Transfer students was a student population that I was unfamiliar with before this past year. Then with my first practicum last year I was able to learn more about this group of students by gathering research and creating a 1 credit hour transfer seminar for K-State. With that opportunity I quickly learned that some institutions do not give enough focus or resources for transfer students, which is unfortunate since that is a growing population. This past week I was able to work directly with University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) latest transfer students through our first Transfer New Student Enrollment (TNSE) and a transfer campus visit today.
Transfer New Student Enrollment is similar to New Student Enrollment (NSE), but the main difference is that these students are not new to college, they understand course requirements, the class schedule and credit hours. However, they are learning a brand new system, a brand new institution and have additional and differing concerns that traditional first-semester freshman. These students want to know how much longer they have to get their degree, how does their credit transfer, how can they be cost effective, can they balance their work/life commitments. It is interesting to see the dynamics between the different NSE days – transfer students are ready to go, ready for a fresh start and they see the finish line.
A few days after TNSE I co-led my first campus visit for a transfer student, who also happened to be a non-traditional and veteran – not your typical student. This individual has had an unusual path to UNL, but he is excited to find his place and get his degree. What was sad, and disappointing, to hear was that his experience researching other institutions and getting information was not easy, and sometimes hostile. How can we treat different student populations differently? Yes, the needs, support and resources can be different, but at the end of the day each student deserves respect and a welcoming environment. This week I want to challenge each of you to learn something about your transfer student population and how your university supports them, and one way you can improve as a campus.