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Transfer students face same problems as freshmen

By Erin Grills
On August 7, 2003

All new students are not 18-year-old freshmen -- some are upperclassmen. But that doesn't mean their first year at The University of Memphis will necessarily be problem free.

Making the transition from one college environment to another can be intimidating for any student. For this reason, most colleges and universities offer assistance for students planning to transfer and for those newly transplanted.

The University of Memphis offers an orientation specifically tailored for transfer students. This orientation provides an open assembly format where students and faculty can address general education and transfer questions, according to Special Events and Orientation Coordinator Nicole Cabrere-Buggs.

"We provide workshops for the students to attend during the information fair," she said. "These workshops include information about financial aid, student life, residence life, career and employment services, the honors program and many others."

During this orientation students can also meet their advisors individually, pick out their course schedule and register for classes, Cabrere-Buggs said. They can also ask questions about transfer course work from their particular school, she said.

Whether or not courses will transfer from one institution to another is a major concern for students preparing to transfer, according to Baptist School of Nursing junior Amanda Grubbs.

"I was disappointed that a lot of my credits did not transfer," Grubbs said.

Grubbs transferred from The University of Memphis to Baptist School of Nursing last fall.

Although many of her courses did not transfer, Grubbs said that her overall transfer experience was a positive one.

"Students shouldn't be afraid of transferring to another school. The transition is fairly hassle-free and allows you to experience another college environment," Grubbs said.

To ease the transition, Cabrere-Buggs suggests students get involved with campus activities after they transfer.

Students can easily assimilate into campus life after transferring by taking an active participation role in the orientation process, Cabrere-Buggs said.

"Meet new students and join some type of organization in order to get aquatinted with campus life," she said.

Many students opt to begin their college education at a community college. Southwest Tennessee Community College is a prime example of this particular option, according to recruiter Rosalyn Martin.

Southwest prepares students for their four-year college experience, Martin said. "Southwest offers university parallel programs that prepare students academically for their transfer to four-year institutions. These programs allow students to meet their academic requirements for the first two years at a four-year institution," she said.

The small class sizes give students a greater chance to learn hands on.

"Our student to instructor ratio is approximately 19-to-1. Therefore, students get more personalized attention and a greater opportunity for hands-on learning," Martin said.

In order to make the transition from such an intimate environment to a larger campus, Martin, too, suggests getting involved on campus.

"Get involved in a campus organization," Martin said. "Whether it is a social, religious or special interest organization, these groups provide a support system that the student can rely on," she said.

Martin offered some other tips for students who have recently transferred from one college or university to another.

"Talk with current students at the institution and ask them how they have adjusted to the new setting. But most importantly, students have a better college experience and a greater chance of success when they are involved on campus," Martin said.

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