other students transfer from one four-year program to another.
often, students choose these types of transfers to pursue a particular course or major, to take advantage of an institution’s location or reputation, or because their starting institution was not a
Overcoming the challenges
While transferring to a different institution may be a necessary
or welcome change, it does not mean that either the process or
the experience is easy. according to the 2009 national survey
of student engagement, transfer students are more likely to feel
marginalized and isolated than non-transfer students. they are
less likely to report strong relationships with their faculty and
classmates, feel satisfied with their college, and participate in
such high-impact experiences as internships, capstone projects,
and research with faculty.
Be prepared to deal with feeling isolated as a transfer student.
you will face the same challenges that all first-year students
encounter — adjusting to a new campus, a new culture, and
new financial aid. the courses will be more challenging and
you’ll be taking them alongside students who have known
Making Transfer Students Welcome
Increasingly, colleges are trying to address the challenges faced by transfer students. Some colleges offer academic advisors specifically to assist transfer students. Others, like Miami
University of Ohio, Minnesota State University at Mankato,
and the University of California at Santa Barbara, offer
“transfer success” courses that provide continuous orientation to
transfer students over the course of the term. Still other institutions, such as the State University of New York College at
Oswego and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, offer peer-mentoring programs for new upperclassmen.
Students themselves can help their transferring classmates. If
you see a new face in your chemistry class, be sure to introduce
yourself. Offering to show transferring students around campus,
inviting them to study groups and social events, and offering
advice on courses are all ways to make transferring students
A welcoming atmosphere can make all the difference. For
example, McBride has nothing but praise for how his institution
supported him: “The University of Arkansas did everything
they could,” he says, “to make me feel welcome during the
application process and after.”
How acS Student chapters can
Help Transferring Students
ACS student chapters can play a key role in helping trans- fer students acclimate. ACS student chapters provide an
instant network of people with at least one common interest
(i.e., chemistry). Additionally, recruiting transfer students is a
smart and mutually beneficial way to boost membership. Here
are some things ACS student chapters can do:
•;Host a “Welcome to Our College” event at the beginning of the year. Target upper-level classes, in addition to
•;Have regular study sessions. Share notes, old exams, and
insights about different professors.
•;Visit local two-year colleges and other institutions that
students might transfer from. Share information about
your chemistry program and your chapter’s activities.
•;Partner with student chapters at two-year colleges and
other transferring institutions. If they do not have an ACS
student chapter, help them get one started.
•;Make time to reach out to the new faces in your chemistry classes.
Transfer students are often trying to find a balance between
academics and social activities. Chapter members are in a
great position to help students find that balance.
each other for a while and have already made connections.
Vetterly found living on campus helped with the adjustment.
“i hate to use the phrase,” she says, “but i feel like i’m getting
more of the ‘full college experience.’” Getting involved in
study groups and campus organizations (like an acs student
chapter) can help transferring students make new friends and
assimilate more easily.
of course, living on campus can be an adjustment in itself.
ethan McBride, who recently transferred to the University of Arkansas at
Fayetteville, had to get used to using
public transportation, eating primarily
on campus, and attending social events,
none of which he had done as a commuter student prior to his transfer.
courtesy of ethan McBride