Regardless how smooth a student’s transition is from high school to college, it is almost always terrifying. The apprehension associated with being thrown into a new environment is quelled by the fact that so many other students are engaging in the same experience. For transfer students, it is a different story. Transfer students face a new set of hardships, with scarce resources to ease the journey. The University, as well as Student Government, need to continue to find new, innovative ways to help these students feel comfortable at UT.
From 2010–2014, there have been approximately 2,500 undergraduate transfer students admitted to the University per year. They are thrown into a pool of over 50,000 students, the majority of whom had the opportunity to go through orientation, involvement fair and other University entry-level programs with other incoming freshman. Often, incoming freshmen establish their friend groups and communities within their first year of college, making it difficult for transfer students to find their niche.
The University offers certain programs, such as Longhorn Welcome Week, in order to give transfer students an opportunity to meet one another. But that isn’t enough. Transfer students should have specific resources throughout their first semesters to ask questions, meet new people and feel at home. There is currently only one organization on campus dedicated to this work, called Texas Transfer Students.
Created over the summer by and for transfer students, Texas Transfer Students aims to establish weekly social events as well as academic advising, specifically for transfer students who reach out to their organization. The group hopes to smooth the transition for these students, instead of making them fend for themselves. Unfortunately, the organization is currently self-funded, relying on a GoFundMe page to raise money.
The quickest and most useful way for the Student Government to aid transfer students, as well as represent their needs, is to grant funding to this organization. The group dedicated to helping students feel less alone shouldn’t have to be alone in the process. There are a variety of reasons a student might be transferring to UT — coming from a two-year institution, looking for a new, more pleasant experience or maybe were unable to get into UT from high school. Whatever the reason, these students are looking to be a part of a wonderful yet vast community. The University should show them that they want them here as well.
Hamze is an international relations and global studies junior from Austin. He is an associate editor. Follow him on Twitter @adamhamz.