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What It's Like Being a Transfer Student During COVID-19

by Rachel Beyer | January 5, 2021
What It's Like Being a Transfer Student During COVID-19

* Special thanks to our guest author, Rachel Beyer, a college sophomore with plans to transfer soon to a four-year institution in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hello, my name is Rachel Beyer! I am a sophomore community college student preparing to transfer to a four-year institution. I'm studying biology with the hope of becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). Acceptance into a DPT program requires a slew of prerequisites, a bachelor’s degree being one of them. My current institution is a two-year college, and I'm approaching the end of my second year. Therefore, I’m transferring to earn my bachelor’s degree.

Living in today's world with COVID-19 has affected all aspects of life, including the transfer process for students. With restrictions on traveling to different states and restrictions to on-campus visits, my first thought was that the already stressful task of picking a school and then transferring was going to be much more daunting - especially because it's very hard to get a feel for a campus atmosphere through a screen. However, I have been quite pleased with the support from both my current institution and destination institution through my journey of being a transfer student during COVID-19.

My experience being a transfer student during COVID-19

My current and destination institutions have been very helpful so far with the whole process. They have supplied me with multiple resources through email. For instance, they've sent me links to various online transfer fairs, some of these being statewide. 

What my current institution has done that's been especially helpful

I am extremely grateful to have such great advisors that have also been a tremendous help. Students have the choice of either meeting in person with an advisor (with COVID-19 protocols in place, of course) or to meet remotely via Zoom. During my meetings, my advisors have helped me narrow down my search for my destination institution through their knowledge of institutions that have DPT programs. They also contact the institutions I have at the top of my list to see how and if my credits would be transferred and then applied to my degree.

Another really helpful resource my current institution has is free counseling for the students. After all, the stress of transferring can be overwhelming to some. Having someone to talk to and get strategies and advice from has been extremely beneficial. The communication from my current institution about resources and how to get in contact with our advisors is also comforting. Another great thing about my current institution is the fast response times from the faculty and staff members. 

What my destination institution has done that's been especially helpful

Similar to my current institution, my destination institution has been on the ball and made being a transfer student during COVID-19 much easier and less stressful! On the institution's website homepage, students can find links to all the tours they are offering. They offer virtual tours and on-campus tours. This is great for students like me who have a hard time deciding the feel for a place remotely.

My destination institution also has virtual open houses on many dates. I believe this is very beneficial because it gives students the opportunity to pick a day that works well for them.

Further, going through this school’s application process was a breeze. The application was straightforward and provided me with the information that was going to be needed before I started. So, I was able to have everything ready before I began applying! This school also had an application fee waiver code available to all students who apply.

Another thing I found to be really helpful was that I was able to schedule a Zoom meeting to go over my admissions decision. During this meeting, I walked through all aspects of the process, what to expect, and where to go and what to do next. I left the meeting knowing what I had to do and feeling confident about going through the transfer process! I also was given the opportunity to ask any questions I had about their institution. It was so awesome to be able to speak to someone from the school in real-time instead of just emailing back and forth! 

Advice for institutions from a transfer student during COVID-19

I have three main pieces of advice that I'd give to institutions to make being a transfer student during COVID-19 easier.

  1. Offer Zoom meetings to students. This goes both for students' current institutions and their destination institutions. Meet virtually with students who are planning to transfer and students who have shown interest in transferring to your school. The human connection really does make a difference!
  2. Provide students with all the resources and information they will need. For instance, I found links to online transfer fairs and information on how destination institutions were giving tours especially helpful. Be sure your students have these resources readily available. It will help them feel less stressed through the process.
  3. Offer a fee waiver code, especially during COVID-19. This was crucial in helping me decide where to transfer to. There are so many financial pressures on everyone right now, so being able to apply for free really made a difference for me.
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