Transfer students often struggle

MaKyla Jones, a senior transfer at FAMU. Photo courtesy: Jones

For transfer students at Florida A&M University, adjusting to the school can be a challenge that most would rather not face.

From socializing to figuring out how to register for classes, most transfer students have to jump through endless hoops to get entirely situated.

Zay Thomas, a computer science major who transferred in fall 2020, had some trouble during his first week when he initially transferred to FAMU.

“I had no idea we had to be advised before enrolling into classes,” Thomas said. “So, my first semester, I didn’t get advised or enrolled until halfway through the first week of that semester.”

Thomas also had issues enrolling because his transcript would not transfer over. However, he isn’t the only one who had a problem with their transcript.

Shantress Allen, the Transfer Student Association president, had difficulty transferring her credits during her first semester at FAMU.

“Some of my courses weren’t properly coded,” Allen said. “I have some classes that it shows that I took three times, and I know I didn’t take the class three times.”

Not all transfer students have transcript troubles. Many find difficulty in socializing once getting to campus.

MaKyla Jones, a senior transfer student, struggles with interacting with other students on campus.

“I transferred from a small school,” Jones said. “So, it was really intimidating when I got to campus.”

Lawarren Meadows, a senior accounting transfer, feels alienated while at FAMU.

“I feel like an outcast because I’m a transfer student,” Meadows said. “Other students have been there for four years, so they have that bond and connection with their peers and professors. So, they have the upper hand vs. a transfer student.”

Transfer students do have an orientation before coming to school. FAMU also has different programs and clubs tailored to transfer students to help them adjust to the school. The Transfer Student Association (TSA) and the Transfer Academic Success Program (TAS) are specifically designed to ease the transition.

Sheila Martin, who is the coordinator for TAS, says that TAS is a resource for transfer students at FAMU.

“We work with transfer students and their transition, retention to graduation, and their overall college experience,” Martin said.

TSA is a social club that is under the TAS program.

“We [TSA] host game nights and other social events that are only for transfer students,” Allen said.

Even though these programs are for transfer students, many still find barriers outside of socializing that stand in their way when coming to FAMU.

Before coming to FAMU, Meadows didn’t know much about the School of Business and Industry and its requirements.

“When I came to FAMU, I didn’t know that I needed an internship to graduate from SBI,” Meadows said. “You had students working on their second and third internship by the time I got there.”

Other students wish that their professors were more understanding of the fact that transfer students don’t know everything there is to know about being a FAMU student.

“Teachers will be like, ‘Oh, you should know this, you did this in 1005,’ but I didn’t take 1005,” Allen said. “I was actually at another school.”

“No one talks to us transfer students about attendance policies and program requirements, so I wish professors were sympathetic towards transfer students,” Jones said.

Many transfer students believe that the university doesn’t take enough time with them to make sure they are fully adjusted.

“I feel like because we are transfers, we were kind of expected to know this, that and the third about the school, but when I transferred, I feel like we were just thrown to the wolves,” Thomas said.

Allen and Thomas believe that the university needs more FAMU employees catering to transfer students other than Martin.

“I think there should be more staff in charge of helping with the transfer process,” Thomas said.

“There are a lot of transfer students on campus,” Allen said. “And the amount of help a transfer student needs exceeds one person.”