Transfer Students Adjust to UA Life
Transfer students continue to adjust tat the UA.
“Overall it’s been a pretty easy transition. Easy makes it sound like there was no struggle, but it wasn’t [like that]. There was a lot of work put into the paperwork and moving here and getting adjusted,” said Kendra Buchele, junior journalism and English major who graduated from Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.
Buchele said she wanted to come to the UA because of the high academic standard and closeness to home. However, she said she still has mixed feelings.
“It’s different because I came from a small campus and now there’s thousands,” Buchele said. “I love how alive the campus is. There’s always something to do, but I miss my old school. I miss knowing everyone.”
Admissions accepts all transfer students who meet enrollment criteria. The transfer population has grown over the last three years, but this is expected to be a flat year where transfer student enrollment neither decreases nor increases, said Suzanne McCray, vice provost for enrollment.
Official enrollment numbers for this year have not been finalized.
“We have been doing a lot to make transfer students feel welcome, and we are eager for them to make the University of Arkansas their graduating home,” McCray said.
Many transfer students find the events on campus helpful for making friends.
“It’s been easy to make friends,” Buchele said. “It’s easy to branch out because there are so many events and programs that encourage it. Everyone has been so receptive.”
She said Friday Night Live and Welcome Week events as being especially helpful in getting her involved with on-campus organizations.
For transfer students wanting to get involved and connected to campus and other transfer students, the registered student organization Student Transfers Advocating New Development assists, encourages and supports transfers through current students. It was created last year by Ashyle Horton, a UA transfer student who came to the university in 2011.
Another resource to help transfer students is the office of transfer central, which was created to ensure a smooth transition to the UA.
“I communicate with transfers via email, phone, on-campus visits and off-campus fairs and events. I work directly with transfer students, their parents, college transfer advisors and individuals who assist transfer students,” said Tony Myers, associate director of admissions for the transfer central office.
In addition, Myers answers questions about how courses taken at other colleges will transfer to the UA, explains policies and practices regarding transfer credit, explains the course equivalency guide website and connects transfers with other individuals and departments that would be beneficial to them during the transfer process.
Myers is also involved in transfer student orientation. The transfer orientation is uniquely geared toward the needs of transfer students, but presents nearly identical information to new student orientation, Myers said. The biggest difference is that new student orientation is a twoday event that includes advising at the beginning of the summer, while transfer student orientation is a one -day event in August.
“I wish orientation had been much earlier. It would have been a lot less stressful to know how to navigate campus and how to sign up for classes before the end of the summer,” Buchele said.
Transfer students are advised separately on campus, or by phone, email or Skype because of the diversity and flexibility new students require, Myers said. However, some students said they still feel that the advising stage did not adequately prepare them for registering for classes.
“I wanted more direction during the advising stage,” Buchele said. “I had no idea that I had to sign up by myself online for my classes. I wanted someone to sit down and make a two-year plan with me. I thought someone was going to do it with me, but I was just told how to do it. I was just kind of sent on my way. I wish I had been given more guidance.”
There are five transfer scholarships sponsored through the UA that the financial aid office encourages students to apply for. Most are renewable for an additional year, McCray said.
Two of the five are only available to students who have attended an Arkansas two -year school. The Phi Theta Kappa scholarship was added this year and is available to transfer students who can provide proof of membership to the international honor society of two year colleges at their previous school.
“There were some transfer scholarships, but it seemed a lot of scholarships were geared toward freshmen, Buchele said. With the options of more scholarships or financial aid it would increase the number of students wanting to come.”