Transfer Admissions & Advising Committee

Bridging the knowledge gap between two and four year schools

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Transfer Trailblazers in Higher Ed | University Business Magazine

Take a look at this great article which offers suggestions on how to take articulation agreements between two- and four-year institutions to the next level, and how to work together to improve transfer success.  What is your institution doing to enhance articulation agreements? Comment below to share those best practices!

**Are you a “transfer champion?” Consider discussing the work you are doing to improve the transfer student experience by submitting a session proposal for the 4th annual TAAC Transfer Conference. The deadline has been extended to March 15th!**

Source: Transfer trailblazers in higher ed | University Business Magazine


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Common Transfer Barriers

When thinking about a transfer student from a professional point-of-view, I sort of feel bad for them. Not only do they have to leave where they have been for a minimum of one semester (more than likely at least a year), but they have to re-evaluate tuition, room and board, financial aid, campus climate, and any relevant policies. Then, on top of all of that, they have to readjust to being a new student on a new campus even though they are not a freshman. Chances are they will feel that they are being treated like a freshman since they have to learn the lay of the land just like all the other newbies.

Let’s break this down piece by piece. The biggest issue is cost. Students transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college (particularly a private institute) are used to paying an in-state per credit cost. After the student has earned an associate’s degree, sticker shock can become a huge barrier for the student. If the school has a $30,000 tag on it, most students won’t pay anywhere near that, but without the knowledge of the schools discount rate (which students do not know), the $30,000 seems like a huge cost.
• My biggest advice here is to inform the student to ignore the sticker shock and go through with the whole process until a decision needs to be made. The entire process is free up until then (maybe a small application fee at some schools and a transcript request fee at your current school) so why not go through the process and get a financial aid package and make an informed decision? That is the best way to help your students get through the sticker shock—especially a transfer student.

The next barrier is definitely campus climate. A student can only feel connected to the school if they have a reason to. Generally, the older the student, the less connected they may feel. Particularly someone who is married, commutes and lives more than 5-miles from campus, or has a full-time job tend to be less concerned about the school itself and more about his or hers own responsibility as a member of society. These types of students are the biggest culprits of non-continuers. They tend to feel that their responsibilities have become too great. How can this be fixed? Well, off campus resources is a big one. Maybe an advisor from a 4-year school makes a regular trip to the local community colleges to speak with students about the transferability of courses. Or maybe an advisor stays late one night a week to get the students who work days. Another is to offer innovative advising ideas such as skyping or FaceTiming to get a more personal touch to the advising aspect. Another would be to offer extensive career and counseling services for these types of students. Rather than trying to focus on their enjoyment while on campus, focus more on the results they are hoping to obtain for their future.

And the last barrier is something I have touched upon before but it is worth mentioning again; transfer shock. This is when a student makes the switch and then arrives onto their new campus and they feel out of place. They have to readjust to a new place with a new set of rules and a different lifestyle. There is no one way to help a student make the transition, but some examples would be to get them involved and do it early. Have a separate transfer orientation. If the school isn’t large enough to hold two separate orientations, have a separate section within the freshmen orientation so that they feel acknowledged. You can also offer them a higher level on-campus job so that their level of responsibility and maturity is matched.

There will always be transfer barriers for most students on all campuses. It is just a matter of what each school does to help eliminate the immovable barriers and make them all moving targets. Each student will handle them differently as well. Just having someone available to troubleshoot when necessary is the key.

Other ways to keep transfers in the loop are: faculty involvement, campus visits, learning communities, honor’s programs, and a transfer “leader”. With a mixture of all these things, we can increase transfer retention and graduation, and we can make sure that the older, more at-risk students don’t fall through the cracks.

Website reference:

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Conference Presenters: Janet Distel, Dan Gilbert, Madeleine DeBot, and Carly Salvadore

For those of you not keeping count (I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be; this event is sure to please!), we are just a mere 2 weeks away from the conference. We have already seen a few biographies of the powerful list of presenters for the conference; however, let’s take a look at the Temple crew, presenting on the pathway of a transfer student.


Dan Gilbert, Madeleine DeBot and Carly Salvadore are all professional Academic Advisors at the College of Education at Temple University. Under the direction of Janet Distel, Director for Undergraduate Academic and Student Affairs, they and other members of the Undergraduate Student team have worked to streamline and improve the transfer student process with the goal of making the student experience as transparent, comprehensible, and seamless as possible. Some solutions are big picture (i.e. articulation agreements), while others are as simple as periodically emailing students from the time they make their deposit to the University until they attend the Orientation Advising. This allows a continuous line of communication to the students so they know what to expect at each event. For instance, one email will outline what essential items to bring to their orientations (i.e. transcripts, course syllabi), as those items will allow us to assist them better when registering for a full schedule of needed classes on the day of their orientation advising sessions.

We know that retaining a student begins from the moment that student makes his or her deposit, so we have identified issues and solutions on both the macro and micro levels: everything from taking lead roles in drafting transfer articulation agreements with community colleges, to forming strong relationships with key departments and faculty to creating Google docs and spreadsheets that allow for easier tracking of syllabi needing reviews and transcripts yet to be received. All efforts are aimed at offering all transfer students the same high level of service while also approaching each student as an individual with specific needs, challenges, and goals that need to be supported. Essentially, as a group, we continue to identify the potholes and speed bumps and to then create solutions to make the road ahead smoother!

Our hope for this presentation is to share our specific solutions to challenges, but to universalize those solutions in such a way that any advising unit could tweak and adjust as needed to meet their own administrative and student needs.


As a transfer counselor myself, I am looking forward to hearing about the insights this group has to offer! Anything to make the pathway of a transfer student smoother is music to many people’s ears.

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Conference Presenter: Jared Brown

Jared Brown

With 3 presenters down and 7 to go, let’s take a look at Mr. Jared Brown! Jared is a Pennsylvania native and has worked in higher education since he was fresh out of college. He earned both his BA and MA in Communications and has brought that education to life ever since.

Jared started his career at Penn State University in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority life. From there, he moved locations and worked as the Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at West Chester University from 2005 – 2012. With much experience under his belt, he added a bit more to his plate and became the Director of New Student Programs at West Chester University and this is the position he currently holds. In addition to that, he also is an adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College—Exton, where he teaches a Public Speaking course.

When Jared finds himself outside of the higher education realms, he enjoys travelling, exercise, and eating good food. Three things everyone should enjoy!

With lots to offer professionally to our Conference (March 19th—mark your calendars!), Jared will be presenting on the “need” for Transfer Student Orientation. He will be facilitating a discussion showcasing the current program at West Chester University and what the campus is doing in regards to re-focusing on the needs and learning outcomes of the transfer population. The goal of the presentation is to have a candid discussion about the current trends of Transfer Orientation programs and how to improve the information and assistance provided to transfer students as they transition to a new campus.

We look forward to your presentation, Jared!

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Conference Presenter — Nora Manz

With our Inaugural Transfer Conference fast approaching (March 19, 2014—Mark your calendar!), I thought it would be good to take some time to get to know some of our presenters. Since we are finalizing our schedule and presenters, I want to start with one of our very own members. Not only is she an active member, but she is also the founder of TAAC.

Nora Manz may be small, standing in at a whopping 5 feet, but she certainly is mighty! Educationally, Nora has an M.A. in Counseling and an Ed.M. in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University, and B.A. in Psychology from Alfred University. Professionally, she is the Associate Director of Transfer and Articulation at Delaware County Community College, where she has been for 7 years. Her main day-to-day tasks include creating and updating articulation agreements with four year institutions and providing training for transfer advisors. In addition she is responsible for coordinating and implementing transfer fairs, transfer workshops, and Transfer Information Week.  In her role at the College, she also works with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania State University System of Higher Education on Pennsylvania’s Statewide Transfer and Articulation System.  Nora has also played a key role in the creation and implementation of TransferCheck.  She serves on the College’s Library Advisory Committee and Curriculum Review Committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for SSI at West Chester University.

Over the last 12 years, Nora has worked in various roles in higher education including Admissions, Counseling, Advising, and Student Activities, and has been a member of the American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association.  She is currently a member of the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association, the chair of the Eastern Pennsylvania Transfer Advisory Counsel and a founding member of the Transfer Advising and Admissions Committee.  Nora has presented at local and national conferences on transfer advising and transfer student adjustment.

Both her educational and professional histories certainly throw strong punches.  With all those credentials under her belt and her energizer bunny-like lifestyle, we are excited that Nora will be speaking at the TAAC Conference. She will be presenting on TransferCheck, which is a virtual transfer advisor. This allows enrolled students to check their academic progress against degree requirements at a participating four year institution. The functionality of TransferCheck will be reviewed; how it supports the College’s strategic plans of degree completion and retention, and how it has assisted students and transfer counselors.

If you are interested in learning more about TransferCheck or are interested in our conference, please register here!

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The History of TAAC

With the small lull in between the end of travel season and application reading season where transfer life isn’t exciting, I think it’s important to discuss where TAAC started and how we got to where we are. As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, transfer students are commonly referred to as “monsters.” If there isn’t one person specifically designated to handle them, they tend to jump from counselor to counselor or handled with a grunt. Most schools, even middle sized schools, tend to only have one counselor to work with the transfer students.

Enter TAAC.

TAAC began as an informal discussion amongst several transfer professionals. After realizing how useful it was to discuss transfer themes, trends, and resources with other professionals, the group discussed the idea of a monthly meeting. There are very few opportunities for an ongoing dialogue about the transfer field and this seemed to be the perfect outlet!  So, more counselors were invited and in May 2011 the first official meeting was held at a coffee house in Media, Pennsylvania. With coffee and scones in hand, it was an instant success! It easily became apparent that more than one transfer professional realized there wasn’t enough “transfer talk” in the area. In that first meeting we shared our concerns and questions about transfers. By the end of the meeting, the group decided that this needed to continue. And TAAC was born.

We began by sharing articles, conference materials, and even did a webinar together and began to appreciate what we were achieving professionally.  We then designed a logo, a mission statement and a list serve. We also named a treasurer and a secretary.  After meeting for a year discussing the most common transfer themes and trends, TAAC finally discussed the idea of the group’s future. Could we still get out of work on a Friday morning and sit in a coffee shop discussing transfer trends? Seemed like a dream come true. But as a professional, it was a relief; realizing that other schools in the area were going through similar issues helped make it easier. It was one thing to get together and talk but what did our future hold? TAAC decided that we needed to take a next step. We organized bus tours for two year colleges to visit our campuses. We held 3 tours to our 9 universities over several months.

The first was on April 12, 2012. We only had a few attendees but the feedback we received was positive. They enjoyed the campuses, the information, and the conversation. The next two bus tours were more successful and had more attendees. So we continue with this initiative and have another round of bus tours set up for 2014.

With the success of our bus tours, we thought of how we could take TAAC another step forward. Doing bus tours every year wasn’t exactly the most resourceful option. So with our newly realized professional success, we wanted other people to know about us.  We presented at DVACROA and PACAC on the need for bridging students from their 2 year school to their new 4 year school. After seeing the success of our presentations, we thought of taking another step forward. This one is much bigger than the last, but hopefully, more rewarding.

The idea of developing a TAAC Transfer Conference had been kicked around by us from time to time but now we were ready to move on it.  After much discussion, the format of a one-day conference was agreed upon, with multiple sessions to address the issues of both 2-year college advisors and 4-year transfer counselors.  With its hopeful success – on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, mark your calendars! – the TAAC Transfer Conference will become an annual event.  And our optimism runs high, as there are many other ideas in development for TAAC to take on.   Who knew, two years ago, we’d go from casual conversations over coffee to conference presentations?   Guess that’s what comes from too much caffeine.

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Imposter Syndrome

         Have you ever walked into a room that you wanted so badly to belong in, but you just didn’t? Everything was perfect down to the very last detail, except you just felt you weren’t accepted? This, my friends, is the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.

        This can be a common occurrence for a transfer student as they jump from one school to another. The student has adapted and attended a college for as little as fifteen weeks, but as much as 2 years and then all the sudden has to finish somewhere completely different. Usually, the other students on campus already have their own cliques and groups and it can be hard for new students to break through.

        This Imposter Syndrome can actually lead to something called the “transfer dip”, a term defined by J.B. Cuseo (1998). This is actually when a transfer student dips academically, which is directly attributed to a student having transfer shock, rather than the students’ ability to be successful. Transfer shock is something that more and more 4-year schools are trying to avoid to make the process as seamless as possible.

        So what can both 2-year and 4-year schools do to help the transfer student prepare for the leap? Well, for one, talking with the student during the entire process (before, during, and after) helps things go a lot smoother for the student. This allows them to understand what is going to happen during the transfer process and what to expect upon arrival at the new school.

        Also, a transfer specific orientation has proven to be a successful segue for success, as this helps the transfer students recognize each other. And yes, a transfer student should definitely attend an orientation because it helps them to feel more connected to the school. Studies show that students who complete an orientation program are more likely to be successful in college than those who do not. Often times, when a transfer and high school orientation are done together, it becomes harder for the transfer student to associate themselves with the school itself, therefore feeling out of place, and then out comes the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.

        While it is important for the 2 and 4-year schools to communicate with the student during the process, the transfer student himself needs to do work to be happy and successful as well. The most obvious answer here is to join a club/organization. There is no easier way to get involved than to join something. Even if the group only has 5 people in it, those are 5 people more than the student knew before. Second, set up a networking/communication plan. Allow time to go to the academic support or tutoring center. This will help with the transfer dip as well as opening lines of communication. Third, take a transfer strategies or seminar course. Some 4-year schools offer credit based courses on teaching transfer students how to be successful and where the resources can be found on campus. These are just small things that schools and students can do to help have a seamless transition from one school to the next.

        While only the transfer student can know if a school is right for them, the 2 and 4-year schools can help before the transfer even starts. I will talk more about the upsides of transfer orientations in a future article, but by being aware of the Imposter Syndrome and how to subdue it, students are better equipped to handle these challenges and achieve a successful transition.