As a transfer student, the hardest thing about starting at a new school is successfully integrating into the social life.
Olivia Wathne, senior communication major from Pocatello, Idaho, transferred to Westminster as a first year in Spring 2014 from the University of Denver, Colorado. Wathne said she she didn’t know many other students when she transferred and said it took a semester for her to develop a group of friends.
When she transferred to Westminster, Wathne said she didn’t know about a transfer student orientation or any other events that could give transfers more information about the school or opportunities to meet other transfer students.
“They don’t have a good program to get transfers involved in the social scene,” Wathne said.
This year, the admissions office is coordinating with student life to host a transfer student orientation on August 23 to help students transition more smoothly.
Juliet Fletcher, sophomore math and science major, is transferring to Westminster from the University of Utah and already has friends at the school. However, she said she would like to meet other transfer students who are in a similar position as her.
Wathne and Fletcher said Westminster could help transfer students by creating more events throughout the year. Wathne suggested having a transfer student club where transfers could meet with each other and talk through the stresses of finding their way in a new place.
Mary Rendon, an employee in the admissions office, said she and her colleagues have been thinking about implementing a club for transfers and hope students will help create one.
Transfer students are a relatively large population on campus. On average, about 270 transfer students join Westminster for the fall and spring semesters each year, according to Alexandra Steed, a transfer adviser in admissions.
Lindsey Hall, senior psychology major, transferred to Westminster last year from Linfied College in Oregon. She said the best way for transfer students to adjust to Westminster and get involved in the social scene is to relax and get involved early.
“Don’t be nervous,” she said. “The people here are always super welcoming, at least in my experience. Definitely try to get involved as soon as possible, because the longer you wait the more you’ll struggle to find people to hang out with.”
The three advisors whose job is to help students transition to Westminster said they are ready to help make the process as smooth as possible, and Fletcher said the transfer process, while confusing, has gone well so far.
“Its very easy to make an appointment with your adviser, which is helpful,” Fletcher said.
Although the advisers do their best to help, Rendon said there are some aspects that are always difficult. Getting transcripts from other schools, especially if the student has attended more than one institution, is among the hardest parts of the transfer process.
Despite the issues Fletcher has encountered, she said she isn’t discouraged.
“I feel like I’m all ready to start [the school year] and I’m not worried,” she said.