Transfer Transition Program: Providing innovative ways to serve transfer students

January 24, 2012

Hundreds of students transfer to UW–Madison in the  spring semester, and thousands more do it in the fall.

Last week, more than 400 transfer students were welcomed to campus during Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR), which is led by the Center for the First-Year Experience (CFYE) at UW–Madison.

These new students are adjusting to a new campus, new friends, and a new home. This transition can be difficult, but CFYE and the Transfer Transition Program are committed to help integrate transfer students into the campus community and their new life in Madison.

“Transfer students are experienced college students already, but they are new to UW–Madison,” explains Annette McDaniel, director of the Transfer Transition Program. “Navigating the transition to a new university can be challenging, especially in January when the weather forces people indoors and we have fewer welcoming activities taking place across campus.”

Comprising nearly a quarter of our undergraduate student body, transfer students serve in countless campus and community organizations and academic arenas. The Transfer Transition Program recognizes the diverse experiences each transfer student brings to campus. Students come to campus from a wide variety of institutions.

Transfer students don’t wear nametags and they seldom self-disclose their new student status, therefore the Transfer Transition Program provides innovative ways to better serve this group of students.

Recent and continuing transfer student initiatives include:

It’s quite likely that UW–Madison staff and faculty will cross paths with new transfer students. The Transfer Transition Program offers some suggestions on how faculty and staff can help transfer students adjust to changes they are experiencing and get connected to campus. They include:

  • Feel comfortable asking your class if anyone is new to campus, providing an opportunity for students to self-identify as transfer students.
  • Don’t assume all of your students are familiar with UW–Madison resources, systems, and acronyms (e.g. Learn@UW, Libraries, GUTS, DARS).
  • Ask transfer students about their previous campus experience. Don’t assume all students completed course prerequisites at UW–Madison.
  • Encourage new students to participate in Wisconsin Welcome activities, which can be found here.
  • Familiarize yourself with transfer student resources and make appropriate referrals as needed.
  • Remind students to join CFYE on Facebook and Twitter to get new student resources online.