Friday, February 18, 2011

Supporting our transfers

When I started college years ago, I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist more than anything.  I went to a university with a top rated marine biology program.  Well, reality quickly set in when I realized I wouldn't just be spending all day at the beach and, being an impulsive youth, I transferred to another institution.  Luckily, I had friends there to help me navigate my new home or I might have been lost as I was not considered a freshman.  If only Corri and K.C had been around at my institution then. They could have assisted with my transfer-mation and I might not have been the recipient of so many instances of "prank the new guy" my first week.  Hmmm...maybe I should have found better friends? ;0)

If I tweeted you, “I see you’re doing a session at #nacadaR2. Cool! What’s it about?”, how would you reply via Twitter?
An innovative way 2 greet transfers 2 ur campus community. Walk away w/ training ideas 4 peer mentors along w/ fun & creative ideas 4 transfer orientation & welcome week.
Why did you decide to do a presentation on this topic?
I think transferring is becoming more and more prevalent in higher education and, oftentimes, they're in the shadow of incoming freshmen. We think that transfer students are important. They deserve their own proper transitional program to help acclimate them to the college they're attending and help ensure they're getting the information they need to be successful. We feel like we have a good program at Lynchburg College and wanted to shed a light on it.
Why do you think this is important for NACADA Region 2?
With the growing number of articulation agreements (in Virginia at least), we think it's important to increase everyone's awareness of this population. Many schools do not have a peer mentor program coupled with their transfer orientation program and that connection with a current student help build our transfer retention rates to almost 90%.
What’s the most important idea you hope attendees leave your session with?
Building relationships with your new transfer students is key to their success. I think sometimes we forget that they are new incoming students who are not familiar with campus procedures and don't have the large incoming class of peers to connect with as freshmen do. We'll be providing participants with some materials to help them begin to build those transfer student relationships.
What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
Sometimes, the annual conference is so large, you can get overwhelmed so we're excited to meet other people in our area to form relationships and see what they're doing. We hope we'll get some fresh ideas for new programs to bring back to Lynchburg College.

Session Title: Transfer-mation: a transfer orientation program that works
Day & Time: Thursday, April 7 @ 8:30 AM
Abstract: Data indicates that transfers are less successful than native students. Can a transfer orientation program give transfers what they need to transform into successfully engaged students? Lynchburg College developed a successful transfer orientation program. Since its adoption, transfer retention increased from 78% to 89%. This presentation introduces participants to steps Lynchburg College to elements of this program’s success. The presenters, including the program coordinator, a former transfer peer mentor and a present transfer peer mentor, discuss orientation mission, goals and activities, the role of peer advising in transfer orientations and data supporting program success providing time for questions and participant input. Participants will receive peer mentor job descriptions and expectations and concrete examples of successful transfer orientation activities with supporting handouts along with a bibliography of resources.

Corri Pfister is the Transfer Student Success Coordinator at Lynchburg College. She’s been an active member of the advising community for 4 years. You can reach her at

K.C. Mendez is a Graduate Assistant for Support Services and a student in the Master of Education in Educational Leadership program at Lynchburg College. He was previously a transfer student Link Leader.

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