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The Alumni Gateway at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio Nov. 8, 2023.

OU works to improve transfer students' experiences

Changing schools can be scary for transfer students. Fortunately, Ohio University is making strides to welcome them as they would any other first-year Bobcats. 

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Student Orientation Abbey Cliffel said transfer students experience a modified version of Bobcat Student Orientation, or BSO – which acclimates first-year students with OU before classes start – that caters specifically to transfer students. 

"A lot of it is just getting them familiar with their new place," Cliffel said. “(It’s about) getting them connected with current students, other transfer students, as well as just the overall Ohio University community."

The university also offers OHIO Transfer Day. The day is dedicated to introducing students to faculty in their particular area of interest, helping them learn more about transferring credits, connecting them with campus resources and allowing them to explore campus. 

Cliffel said some of the programming is the same for transfer and freshmen students, but what sets the groups apart is acknowledging transfer students' prior college experience.

"We want to get them acclimated and share information (about OU) that will help them be successful as a student here," Cliffel said. 

Cliffel said transfer students may face added barriers when scheduling classes compared to other first-year students.

"They're coming in with a lot of credit, previous credit from another university, and so scheduling courses can sometimes be a bit of a challenge,“ Cliffel said.

Cliffel also noted that incoming freshmen may face some of the same scheduling accommodations as students who enter college with advanced placement or dual-enrollment credits. 

Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of the Online, Transfer and Credit Services Center Rob Callahan said the enrollment management department is working with faculty to become even more transfer-friendly than it has been over the years. 

Callahan said the process for transferring credits is based on the Higher Learning Commission, or HLC, which sets the standards for how credits can be transferred.

"We do have some constitutional discretion in terms of grades, non-traditional credit, especially as we expand to private and out-of-state institutions," he said. 

Callahan said the Articulation and Credit Services team put together credit evaluations for admitted transfer students within 24 to 48 hours. He said the team's goal is to get the transfer credit evaluation back to the students as quickly as possible so they can determine if they want to enroll at OU. 

"It's actually something that most colleges don't do," Callahan said. "Most other brick and mortar institutions have a very long delay process." 

OU was recognized last June for the fourth year in a row as one of the nation's top transfer-friendly schools, as outlined by an OU press release.

"That's a recognition of all the efforts that we put into certainly not only students with credit but transfer students," Callahan said. "We want to be a welcoming place for transfer students." 

Bella DePasquale, a junior studying media arts and studies and recording industry, transferred to OU this fall from a Kent State University regional campus. 

"I just couldn't find anything else like it in Ohio and nationally for the price," DePasquale said. "I wanted to focus more on the business, copyright law and just the whole music industry." 

DePasquale said her overall experience transferring was positive, although she wished there were more ways to connect with both transfer students and students in general.

"It seems like for the freshmen, they offered more bonding opportunities with other students, but the transfer one did not," DePasquale said. "It felt like I was going through some of it alone." 

Despite this, DePasquale said she was able to find ways to get involved on campus.

"It's been very easy to get involved in different activities and organizations," DePasquale said. "When I moved down here in August, I was like, 'This is the best decision for me.'"


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