Every Thursday at 2 p.m. throughout this fall semester, the University of Utah sets aside their Sterling Sill Center building for Salt Lake Community College students to visit and meet the U.’s Transfer Student Success office.
The event’s goal is to provide SLCC students with the opportunity to learn more about the transfer process. Emily Hernandez Alzamora, a graduate from SLCC, spearheads the weekly event, which acts as a brunch and is thus fittingly known as “Eats with Emily.” The U.’s Transfer Student Success department works in tandem with SLCC’s transfer office to make the brunch possible.
Hernandez Alzamora’s number-one tip for students aiming to avoid transfer shock is to explore transfer processes as soon as possible. “Start [investigating] as early as you can,” she said. “I started almost a year in advance of [my graduation].”
Hernandez Alzamora said that, by establishing connections early, transfer students are able to be placed in classes that better suit their prior curriculum and knowledge. Placement is a primary concern, but Hernandez Alzamora and Paul Fisk, director of the U.’s Transfer Student Success office, said their focus is still more about advocating for students.
Working with transfer students puts the U.’s Transfer Student Success office in contact with many non-traditional students, like parents and individuals who had taken leave from collegiate education. Because of this, Fisk encourages vocal outreach to quell the intimidation or stigmatization that non-traditional students may feel.
“I always ask [current] students to provide advice for transfer students,” Fisk said. “And I hope that if someone looks at that … its empowering to see so many people with different life experiences, [to] see where they’ve found a home.”
A principal objective for the U.’s Transfer Student Success office is to compile data on the needs of incoming transfer students, allowing the university to better understand students’ expectations of their institution. Using surveys, the transfer office was able to identify undergraduate research as a target for improved transfer student accessibility and showing how these students very often have high retention rates and high grade-point averages.
“We look at the data and not [at] people’s preconceived ideas about [transfer] students,” Fisk said. He added that the biggest pitfall for incoming transfer students may be a lack of knowledge of the resources available to them.