Transferring to a different college can be a big undertaking, but according to a recent USA Today article, more than 33 percent of undergrads switch schools at least once before graduating.
Erin Peters, the assistant director for transfer admissions, said Plattsburgh State accepted a little over 530 transfer students this semester. Last spring, the admissions office processed about 200 transfer students.
Peters monitors the application process and “meets individually with transfer students” in order to make their acclamations as smooth as possible.
For many students, the decision to change schools is influenced by a variety of factors. Students often transfer if the school they are attending does not offer a strong program for their major. High tuition, living expenses or a disinterest in the college’s location may also lead a student to transfer.
PSUC gains a lot of attention from potential transfer students because of the wide variety of programs and fields of study available, Peters said.
“We get a lot of students that are interested in our pre-professional programs.”
The PSUC transfers admissions department is also proactive in encouraging potential students to visit the campus. By doing so, Peters said, students often find PSUC to be a “good match for their career goals.”
Peters said word of mouth is another way students are often drawn to PSUC.
Kyle Jones, a junior PSUC transfer and environmental science major, said he heard about PSUC during his senior year of high school. After two years at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, Jones chose to attend PSUC.
“My earth science teacher in high school told me that Plattsburgh has a really good environmental science program,” Jones said.
But academics are not the only draw for PSUC transfers.
Stephanie Boucher, a junior environmental science major, and transfer student said her decision to transfer to PSUC was influenced by her recruitment to the cross country and track team.
For Boucher, PSUC’s location was also a factor that weighed into her decision.
“I like the outdoors, and I like being near the High Peaks,” Boucher said.
Although it is her job to make the transfer process as easy as possible, Peters said students are often overwhelmed by the lengthy process.
“Time is a factor for many transfer students,” she said.
Coming to PSUC with an associate degree in general studies from Mohawk Valley Community College, Jones recalled struggling with the financial aid forms.
“I remember it being a real pain in the a– to fill out the financial aid stuff,” he said. “My bank couldn’t process my forms, so I had to find a bank that would do student loans.”
Academic transcripts can also be hassle for incoming transfers.
“Transfer students will have to submit college records for all the colleges they have attended,” Peters said.
Transfers who are coming to PSUC with 24 college credits or more only need to submit a transcript from their previous colleges, Peters said. However, transfers with less than 24 credits are required to submit a high school transcript along with their SAT and Act scores.
Additionally, if students have taken time off from school before transferring to PSUC, the college requests gap information — an explanation as to why the student took a leave from their collegiate studies.
For others such as Boucher, adjusting to new campus can also be difficult. While attending Mohawk Valley Community College, she lived at home with her parents.
“I am very family-oriented,” she said. “The food here is a lot different than mom’s home cooking.”
Boucher also said the training program she now follows for cross-country and track is much different than the one she was used to at her previous college.
Although the transfer process can be daunting, Peters said she encourages students to come to her for help.
“We’re always willing to sit with students,” she said. “I try to make the process as seamless as possible.”
Email Thomas Marble at firstname.lastname@example.org