Appalachia State University
October 21 through 25 marks National Transfer Students Week, designed to celebrate college transfer students and those who help them on their journey. According to the New York Times, transfer students make up 38 percent of all students in higher education.
Students have various reasons for transferring, including but not limited to: changes in their academic needs, changes in their life situations, or just a lack of happiness at their current school. In order to gain an understanding of what it’s like to undergo this process, two transfer students at Pace, Alexis Penn and Cynthia Cherian, discuss their experiences as transfer students.
Penn is a Communications major who is three credits away from being a junior; she transferred to Pace after getting her Associates Degree from Rockland Community College. So far, she’s enjoying her first semester here. She is now part of Pace’s Model UN club and hopes to join more clubs, such as the Black Student Union.
In terms of her journey to Pace, a friend of hers that already went here inspired her to apply. She liked that it was close to home, the scholarship and financial aid opportunities offered, the campus, and the diverse environment, something that, as an African American female, is important to her.
Thanks to the Common App, she felt she was able to navigate the process without many difficulties. She also benefited from the help of former Pace employee Melanie Martinez, who visited RCC last year and answered Penn’s questions regarding the school itself and her financial aid options.
Cherian, a senior on the pre-OT track, transferred to Pace from Nassau Community College. She chose Pace because she liked what it had a lot to offer her on her journey towards becoming an occupational therapist and admired its dedication towards student success. She cites obtaining old syllabi to see which classes from Nassau could be transferred to Pace as her biggest difficulty, but her advisor, Anne Marie McGlynn, helped make this and other parts of the process easier.
It is common for transfer students to face insecurities from entering a new social setting where everyone else has already established themselves, frustration when not all their classes from their old school are transferable, uncertainty about their decision. Transferring schools definitely comes with its struggles. However, Penn and Cherian are pleased with the choice they made and optimistic about their futures here.
“I definitely think the switch was worth it,” Penn said. “I am very happy with my decision to choose Pace.”
Despite its difficulties, transferring can be beneficial for both the students themselves and the institutions they transfer to. Students can open themselves to a new set of opportunities and reorganize their paths to success, and they offer colleges an abundance of new prospective students that can add to the school’s environment in positive ways. Since the prevalence of transfer students has increased in recent years, schools are becoming more aware of the needs of transfer students and are gradually adapting to meet these needs.
“I know starting somewhere new can be intimidating,” Cherian said, “but just remind yourself why you are here; fighting hard for your dreams and career goals, it’s all going to be worth it.”