Transferring process proves welcoming

Quinn Sykora

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Transferring for any student is intimidating, but guaranteed support from others can make all the difference in the world. Students transferring to Pacific University can rest easy knowing they have access to the personalized help from people like Tania Hand, associate director of Admissions and Denise Giesbers, director of the Office of Transfer Student Services.

Hand, says that Pacific recruits two to three times as many transfer students, on a percentage basis, as other similar schools. This largely reflects the efforts by Pacific’s transfer admissions team. They meet prospective transfers with outreach at local community colleges and begin building one-on-one relationships through visits both on and off campus.

The team even takes into account transfer students high school records if they have less than 30 credits, getting a bigger picture of who the student really is. This especially helps students who may have struggled at their first college for non-academic reasons.

But, as with any aspect of college, paying for tuition is always a consideration. To this point Hand notes that unlike many schools across the country, Pacific offers scholarships to transfer students that are almost identical to the scholarships they present to traditional students.

Support does not just stop with admissions though. Gretchen Potter and Mike Shingle in advising both make time to provide pre-transfer advising support to any prospective transfer students and help plan for their transition to Pacific.

Pacific has an entire department dedicated to transfer students. This department is one of only three in Oregon. Led by Denise Giesbers, who has been nationally recognized for her service to transfer students, the Office of Transfer Student Services is present so that after initial arrival, transfer students can continue to receive the support they need to be successful.

However, the work does not end there. According to Giesbers, most years 23% of Pacific’s undergraduate students are transfer students. Additionally, Hand says they are still working on raising those numbers even higher. But it is not just about enrollment to them.

“We’d like to see development in providing more visibility of the pathways for prospective transfer students,” Hand said. “We could expand our influence by developing tools to help prospective transfer students understand how the coursework they are taking at their home institution would fit into academic programs that we offer.”

All of these resources are here to help students who come to Pacific excited to start anew. And it is not surprising the passion that both Hand and Giesbers have for transfer students, given they both transferred to Pacific before earning their degrees.

Writers Note:

As a transfer student myself, I know how difficult it can be.

I remember receiving phone call after phone call to help me through the transfer process. I did not do well at my first college, and because they were willing to look at the whole picture, I was able to come to Pacific with a scholarship and be successful.

I have had the pleasure to work with Denise Giesbers both as a transfer and as an executive board member of the Connections Club. Her passion for transfers is inspiring, and I know that if I ever needed anything, she would be there to help me. I can say, from my own experience, Pacific has been the best place to be a transfer student.

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