you want — I decided early on it would be Hiebing or bust — be proactive both in your actions to get there as well as your communications about where it is you want to go. I would never have gotten a job at Hiebing without the help of so many people including those within the agency. If the world is small, Madison is even smaller — people know people and word travels fast, but the word needs to start somewhere and that’s with you.

Learn more about Liberal Arts Transfer program or meet with a Madison College counselor to discover more about opportunities that best fit your goals.