For the first time, National Transfer Student Week will be observed Oct. 21 through Oct. 25 at Iowa State. Organized by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, the week celebrates the students on campus who have transferred from other institutions.
There are many reasons students decide to transfer from one college to another. For Dominic Keeper, senior in graphic design, the decision to transfer to Iowa State from Iowa Lakes Community College will help him with his degree change.
“I have a degree in game development,” Keeper said. “I kind of got that, looked into the market, and there wasn’t too much for [it]. I wanted to do something more [...] I decided design would be something I would want to go into, and Iowa State was one of the best design colleges for that.”
When a student transfers to Iowa State, one of the biggest undertakings in the transferring process is making sure a student’s credits will transfer from their first institution to to the next.
For some students, the transfer process is simple and completed with ease. This was the case for students like Annah Eden, a sophomore in elementary education.
“I thought transferring here was super easy,” Eden said. “I was only at UNI [University of Northern Iowa] for one semester, but all of my classes transferred over and they made it really easy.”
For other students like Matthew Kreul, senior in aerospace engineering, the process was a little more difficult. Coming from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, Kreul said he had a harder time coming from a farther distance.
No matter the situation, though, Iowa State faculty and staff are committed to assisting students’ transfer process and making their experience as positive as possible.
Katy Heineman, assistant director for transfer recruitment and program coordinator in the admissions department, is in charge of the transfer admission counseling team. In this role, she offers resources and information to transfer students like Keeper regarding their transition to Iowa State.
Things can get complicated when transferring from one college to another.
“Sometimes we see students who have taken college coursework that doesn’t end up transferring because they didn’t plan in advance,” Heineman said. “They kind of took classes randomly and didn’t really check in with us before.”
Iowa State has many resources to prevent difficult situations in the transfer process. It is up to the students themselves to take advantage of them.
One of these resources is called the Admissions Partnership Program. Students who use this can work with an Iowa State academic adviser before transferring to ensure they are taking the correct classes.
“As soon as they start at their community college is when we want them to be in contact with us,” Heineman said. “Planning ahead is the biggest piece of advice that we have for transfer students.”
In a similar position as Heineman, Dan Rice is the transfer relations coordinator outreach adviser and program coordinator for Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Academic Services. His role is to recruit students to transfer to Iowa State as well as help them with transitioning.
“I work a lot with the Iowa community colleges,” Rice said. “[My job focuses on] how a student transfers from [a] community college to Iowa State University and how to make it as seamless as possible academically.”
Students planning to transfer or currently in the process of transferring to Iowa State can utilize the Admission Partnership Program to help make the process easier.
The purpose of the Admission Partnership Program is to help students while they are at community college by enabling transfer students to work with Iowa State academic advisers to map out their coursework and ensuring it will transfer correctly once enrolled here. Students will then have fulfilled the credits necessary before becoming a Cyclone, making their transition a lot smoother.
“If [students] are from the area, they can actually pay the student fee and come and use the gym, get cheaper basketball tickets or whatever,” Rice said. “They become an Iowa State student [in] all but classes, essentially.”
Rice said it might be challenging to assure transfer students are completing the correct coursework, but he said it is not the biggest struggle he sees with transfer students and the transfer process.
“Academics we can take care of […],” Rice said. “I think transfer students have a lot harder time plugging into the other things that Iowa State has to offer because they are here for a much shorter time. Jumping in to get the benefits of the out-of-class experiences is sometimes a bigger challenge for transfer students because they don’t have as much time here.”
In his first week at Iowa State, Keeper said he was able to meet many other transfer students thanks to the efforts of the college.
“The first year I was here, I went to [Destination Iowa State],” Keeper said. “They actually put us with other transfer students when I did that, so I met a lot of transfer students my first year.”
Despite being primarily for freshmen, Destination Iowa State is also an opportunity for transfer students to meet each other, as it is their first semester at Iowa State as well.
Destination Iowa State is just one way transfer students can get involved with Iowa State early on. All students are encouraged to join the many clubs and organizations found around campus.
While there are many different clubs offered, Kelly Friesleben, the associate registrar of transfer pathways and student success, points out that of the 900+ clubs at Iowa State, there is no student-led organization for transfer students.
“If students created something to celebrate other students, I think that would be more meaningful,” Friesleben said.
A club or organization designed to connect transfer students would potentially benefit the more than 20% of Iowa State students that transfer from other colleges.
“Getting connected can be a little difficult,” Kreul said. “Especially if you’re a little bit older than most of the other students. If you’re a transfer student like me, I had to retake some of the entry level classes, so everyone is much younger than me.”
Friesleben said she works closely with transfer students to help guide them to a successful experience here at Iowa State and was one of the organizers for the National Transfer Student Week celebration.
Friesleben said National Transfer Student Week is a way to recognize and celebrate Iowa State’s transfer students.
After attending conferences of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, Friesleben said she wanted to honor transfer students at Iowa State in bigger way than what has been done in the past.
On behalf of all staff that work with transfer students to help them throughout the process, Friesleben said she emphasizes the staff’s commitment to make the transition for transfer students smooth and successful.