WOU provides support and pathways for transfer students

Transfer students were invited to “Celebrate Your Transfer Story” at WOU’s Transfer Pathways inaugural celebration of National Transfer Student Week (NTSW) Oct. 21-25. An annual event by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students, NTSW celebrates transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journey.

At WOU, the goal is to welcome every student to the WOU family and make their transition as smooth as possible by providing the support students need. Learn more about transferring to WOU on the Transfer Pathways website, wou.edu/transferpathways/

WOU students Jessica Sandoval, Katy Tripp, Lyndsey Stewart and Tricia Holman all shared they were searching for a mid-sized liberal arts college. A place they could easily navigate and that felt like home. They value the small class sizes, which provides more opportunities to get to know their classmates and instructors.

Person holding a book and smiling as they turn the pageJessica Sandoval
Transferred from: Linn Benton Community College
Major: Sociology

What were you looking for in a four-year college?
I wanted to be at a college where I could build interpersonal relationships with instructors through smaller class sizes compared to other universities.

Why did you decide to attend WOU?
I chose Western Oregon for its reasonable cost for a higher education, and the average class size of 18 students.

What would you share with a prospective transfer student about WOU?
Get involved as soon as you can, find an interest that you can submerse yourself in other than classes and have fun! It allows for necessary mental breaks- self-care is important. I am currently working for WOU’s multicultural student services and programs as a student-worker.

What advice would you give about the transfer process?
Attend all the informational events so that you can best prepare yourself mentally in managing the administrative aspect of your transfer as well as campus life. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help.

Person sitting down and smiling, wearing a red Western Oregon Wolves shirt and glassesLyndsey Stewart
Transferred from: South Puget Sound Community College
Major: Graphic design

Why did you transfer to WOU?
I transferred here for my minor which is American Sign Language. I knew WOU’s ASL program was very good. I heard about it in my junior year of high school from my ASL teacher, who attended WOU.

What were you looking for in a four-year college?
I visited schools that I felt like I was lost, but on my very first visit to WOU about four years ago when I was originally looking at schools I loved the campus so much that if I had been able to sign up for school at that moment I would have done it right then.

What would you want a prospective transfer student to know about WOU?
The faculty is very helpful and that the class sizes are small enough for students to have a very good student-to-professor relationship and that this will help their understanding of the material. The professors are very willing to answer questions and give help when asked.

What advice would you give a student about the transfer process?
They should make sure to apply early and to make sure to get their transcripts in as early as possible, this will help to make sure that they don’t accidentally duplicate any classes that they have already taken!

Person sitting and smiling with a book open on their lap and wearing glasses and a black jacketKaty Tripp
Transferred from: Umpqua Community College
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on psychology and English

Why did you decide to transfer to WOU?
Because it has small class sizes, it’s close to home without being too close, and its interdisciplinary major allows me to explore many of my interests while working towards a degree.

What were you looking for in a four-year university?
When looking for four-year universities, all I knew was that I didn’t want to feel lost. I knew coming into WOU that the class sizes were small, and when I visited campus for the first time, I felt that it wouldn’t take long to learn where everything was. I also wanted a college that was in-state, partly because it was financially responsible but also because I wanted to be able to go home over the weekend if I got too homesick. WOU was clearly a good fit.

What advice would you give a student about the transfer process?
Know the application deadlines for four-year colleges. For some reason, I thought that the applications wouldn’t close before spring term ended. While some universities offer a later deadline for transfer students, this isn’t always the case, so I was scrambling to get applications done. It made the application process far more stressful than it needed to be, and I would suggest avoiding that at all costs. When you do have some colleges in mind, be sure to look at how your credits will transfer, because we’ve all heard the horror stories of students having to retake classes, paying for the credits again. That’s part of why WOU is a good option for transfer students: if they come in with an AAOT, all of the general education classes are considered complete, which avoids retaking classes.

How did WOU make the transfer process welcoming for you?
When I began the process of transferring to WOU, I felt immediately that the college had considered the support that a transfer student needs and how that’s different from what first-year college students need. I was excited to learn my AAOT automatically fulfilled the general education requirements, which meant that I could start taking the classes I needed for my specific degree right away. I also noticed that there’s a scholarship specifically for transfer students coming into WOU; that, along with other features of the college like the transfer/non-traditional student orientation and the transfer student community in the Ackerman dorms, made it clear that transfer students are well-cared for at WOU. Even New Student Week had workshops specifically for transfer students to teach us about things like transfer shock and the resources available for transfer students. It made the process feel more normal. Now I’m living it up in the transfer community in Ackerman, which was almost immediately more like a family than a random group of strangers, and I’m really pleased with how my degree is coming together. WOU is just as different from community college as I thought it would be, but even when I struggle, I know that there are people here to support me and who know what I’m going through. It’s a good feeling.

Person wearing a black jacket and glasses, sitting in front of an open laptopTricia Holman
Transferred from: Chemeketa Community College
Major: Computer Science

Why did you transfer to WOU? I am what is considered a nontraditional student. I was in my 40s when I returned to Chemeketa with the plan to only get my associate’s degree in computer science. I met Don Kraus, who is an instructor at both WOU and Chemeketa. Don told me that he had recognized my potential and I need to go to Western to earn my applied baccalaureate.

How did you know WOU was the best choice for you? I was afraid to go back to college because I was older. What I appreciate about WOU is the supportive environment. I know all my professors and I can meet them or send an email if I have questions and they always answer.

What would you stay to someone who thinks they may be too old to return to college? I am 47 years old. I would tell them to gather their inner courage and know they can return to college and it’s never too late. I have received a great deal of support from my professors and I am thankful they recognized my potential and encouraged me to learn about something I enjoy doing. They also worked with me on what credits would transfer.

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