Advising Transfer Students
(see also the Transfer Student webpages on the student advising site above)
Each transfer student is unique. Advising transfer students is an advanced skill. You will need to have a strong grasp on both requirements and strategies to help with a smooth transition into Alma. There may be special transfer transition activities to help with this; please encourage the student to participate in them.
Transfer student orientation. You should be informed of the
orientation process your new transfer advisee is undergoing. You
will have an opportunity to talk with the student, or to arrange
another time to do class scheduling.
What information you will receive.You should get a transfer of credit evaluation and copies of transcripts from the former institute(s) attended, as well as the application. You may also get more typical “first year” info. Material may be missing or delayed due to last minute application/acceptance.
Transfer credit evaluation form. You may need to explain why classes with grades of less than “C” rarely transfer between institutions. Pay special attention to the “Credit Evaluation” for any class assigned as “180s” since these have not yet been assigned an Alma class equivalent, even if credit has been granted. Students should be encouraged to follow up with departments to establish maximum benefit from their transfer credits. Remember that Quill status will not be granted for transferred classes; see the Registrar if this looks critical.
Number of accepted credits and class standing. This can cause confusion for everyone! If transfer students have relatively few credits, they may be asked to attend pre-term, and may go through first term registration like other FY students. Transfer students who have more than 31 Alma credits are required to take only one Spring term class, and, if they haven't already been overseas, it must be an "S" course as noted in the spring term schedule. Encourage the student to follow up on any class standing issues.
Transfer student registration. Transfer students fill out a tri-copy paper form that is turned in on the first day of classes (and are treated normally for all later terms). They register after all other students, but are allowed to add closed classes to their schedules. Certain exceptions exist (where physical space is limited like Art and English composition classes); these classes are listed on the transfer advising sheet that the students receive during transfer orientation. Generally getting a schedule of classes is not as difficult as determining one.
Sequenced classes and prerequisites. Poor grades may be a reason to suggest repeating pre-requisite classes, even if they will get no Alma Credit for doing so. When in doubt of where students should enter a sequence, please call the instructor/department and ask. Transfer students may not know where to begin with this process or have no experience with calling professors themselves.
Help transfers form strong connections. Transfers may have already “jumped ship once” and are more willing to leave (again) than the average student. You can help them connect but matching them with upper level students already in the major, with other transfers, and with the transfer advising webpages. Urge them to get involved with clubs and form study groups, as this will introduce them to new friends and reduce attrition risk.
Questions worth asking transfer students that can reveal helpful information:
- What brought to you to Alma? (are they fleeing problems vs. choosing solutions)
- What do you hope to accomplish here?
- What do you know about Alma’s reputation? (gently correct “a small school is easier” and other misconceptions)
- How many years/terms do you expect to take to graduate? (listen for answers that are disparate from reality)
- What issues cropped up at your former institution? (illness, bad fit, disliked the school)
- What special considerations might you need to be successful? (connect any stated issues with campus resources)
Keeping in contact. Transfer students benefit from extra “care and feeding” during their first term, during which their transition issues can be severe. Transfers have a narrow window in which they decide if Alma will “work” for them, so our chance to act is shorter than with any other group. Even if you will be passing them on to a departmental advisor, they will appreciate any extra contact you can make.