Today: Jun 25, 2024

Transfer students from CSCU campuses express experience

Guillermo Hernandez – Contributor

Transferring from a community college to a university can be a scary process, as Katie Schulte, a junior who transferred from Housatonic Community College, learned during her first semester at the university.    

“I was so used to going to small classes with fewer students and professors who actually knew you by name,” said Schulte.  

She was transferring from a familiar atmosphere to a whole new world with a fresh perspective, unfamiliar with the people, the staff, the faculty, and more. 

Starting this week, the university will be celebrating Transfer Student Appreciation Week, a national celebration to bring awareness to campuses around the country about the challenges transfer students face.  

The life of a college student would usually be defined by a four-year doming experience at a university. However, people usually forget about transfers, who have an experience different from the normal route.  

Southern has a Transfer Admissions and Services department that is a recent addition to the university.  

“Transfer Admissions and Services is about two years old,” said Carla Flynn, the director of transfer admissions. “We are the only office or department in the CT state and university system that has a stand-alone office.”  

Flynn said Southern realized the importance of transfer students and how they needed to support them. After all, transfer students bring so much life and scholastic experience to their classmates. “I think it’s really amazing,” Flynn said.  

Transfer students make up about 40% of an upcoming class every year at Southern. In 2023’s class, the percentage of incoming transfer students increased to about 44%, according to Flynn. 

As of Sept. 5, 2023, the number of incoming transfer enrollment students is 1,062, which includes the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters combined, Flynn said.  

In 2020, Inside Higher Ed did a survey on “Student opinions on Transfer Credits”, having surveyed roughly 1,000 students.  

According to Inside Higher Ed, “Students who were able to transfer all of their credits listed academic advising, their current college’s website and faculty members as some of the most helpful resources in their process.” 

Sanjay Sutherland is a computer science major and a transfer student from Gateway Community College who arrived as a sophomore. He also works at the Orientation, Transition, and Family Engagement department, helping transfer students feel at home in Southern.  

“When I was a transfer, I skipped Transformation or speaking to my TSA . I missed out on a lot of stuff that I had no idea I was missing out on,” Sutherland said.  

“My transition from Gateway was very self-imposed. It was a smooth process, but it took me to do it. I had to figure it out on my own; I was very independent,” Sutherland said.  

“Gateway and Southern are supposed to be in a partnership; I was shocked I lost enough credits to set me back a semester,” Sutherland said. 

The Orientation, Transition, and Family Engagement office offers students “Munch and Mingle”, once or twice a month. At this event, transfer students get together for brunch and chat to help build a sense of community in Southern. 

As a transfer student assistant, Sutherland said he wanted students at Southern to feel as comfortable as possible. He said if students are not comfortable somewhere, they will not reach their full potential.  

Katie Schulte has been at Southern for over a year; it is her third semester at Southern as an elementary education major. Schulte said that her adjustment to Southern at first was a real challenge for her.  

She did not feel connected to her professors as she used to, but that did not change her Southern experience.  

Although she does not work at the Orientation, Transition, and Family Engagement office, Schulte says she wants to be a person who helps fellow transfer students find their place at Southern. 

 “I can help them adjust; I think it would be nice to have somebody to adjust with,” Schulte said. 

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