In 2019, there were 100 full-time transfer students at Drake University. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a transfer student is a student who comes to a university after having started at a different university. While some potential transfer students have only a handful of credits, others may have already earned their Associates degree at a local community college. However, all students hoping to transfer to the university must go through a similar application process.
Rachelle Setsodi, the associate director of transfer students at Drake, said there are many factors taken into consideration when evaluating potential transfer students.-
“We look at academic performance, we look at trends, we look at grade point average, but basically we are looking for a student who will be academically prepared for Drake,” Setsodi said. “We want to put the student in the best position and Drake in the best position.”
Transfer students go through an application process that looks different than first year students. Transfer students have to submit transcripts from the colleges they previously attended; they can also choose to include an optional essay or letter of recommendation.
Once a student has been accepted to Drake, they are contacted by Lauren McCarthy, the transfer student transition adviser. Once a student has been accepted as a transfer, McCarthy helps them figure out what credits they need and how to get involved with the campus community.
“I don’t want transfer students to feel like transfer students, I want them to feel like Drake students,” McCarthy said. “…The university is still very much set up for students who come straight out of high school, it’s not always a flexible place.”
This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, transfer students had difficulty transitioning without being able to tour campus as well as entering as a sophomore or junior.
Kelsey Christianson is a junior at Drake who transferred this fall. Immediately after graduating high school Christianson went to Creighton University to study economics before deciding that it wasn’t the right fit. She returned home and transferred to a community college where she took 51 credits in one year. This fall, she transferred to Drake to pursue a double major in public relations and advertising.
“[Being virtual] is not the same personal connection and it is difficult,” Christianson said. “Community colleges gave me a way to boost my confidence.”
Transfer students make up a small percentage of incoming students at Drake. In the fall of 2019, there were 782 first year students while only 100 transfer students were admitted. That’s roughly 11 percent of the incoming class for 2019.
According to a study by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, students who transferred from a community college were more likely to graduate on time when compared to first year students.
“I think transfer students are unique because they tend to come to college more purposeful, because they have experience at another school, sometimes multiple schools, sometimes changing majors, sometimes working for a while, they are very purposeful after they transfer,” McCarthy said. “I think that they have a clearer sense of why they are in college and what they want to get out of it.”