National Transfer Student Week—every third week in October—celebrates transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journeys. Join us in recognizing those who have made this journey.
Carol Andrew, an assistant dean, has been with the SEBS Office of Academic Programs (OAP) for 15 years. She is a general advisor for all SEBS students. In addition to general advising, her focus is on transfer students. Andrew also makes outreach to the New Jersey Community Colleges to educate the staff and students about preparing for programs at Rutgers. SEBS holds an Advisors Open House annually, and the 2020 Open House is scheduled to be held on November 13.
Assistant Dean Andrew sat down with SEBS/NJAES Newsroom to shed some light on the transfer student experience at SEBS as we observe National Transfer Student Week, October 19-23.
Q. How long have you been responsible for SEBS Open Houses for transfers and how effective are they as a recruitment tool?
A. I have represented our office at open houses for both first year and transfer students. They are an important tool in educating prospective students and their families about SEBS, our majors and programs. We are a small school within a large research institution. The Open House allows us to feature faculty, staff, continuing students and our programs. Students will begin to see how unique SEBS is and what they need to do to prepare for a transfer.
Q. How have hosting events like an Open House changed with the pandemic?
A. Everything was moved online. In some ways it has personalized the experience as we have more ability to meet more often and with smaller groups.
Q. What are the challenges or limitations with this move?
A. Not being able to truly show off our campus. Although we have virtual tours, which are amazing, there is nothing like walking around Cook Campus and visiting all the campuses, the downtown New Brunswick area and getting a feel for Rutgers and the New Brunswick community.
Q. Have there been unforeseen opportunities?
A. I think the ability to offer more occasions to meet virtually has personalized it for many prospective students and their families. I’ve gotten some great feedback. They can’t always get to campus or they want more information and we can ‘sit down’ online and have a great conversation. I think the pandemic will change the face of how we recruit, advise and meet with students forever. We will someday soon, I hope, be able to have both virtual AND in-person events and appointments and serve many more students in a way that is most comfortable for them.
Q. What are some of the common challenges faced by the transfer students you interact with, whether they are transferring from another institution or simply transferring within schools at Rutgers?
A. There is a term among higher education transfer professionals called ‘transfer shock.’ It’s the experience many students have regardless of where they transfer ‘from’ or ‘to.’ Adjusting to the culture of a whole new institution can be overwhelming. We do all we can to help ease the transition. Open houses and visits help and we encourage all students to learn about their new school. Once enrolled, SEBS transfer students are offered many resources online and in-person, including attendance at a Student Transfer Advising & Registration Day (STAR Day) previously called an APA Day.
Q. What takes place at a STAR Day?
A. At this event, transfer students meet with the OAP staff responsible for the transcript evaluation and course registration. They learn academic policies and procedures. They are introduced to online tools and taught how to use them. The students have been given access to all this information previously through the myRutgers Dashboard and a multitude of email communication. At our STAR Day, the transfer students also meet in small groups and individually with the advisor for their chosen major. We encourage students to attend well before the semester begins in order to allow them time to adjust and meet with staff and faculty as questions arise after the STAR Day.
Q. In your role as student advocate, what are some of the vital tips you can offer students considering a transfer to Rutgers?
A. Students should not wait to go for advising. The New Jersey Community Colleges (NJCC) have excellent advisors who are prepared to work with students planning to transfer to Rutgers. I also visit NJCC and offer SEBS Information sessions throughout the year. Students who are not attending a community college and are considering transferring should contact our office to discuss our programs and prepare for the transfer. Completing the right courses that are prerequisites not only ensure that a student can move more quickly through the curriculum and graduate in a reasonable amount of time, but also safeguards against surprises, and therefore avoiding academic transfer shock. We want the student to be as prepared as possible and planning ahead is the best way to ensure that can happen. There is also a wonderful tool online called njtransfer.org that students from NJCCs may access to review what courses will transfer and how they will transfer to a specific program. I email with and meet with prospective students on a regular basis whether coming from a two-year or a four-year school.