Navigating the Process

Admissions Director Communicates Advocacy for Transfer Students

SNHU-AdmissionMost four-year colleges and universities are seeing more students transferring from community colleges, says Bethany Perkins, director of transfer admissions at Southern New Hampshire University. Estimations include up to 75 percent of a campus population has been to at least two schools. Perkins has worked almost three years with transfer students.

“The downswing in the economy, starting around the fall of 2008 saw more students making the choices to have an affordable first couple of years. We have seen the transfer population as an opportunity. Initially transfer admissions were in the admissions office. In less than a year and a half later, we have our own office. There has been 40 percent growth in transfers coming to SNHU. It’s not just offering more scholarships, but an improvement to the process. We understand they are not traditional high school students. We have streamlined the process. We will request their transcripts for them; we will help buoy their time and effort. We have been working internally to help faculty and staff understand what transfer students bring in.”

Perkins says transfer students want to understand what time commitment they must make until graduation and what will the final semesters cost. “They also want to understand if they can take online classes as well as traditional classroom courses. Transfer students still need the one-credit introductory class, but they are not lumped in with first-year students. “Transfer students can do college. They know how to manage. They want to understand what they need to do for the next one to three years.”

Possible internships are also a significant part of conversations with transfer students. “They are starting to seek out opportunities more diligently. I hear from students that they needed a different academic program; they needed an internship and field experience. We can help with that. The hospitality management program requires 500 hours of experiential learning in a hospitality or tourism business, with a minimum of 100 hours in guest/customer contact services. A psychology major wanted an internship. During her first year here, she has done two including working at a mental health facility.”

Perkins says transfer students need to work backward. “First think about what institution name you want on your diploma. Start there first. If an admissions counselor is good, he or she should be willing to share all the routes necessary to graduate. They can point you in the best direction. When I speak to a student who already has two or three years of community college, I want to help them maximize their money. I want students to expect a lot of their admissions counselors. In four-year institutions, there are those of us who will reward students for hard work, for being honors students and more.”

Apply early and plan ahead, she says. “Transfer students get so busy. They may have families and spouses. There may be jobs pulling away time for students. Do your shopping two years ahead if you start at a community college. Look at what scholarships are available for transfer students. Check on the programs of interest. Apply to more than two schools. Look at more options. I recommend three or four schools and perhaps a private institution in the mix. It can be hard because transfer students are more protective of their time. When you go through the admissions process, make sure your FAFSA is turned in and see what merit you can get.”

Perkins offers these words of wisdom – be an advocate and seek out an advocate. “We know it can be a pain to transfer. I am most proud of students who come in and connect. As an admissions advisor, I want to help make people’s lives easier. For the most part, we deliver in helping people find financial aid, housing and their academic advisor.”

The majors drawing in the most transfer students include nursing and education. “With the articulation agreements with the community college, students are transferring with their RN and want a BSN. Business and accounting are popular as are game design and graphic design,” Perkins says.

Perkins says administrators and others have helped increase scholarship offerings at SNHU. “We are getting more competitive with financial support and understand funding can help with retention.”

“I understand when students flounder. They want someone to help them find the right path so they can see success. I know they need 25 minutes of my time and I can give it. I like seeing how diligent transfer students are, finding someone at SNHU to guide them and seeing them graduate.”

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