Transfer students face extra challenges

Junior transfer student Briona Hopkins. Photo courtesy: Hopkins

Transferring into Florida A&M University can be a great adventure but also a stressful experience which can leave students feeling overwhelmed.

Although each student has their own unique experience, FAMU students specifically share similarities with their transition challenges.

Junior Ra’vin Woods transferred during the fall semester and says making friends as a junior was a struggle.

“It is harder making friends when you get into college after everyone has established relationships. I try to talk to people more and put myself out there,” Woods said.

She said she also felt a bit overwhelmed because she came from a small-town community college, but eventually she was able to settle in more.

“I love the environment, everyone here is so nice and willing to help. I also had Rattlers Rise and TSA [Transfer Student Association] to help get me through the tough times,” Woods said.

The Rattlers Rise program helps guide sophomores and transfer students at FAMU. It includes career advice, goal setting, guest speakers and overall helping students achieve success.The TAS is a program that offers different resources dedicated toward transfers. It offers programs such as TSA, or Transfer Student Association, Tau Sigma Nation Honor Society, and Peer Mentor Program.

“Peer mentors are current transfer students who are now into their major areas and they’re able to assist our incoming transfer student, so we match them by major by the school or college they are in and we think that’s really good as well because peers are helping peers. We found really good success with our transfer peer mentoring program,” Brenda C. Spencer, director of the Transfer Academic Success Program said.

The coordinator of the Transfer Academic Success, Sheila Martin, says that she wants transfers to not be afraid to ask questions and to know TAS is in place to help.

“We provide a lot of information and resources for their success and just don’t be afraid to reach out,” Martin said. “When you’re going to your classes and you feel like you can excel or go forward, reach out to us, we’re here to help.”

Despite the programs to help guide transfer students, many still struggle along the way with different challenges.

“I think for transfer students the main struggle is really getting acclimated to a new environment because they did not start at FAMU like a native student, someone who started their college career here at FAMU,” Spencer said. “Those students may be a bit more aware of the different traditions and the things that are done here at FAMU and the whole student culture.”

Briona Hopkins, a junior transfer student, described transferring as a unique experience. She also said she feels it’s hard to just jump into something with people who already know how things are run.

“You won’t have the same experience as someone who’s been here for the for year,” Hopkins said. “Not knowing anyone or how FAMU is set up is just something you will have to go through. It’s what you make of it at the end of the day.”

Hopkins believes that many transfers feel forgotten and unimportant while on campus.

“I would say people don’t really care about transfers that much and you have to actively search for information,” Hopkins added. “The advisers are not helpful and people just don’t care. I had to find out random stuff from other people.”

Dalilah Posley, also a third-year transfer student, said the most difficult thing was feeling late with joining organizations and networking with those in her major.

“What I did to get over that idea was go out and introduce myself to people,” Posley said. “I found talking to advisers and leaders of organizations was extremely helpful. I also participated in school events.”

She also said she believe there are a couple things the school can do better.

“What FAMU can do better is have more opportunities for transfer students,” Posley added. “Meaning they should have more clubs, more information on what goes on campus, and last but not least, having someone talk about Capstone. I was not aware of that until someone that’s been attending FAMU told me.”