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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Increase in transfer students should convince colleges to simplify process

    Today’s educators need to recognize that simplifying college transfers is not only necessary but a win-win.

    One-third of all college students switch institutions at least once before graduating, according to a 2012 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report.

    Not everyone can start and finish in a straight path. Instead of hindering students’ academic journeys, college administrators need to support these transitioning students by supporting their decisions. Instead of being forced through an arduous and stressful process, students should be able to transfer institutions when they feel the need to.

    “The transfer process is insanely tedious,” said Rachael Sacks, a geology freshman who has applied to transfer to four-year universities such as New York University and University of Southern California. “Applications are more thorough than first year applicants; there’s no one to help you like in high school.”

    High school seniors traditionally research and select one college that they will spend four years at and graduate from, but times are changing rapidly. Now students are reverse transferring from four-year institutions to community college and even transferring in graduate school. Colleges haven’t adapted to these new student needs.

    “Most colleges direct their student-success programs toward first-year students,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. But first-year students aren’t the only new pupils on campus— the report shows most students who transfer do so their second year, and these transfer students are getting lost in the crowd.

    “I chose Pima (Community College) because I was unsure what I wanted to do forever and it was cheaper,” said Norman Reitmeyer, an emergency medical technician sophomore. “The counselors at Pima are very nice but they don’t offer much more advice than what you find out on the website. No personal-level help at all really.”

    Many students start at community colleges because they feel they’re not ready to commit, or because of financial constraints. Community colleges don’t have enough counselors on staff, so they can’t offer students the guidance they seek on a more personal level. But students continue to transfer from universities to community colleges because the cost of tuition is only going to rise.

    “I would transfer because of money,” said Taylor Cluster, an education freshman. “I love it here but it’s way too expensive, for out of state students at least.”

    Attending multiple universities before earning a degree is perfectly normal. Students do switch their majors, or that they find that a school just isn’t the right fit for them. Even if they feel the need to, sometimes they don’t because the process is such a pain.

    “My reason for transferring would be to pursue a new major for a new found career goal,” said Elena Prakelt, a pre-nursing junior. “Yes, I have thought about switching majors. Coming in as freshman, you can never be 100 percent confident that you will stick to the same path your major provides for four years. College provides a variety of experiences and each one can change your future pursuits.”

    According to NSCRC, “among students who transfer from four-year public institutions, more than half (51.9 percent)” choose to attend community college. Some students are choosing to attend community college after having a taste of a four-year university. If a student is attending a university but is an undecided major for a certain period of time, they might choose to attend a community college rather than waste their parents’ money on tuition.

    Whatever the reason, it’s unrealistic for college administrators to assume that students will stay in one school and graduate in four years. Recognizing that students will come from all different paths is the first step. Making the transfer process easier for students will only help motivate them to do better academically.

    — Cheryl Gamachi is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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