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Ohio State transfer students can face academic, social setbacks

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After her freshman year at Eastern Michigan University, Lindsay Crockett wanted more from her college experience.

“There was absolutely no sense of community at Eastern,” said Crockett, a fourth-year in Spanish and human development and family sciences. “This included sporting events and the dorms. Everyone in my dorm kept their doors closed at all times.”

Crockett left the school and is now one of 2,513 undergraduate transfer students at Ohio State’s main campus, according to a report by the Office of Enrollment Services Analysis and Reporting. There are more than 44,200 undergraduate students enrolled at OSU’s Columbus campus for Fall Semester 2013, according to the OSU Statistics website.

Some of those transfer students said they’re dealing with heavier course loads to make up for lost credits because of their transition, while others said they have had to get creative to get involved around campus.

Crockett, who transferred to OSU partially with hopes of regaining a sense of school pride, ended up paying for the switch in part with academic credits, keeping credit for general education courses but not for her lower level Spanish classes, which she said has caught up to her.

“It just sucks that a lot of the people in my Spanish classes are either freshmen or sophomores, which makes me feel kind of dumb,” Crockett said.

OSU staff members did their best to help Crockett’s academic transition, even though not all credits transferred, she said.

“My advisers worked hard to make sure my classes transferred, which was very helpful,” she said.

Whether or not transfer credits are accepted by OSU is based on a standard policy, OSU spokesman Gary Lewis said.

“Ohio State University has established a transfer credit policy which is consistent with the Ohio Articulation and Transfer Policy of the Ohio Board of Regents,” Lewis said in an email.

He said the policy is designed to help transfer students’ credits from one college or university to another in a way that aims to maximize what they’ve already learned.

For some students coming to OSU after their freshman year, the adjustment to the university can be somewhat jarring, from counting credits to making friends.

“I wish there was a way to meet people,” Crockett said, “because not living in the dorms really put a hold on making friends.”

The Transfer Student Activities Board was created to ease the transition, Tura Magley, a graduate administrative associate with OSU First Year Experience, said in an email.

“The upperclass transfer students involved with TSAB plan, coordinate and facilitate FYE programs and efforts that specifically serve transfer students including educational and social events, keeping in mind that transfer students have different needs than first-year students coming to college for the first time,” Magley said.

TSAB is set to host several events, including a Beat Michigan event and a finals week study event, in the upcoming months, Magley said.

Mid-year transfers can have a rough time acclimating after the school year has already started, said John Mercurio, a fourth-year in economics who transferred from Miami University for Winter Quarter 2011 during his freshman year.

“My Winter and Spring Quarter, I didn’t know what was going on,” Mercurio said. “(OSU has) a huge campus, obviously.”

Mercurio spent his first two quarters at OSU hanging out with high school friends. The following fall, he pledged Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity after his roommate recommended he join Greek Life as a way to get involved on campus, he said.

Although he said he’s on track to graduate on time, Mercurio lost about half of his credits from Miami, something he said has added some extra weight to his course load.

“Right now I have 17 hours (scheduled) in order to graduate next semester, so it’s been more of a work load than I want my second semester of senior year,” he said.

Mercurio said one of OSU’s weakest points during the transfer process was orientation.

“I literally came in here and sat in a classroom with six other kids, talked to some adviser, and I sat there for an hour and I scheduled classes,” he said. “I left, and I was like, ‘I have zero idea of what I’m getting myself into.’”

Although Shane Gontarz, a fourth-year in marketing, said his academic transition was “pretty smooth,” living in the off-campus community made his social transition a little more difficult.

Gontarz transferred after his second year at Ohio University and quickly got involved with TSAB, he said.

“It just kind of gives back,” Gontarz said. “Now I’ve met people, and it’s easier (being a student at OSU).”

Helen Bulford, a third-year in athletic training and a transfer student from the University of Rochester, said TSAB helped her feel more at home on-campus.

“I didn’t know it existed (when I arrived at OSU), and I hadn’t even thought about something like that,” Bulford said. “That made the transfer process better, because it felt like the university was making an effort to help transfer students.”

Bulford left Rochester halfway through her second year and took an additional year and a half off from school before coming to OSU.

Bulford said the diversity among transfer students makes it hard to accommodate everyone.

“Transfer students all have different needs, and they’re all looking for different things,” Bulford said. “It’s a very unique situation.”

3 comments

  1. I loved your article. Very solid information.

  2. Thanks for this, I'm a transfer coming in this spring semester. I know I had to worry about these things a little bit but now I'm really wondering. It shouldn't be bad though I just need to get out there and make the most of it.

  3. Pure B.S. Big Baby! Going to Ohio State for their sports?

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