When you decide to transfer to a new university, there are several things to worry about. What if your credits don’t transfer? What if you find it hard to adjust and make new friends? Will there be campus support? Transfer students face unique challenges that may not cross the mind of students on the traditional academic track. Luckily, students who transfer from a Missouri Community College to a University of Missouri System (UM System) school do not need to worry as much about these issues, thanks to a new systemwide initiative to promote transfer student success.
At MU, one program that has helped transfer students adjust at MU is the Transfer Experience and Advising Mentors (TEAM) program. TEAM pairs new transfer students with one-on-one mentors and weekly group sessions to help them develop academically, personally and professionally throughout the semester. TEAM participants are retained at the University at a 94% rate with an average two-term GPA of 3.15, compared to non-TEAM members at 76% with below a 3.0 GPA.
All UM System universities are establishing new programs and procedures to advance transfer student success. Expanding transfer student services and providing special transfer student advisors and coordinators are some of the main approaches.
“My main focus and goal is to assist transfer students with a smooth transition to UMKC. On average, 46% of the incoming class of students is transfer students here at UMKC,” Logan Bobb, Transfer Student Coordinator at UMKC said. “I have been working on [programs like] the UMKC Admissions “Transfer Workshop” which will allow students the opportunity to come to UMKC’s campus, apply that day, and be admitted on the spot for the majority of our programs/majors while also tackling things such as financial aid, degree audits, and scheduling academic advising.”
In addition to the Transfer Workshop, UMKC is also offering Community College Advisor days at which advisors from Missouri community colleges visit the university and learn about its programs, transfer requirements, scholarships and other student services. Missouri S&T is also improving student outreach through its Transfer Assistance program by decreasing application processing time, expanding scholarship availability and decreasing the time it takes to receive financial aid awards. UMSL is also prioritizing the needs of transfer students.
“The most important change that UMSL has made to improve transfer student success is to dedicate a transfer team to help students transition at every step of the way,” Sue Bateman, Transfer Student Advisor said. “Our Transfer Specialists regularly hold office hours on area college campuses and advise on how best to transfer to UMSL. We do pre-evaluations of credit and provide major-specific transfer guides so that students know how their courses will transfer to UMSL and what they’ll need to complete their bachelor’s degree once here.”
These programs are just the beginning of major steps that the UM System has taken to support students looking to transfer without being slowed down. With these new programs and articulation agreements, the UM System hopes to become the destination for Missouri community college graduates.