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With College Decision Day around the corner, the Associate Director of Transfer Recruiting shares how the University uniquely caters to transfer students
Cate Zenzen |
With nearly 200 new transfer students in the fall semester of 2019, Lipscomb University has proven to accommodate students of all backgrounds. Whether a student is from a community college, another four-year university, the military, or in pursuit of their second degree, the Office of Admissions ensures the process is as simple as possible.
Aaron Burtch, associate director of transfer recruiting in the Office of Admissions, emphasized the value in keeping it easy for any student to join the Lipscomb community. This includes specific orientation sessions, visit days, scholarships and academic advising opportunities. Admissions also works closely with the office of Provost Craig Bledsoe to help students easily transfer credits from school to school.
“We hope that a student looks at Lipscomb and doesn’t feel like they are just part of a process. A transfer fits a number of different categories so we really have to spend time learning about them, their goals, their educational needs and if Lipscomb will be a fit for them academically. If that’s online, we have a plan for that. If they are a military member, we have a way to work with that group. If they are just needing a certificate and not a second degree, we can have those conversations. It’s harder than working with a traditional high school student but it also brings different rewards,” said Burtch.
While a new school can be difficult for anyone, Burtch acknowledges that transfer students face different challenges. On top of new classes and routines, these students enter a pre-existing community and culture. To join a cohort of classmates who have known each other for several years, a student has to be intentional about building relationships and trying new things. Additionally, academic requirements and timelines do not always translate from school to school. Students make decisions based on how long it will take them to graduate and what opportunities they will have, and the last thing they want is to be set back in time.
“We’ve worked hard to establish agreements with Tennessee community colleges in making that process smoother. We’re in a world where students are bouncing back and forth and doing what they can, for how much they can, to graduate and get an incredible college experience and make themselves stand out in the job market,” said Burtch.
To find a place to finish or add to their degree, students often attend college fairs just like they did in high school. This process is overwhelming at any point in life, no matter how many times a student goes through it. At the Office of Admissions, the goal is to ensure Lipscomb University is a favorable option for any student.
“Our job, in admissions, is to show them that Lipscomb can meet as many of their needs as possible. We just hope that they love Lipscomb and what we have,” said Burtch.
Burtch also recognizes the mixed emotions many transfer students feel once they choose Lipscomb. He said it can be bittersweet to hear “what if” stories, but appreciates their love for the community.
“What’s hard is that transfers, for the most part, are only here for two years before they graduate. Luckily, Lipscomb is a friendly place and those who want to make relationships can. We hope they are able to maximize their experience as much as possible,” said Burtch.
The Office of Admissions acts as a guide for students as they take the first step toward a future of living, learning and serving as part of the Lipscomb community. While applications and test scores matter, the most important factor of a student’s college decision is who they are, where they come from and where they would like to go. Whether a freshman or transfer student, the Office of Admissions is committed to making the college journey as smooth as possible from start to finish.