In honor of National Student Transfer Week, DePaul University’s transfer and adult admissions staff planned a variety of events during October 21-25 for current transfer students and prospective transfer students to be more engaged with the university.
Undergraduate Admission assistant director Heidi Wirth, who recruits transfer students from local community colleges, planned the transfer week activities.
“It was a collaborative event and we served various student populations of both current transfers and prospective students,” Wirth said.
The National Institute For The Study Of Transfer Students created this week to celebrate transfer students in 2017.
National Student Transfer Week is now an annual event every third week of October. In 2017, DePaul hosted a one day transfer student event and then a one week event in 2018 and 2019.
Senior Jasmine Navarrete, a marketing major who transferred from Triton College in River Grove in the fall of 2018, mentioned how transfer week is important to the transfer student population. In some cases, transfer students can miss out on early chances to learn more about the school.
“Transfer students have less of an opportunity to learn more about the school and join different clubs and be a part of the events. Especially me being a commuter transfer student, I have never had the traditional college experience,” Navarrete said. “I have never been to the Lincoln Park campus. I have only been to the Loop and it is hard because most of the events are in the Lincoln Park campus.”
In terms of the activities transfer students participated in, each day had a different theme. Mix and Mingle Monday was the first themed day of the week.
“We invited all current transfer students to get to know the Career Center,” Wirth said. “There was a networking opportunity as well and free headshots were provided.”
Tuesday’s event was geared specifically towards prospective transfer students, who attended a preview day of DePaul.
An info session, a Loop campus tour and a student panel were all included in this event.
Joseph Alvarez is a prospective transfer student coming from Cortiva Institute, a massage therapy and skincare school that closed its Chicago location in the Loop. Alvarez said this was his first time attending an event for potential transfer students.
“I heard in the information session that many students from Miami, New York, and California come here, which is mind-boggling,” Alvarez said. “This goes to show you how this school attracts a lot of people from different regions and I think it is the success of this city.”
Next up was Wellness Wednesday, for which the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness partnered with the Office of Undergraduate Admission to distribute health and wellness resources in the Joan Wish Welcome Center.
For Thursday, transfer students gave thanks by writing thank you notes to their peers, mentors, or former advisors.
Wrapping up the week, the Welcome Center in the Loop hosted Funday Friday. Students were able to play a bunch of board games that the Office of Student Involvement, the Veterans’ Lounge, and Adult Student Affairs provided. Students also decorated cookies and could write on a board that listed where students transferred from.
As someone who works with transfer students, Wirth mentioned how transfer students face numerous barriers transitioning to their new school. One of the barriers Wirth notes is DePaul’s quarter system, which is unlike the semester system most community college transfer students take classes in.
“We need to help them with a pathway,” Wirth said. “We have transfer guides at community colleges and it is important to have connections for people to look up to in transfer students and to know that they have an ally here at DePaul.”
Navarrete thought that the transfer guides were helpful and used them when she transferred from Triton College to DePaul.
“I would go online to DePaul’s transfer guide, and you pick the school where you are at, and you pick your degree and it gives you the classes that will transfer over,” Navarrete said.
Last year served as the first year when DePaul University expanded their programming for National Student Transfer Week into a full week.
“I had lots of grand ideas that year,” Wirth said. “This year we were trying to be more focused and specific with this event.”
As a result, the events for the week this year featured more frequent but smaller-scaled events, while last year’s week featured large scale events that occurred less frequently.
One highlight of the week Wirth mentioned was working with the Career Center for Mix and Mingle Monday and coordinating with Hilarie Longnecker, the Center’s associate director of career exploration.
“Every year we would love to get more partnerships,” Wirth said. “I reached out to DePaul Central, the Writing Center, Adult, Veteran and Commuter Student Affairs, Campus Recreation, the library, Mission and Ministry.”
Besides National Student Transfer Week, plenty of other events are planned to recognize transfer students. Next, there will be a financial fitness presentation for transfer students to attend in November.
In terms of advice for transfer students who recently transitioned to DePaul, Wirth suggested students use the degree progress report on Campus Connect to make sure their classes are transferring correctly.
Junior David Hernandez, who transferred from Elgin Community College and is studying sports communication, agrees with Wirth on making sure exactly what courses transfer over.
“If I had any advice, it will definitely be make sure all your credits are transferable and that they count for your major you want to go into,” Hernandez said.
Lastly, Wirth recommended transfers work with an academic advisor so they have less pressure to try to figure it out on their own.
“They are here for you to help you complete your education at DePaul and work your way towards graduation,” Wirth said.
Header photo by Hector Cervantes, 14 East