Whether changing schools internationally, from across the country, within the same state, or even within the same university, the experience of a college transfer student comes with an added layer of challenges. It requires learning the ropes all over again—from what classes to take; what resources are available; becoming accustomed to campus layout; connecting with new friends and classmates. National Transfer Student Week is celebrated the third week in October and provides the opportunity to highlight transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journeys. We’ve asked Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) transfer students and their advisor to share their experiences. Read the EOF student stories here.
Edrice Robinson-Wyatt is senior counselor at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences EOF Program. She is the primary contact for transfer students that may be eligible for the EOF. “My role is to maintain a connection with each student, answering questions about financial aid resources, academic support and wellness, connecting with academic advisors, and getting involved on campus,” said Robinson-Wyatt. “As a transfer student advisor, I hope to provide a supportive, consistent, and safe space for students where they can become comfortable within Rutgers as the transition into the SEBS community.”
What are some of the common challenges faced by the transfer students? “One of the greatest challenges our students face is navigating the systems within Rutgers. We have so much to offer, in so many places, which can be overwhelming at times. I have noticed that they become frustrated when their questions or concerns are not answered as quickly as they would like. Also, our students are challenged with understanding the rigor of Rutgers’ courses. When they are used to taking 3-4 science classes and they try that their first semester here, the transfer students find themselves in high stress situations. For students coming from other Rutgers schools, their biggest challenge is getting connected to SEBS and our programs; just learning where they are comfortable as they transition into the school.”
Your office serves as advocate for typically underrepresented or underserved groups of students, what are some of the tools that you feel help in the students’ transition to SEBS? As a team, SEBS EOF works to create multiple, intentional spaces within our program to keep our students engaged. We value the connections we create with our students, as each of us are first-generation college students from diverse backgrounds. Through clubs, workshops, one-on-one monthly counseling visits and the mandatory transfer student seminar in the fall semester, incoming transfer students have several touch points within our program. Transfer students can connect with other students who have similar backgrounds and experiences which helps them feel more at home sooner than most.