The Daily Illini

Editorial: Transfer University attention to transfer students

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Entering college is hard enough. But doing it twice — or even more times — at different schools, and the transition can become even more complicated.

For some, the move to campus comes with little struggle. High school friends, clubs, organizations and the opportunities to join a community on campus are endless (just look at Quad Day).

But for many, transferring to the University sadly isn’t easy at all.

While there are some transfer advisory groups on campus, the University’s efforts both inside and outside of the classroom can, and should, be largely expanded beyond what currently exists.

From the fall of 2010 to the spring of 2015, approximately 8,423 students have transferred to the University.ss The numbers may be minimal when compared to the influx of freshmen each year. But the issues that transfer students face need to be addressed by the University as they are unique in their own right.

Each one of those 8,423 students is a member of the Illinois student body the moment they enroll.

Transfers can struggle to work their way into their own graduating class. For many, credits are lost during the transition, which can put them a semester or two behind their peers. The drive to graduate on time and with their own peers, whom they had just graduated high school with, causes many to overload courses or take summer and winter classes.

Many students, especially those who attend community college, choose to transfer from another school to save money, and as such either don’t or can’t afford to graduate later. Often times, students may try to plan out their course plans and requirements beforehand to avoid such an impossible situation.

When they do, they are faced with spending hours learning department, college and major requirements with virtually no help from their originating college except for an inadequate and overly complicated course equivalency website.

And while some transfer students oppositely reach graduation without a hitch, the journey to the stage isn’t a simple one.

The issues go beyond the classroom though.

The assimilation isn’t easy. Some transfers have already lived in a dorm at other universities and for others, it’s their first time. There are great transfer-based housing options like the Transfer Cluster in Scott Hall, but the reintroduction into their graduating class is something that many find difficult in both social and housing situations as it may seem harder to break into pre-formed social groups.

“Transfer student” isn’t a label commonly used on campus, which we applaud because it’s an unnecessary generalization. But efforts to reintroduce and assist transfer students need to be made readily available.

We’re not proposing a completely separate Welcome Week for transfer students to allow them to meet others. But whether it be through mentors, retreats or particular courses, the University’s efforts need to be made clear and impactful enough for students to assimilate into their graduating class.

Schools such as the University are great at creating an admissions process for transfer students that is simple, easy and quick. But each one of those 8,423 students has a different set of interests. They are a different asset to the Illinois campus compared to othersand their introduction to campus should be made as simple as possible.

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