Transfer student program builds community

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Starting over is never easy, but Saint Louis University’s TRANSFERmations program is working to make it the best possible experience.

“TRANSFERmations is a six week program designed specifically for transfer students entering during the Fall semester,” said Cayce Putnam, the program’s advisor, “The purpose of the program is to promote campus involvement, community engagement and to build a sense of community among transfer students.”

Similar to the First-Year Experience, the program designed to familiarize freshmen to SLU, the three-year-old program TRANSFERmations provides transfer students with the necessary information and tools needed to get used to their new school.

The program is led by six student mentors, all of who were transfers to SLU at one time.

“I know firsthand that the transition period can be very emotional and especially difficult because many transfer students are commuters, non traditional students or international students,” said senior Katie Carpenter, a TRANSFERmations mentor. “I also know that I made the right choice in transferring from my old school to SLU, and my favorite part of this job is helping new transfers realize the same thing.”

Mentors in the TRANSFERmations program are selected alongside the leaders in the First-Year Experience Program, including Oriflamme, SLU 101 and U 101 leaders.

Carpenter said that in addition to serving as guides for transfer students, mentors also strive to be some of the first SLU friends the new arrivals make.

“There is no reason that anyone’s experience at SLU should be diminished just because they didn’t come here right after high school,” Carpenter said.  “Everyone on this campus is open and inviting and it is so easy to get involved in anything you could ever want, and I see my ultimate role as a Transfer Mentor as helping those transfers who might be nervous or a little less extroverted than myself to see everything that this school and this city have to offer.”

TRANSFERmations not only provides transfer students with the information they need, but the program also hosts events and activities to further assist the new students in making connections at SLU, including attending soccer games, hosting study breaks and taking trips to local attractions in the area such as Flying Cow Frozen Yogurt and Café Ventana.

“I was a part of TRANSFERmations last year,” said junior Kaitlyn Schultz, another mentor in the program, “I had come from a big state school and community college and the program was really beneficial. I didn’t really feel connected at SLU at first, but through TRANSFERmations I’ve gotten to know a lot of people.”

Schultz said that another major goal of the program is to ensure that transfer students feel as comfortable as possible.

“It’s important to get the transfer students acclimated to SLU because they haven’t had the First-Year Experience,” Schultz said. “This way, they have a similar experience to the freshman and get a chance to know each other and the school.”

Overall, Schultz sees TRANSFERmations as an overwhelmingly useful and positive experience for everyone involved in the program.

“It’s so important [that]transfer students participate as much as they can,” Schultz said, “It helped me so much. Everyone’s story is different, and this is a way of bringing us all together.”