BY CARA LEDWIDGE
As the application season is in full swing, transfer applications bring to mind the question of the transfer student experience at Manhattan College.
The majority of MC students enter the college as freshmen, but this past fall, 134 students became Jaspers by transferring from other colleges.
One in three college students nationwide will most likely transfer at one point in their college careers, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling in 2010. However, this past fall semester, only about 4 percent of students transferred to the college.
Transfers come in every semester, but why they come to MC can stem from various reasons. For some, MC is a better fit than the other college or colleges these students attended previously.
These students could have transferred to MC for a number of reasons, “including the college’s academic reputation, New York City location, personalized experiences, internship opportunities and its Lasallian Catholic tradition,” said Tiffany Corbett, assistant director of admissions and financial aid.
Unlike students who arrive in the fall as freshmen, these transfer students have to go through the college application process a second time, something many students who do not have to do might not realize.
“Having to fill out an application a second time is just as nerve-wracking as the first time,” senior and transfer student Nick Brennan said.
Brennan transferred his sophomore year because he “liked the small school atmosphere at Manhattan. I liked the people here and the fact that you can get to know everyone in the school. It makes you feel as if you are a part of something that you don’t get in a lot of other colleges.”
Transfer students to MC tend to come from the “tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut,” Corbett said. “However, students apply to the college as far as from Puerto Rico, California, and international locations.”
The admissions office is in charge of helping students acclimate to life at MC.
“We have a number of departments that work with our transfer population to ensure a seamless enrollment process, including assistant deans and academic advisors in each of Manhattan’s five colleges,” Corbett said.
These groups help transfer students maximize their credits from other institutions.
“Once the admissions office makes a decision, advisors in all five schools review student’s transfer credits to ensure that they will receive the maximum number of credits to apply to their Manhattan College degree,” Corbett said. “Once a student commits to becoming a Jasper, they have the opportunity to meet individually with their academic advisors to schedule classes for the upcoming semester.”
This part of the process may be helped by advisors, but students are sometimes frustrated by the results they receive from their advisors.
“I was very frustrated that they did not take my GPA along with my actual credits from my other college,” Brennan said. “It made me feel like I had wasted hard work on those classes, but I received nothing but credit for them.”
Social life at MC is also a concern for new transfers.
Junior Alexis Martinez said that her transfer process went well socially because she “knew a lot of people who went here, but academically it didn’t work out the way I wanted. They could not help me as much as I wanted them to with my credits.”
Martinez also said that she “had issues with my schedule. I thought that I would be able to help plan my schedule, but my advisor did it for me, which I thought was frustrating because I had planned my schedule every semester beforehand and would have liked to participate in that more.”
In regards to housing, “for those that wish to live on campus, residence life works with our transfers to place them in suites and apartments with other upperclassmen,” Corbett said. These situations work out for some students, but for others it does not, just the same way that any incoming student could have happen to them.
Seventy-five of the 134 students that transferred this past fall decided to live on campus. Similarly, 55.97 percent of transfer students live on campus as opposed to the 75 percent of freshmen who lived on campus in the fall of 2013.
Brennan shares that he did not have the best housing experience.
“They said I was living in Horan, where I applied, but they moved me in to Jasper the first day I moved in,” Brennan said. “They claimed that it was because there were more kids dorming than ever before, but I thought it was unfair because I did not have the same opportunity to my room as other students who reserved their room as a group because I was a transfer.”
An option for transfers is the orientation that is held before the semester begins.
“Orientation gives new students an opportunity to meet other incoming transfers and to better acclimate themselves to all of Manhattan’s available resources,” Corbett said.
“I had work the week of orientation and I was not able to go, so I figured they would do something for those kids who couldn’t make it,” Martinez said. “Unfortunately there was no other similar program, and so I had to go without it.”
A group that works with transfer students better acclimate is the Counseling Center by holding every “Tuesday throughout the semester… the transfer student support group to allow students to meet other transfers and to share their experiences as a transfer student on campus,” Corbett said.
The choice is up to students whether or not they want to utilize the resources available, but it is also up to the transfer services to advertise as much as they can so that students can be reminded of their options more frequently.
“We really value our transfer student population and we do our best to make sure that they have a seamless and personalized experience from the time that they inquire about Manhattan as a prospective student until after they receive a Manhattan College degree,” Corbett said.
“I think that the admissions office tries its best to help students, but I still think they could do more,” Brennan said. “I hope they can do more for future students so that they can have the best time at Manhattan as they can.”