Out of Pacific’s fall class of 2013, 23 percent were transfer students and raising the total percentage of transfer students to 15.7 percent. Over the last ten years, Pacific has sustained a consistent retention and graduation rate of 80 percent amongst the transfer population.
Associate Director of Admissions and Transfer Coordinator Tania Hand said that transfer students benefit Pacific with the rich and diverse perspective they bring. And Pacific reciprocates these students by offering them the same level of merit-based scholarships that are offered to non-transfers.
“On my visits to community college campuses, I get picked on by my peers saying, ‘you guys offer huge scholarships,’” said Hand.
In making the decision to financially support high-achieving transfer students, Hand said Pacific has enriched its campus environment. She is a non-traditional transfer student from the Class of 2004 herself and said that the diversifying extends from the campus into the classrooms. According to Hand, faculty members have approached her with the feedback that transfer students in their classes bring different experiences and backgrounds to group discussions.
Support systems such as Pacific Connections, a club designated for transfer students, also exist so that transfer students can feel connected to the Pacific campus in the same way that a traditional student would. Pacific Connections also offers transfer students with their own lounge in the UC that has couches, refrigerators and other amenities for students that do not have a dorm.
This is important for transfer students such as 22-year-old Déjà Gustafson, who said that she often felt it was hard to connect with traditional Pacific students who have already been together for two or three years.
Another difficulty that transfer students encounter is Pacific’s 52-hour rule. Transfers often arrive at Pacific as juniors and when some of their credits have not properly transferred, the task of fulfilling their major requirements and 52 credits outside their area of focus can be daunting. And there is the added pressure of completing the two necessary focal studies in the two remaining years that most transfers have at Pacific.
Although most transfer students fall in the mid-to-late 20’s age range, it is becoming more and more common to see that age range expand from 18 to 60 or older. With this in mind, some transfer students joke about their peers believing that they are a professor.
For this, Pacific Connections President Colin Kanewske said that for next year’s orientation, a skit should be performed that is titled, “I am not your professor.”