Students say Rutgers should improve advising for school-to-school transfers

<p>Students said the school-to-school transfer application was quick, but finding guidance and advice could prove difficult. Transfer applications are only reviewed once annually, during the Fall semester.</p>

Students said the school-to-school transfer application was quick, but finding guidance and advice could prove difficult. Transfer applications are only reviewed once annually, during the Fall semester.

College is the peak time in a student’s life to discover a career path, but often their first choice may not always be their last. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found an estimated 80 percent of college students change their majors at least once. 

Garth Patterson, assistant dean and director of General Advising for the School of Arts and Sciences, is responsible for guiding students who are transferring into the School of Arts and Sciences and general student advising.

“Most of the students go to business or engineering ... (but) because there is a GPA requirement to be admitted, most students we have to wait until their grades come out in May, and so we give them a decision in early June,” Patterson said.

Aside from the GPA requirement, students can typically transfer schools after completing 12 credits or the prerequisite classes needed. Each school differs in its course requirements, but a student who wishes to transfer into the School of Engineering must take courses such as calculus I, general chemistry and physics, said School of Engineering Transfer Adviser Alicia Shah.

Some students, such as Rutgers Business School sophomore Lauren Holmes, utilized the online application website containing all the necessary information for her transfer to aid in her transition. Though students can complete the process online, there are advisers specifically designated to aid students through the transferring process.

Holmes, who was originally a student in the School of Arts and Sciences, said her transfer process took place with no help from advisers.

Having requested to transfer the spring of her first year, Holmes said the application itself was simple and short. The application asked for information about demographics and included one essay question. She was contacted shortly after the summer break started.

School of Arts and Sciences first-year student Timothy Nuber, who is currently in the process of transferring out, said the online application was relatively quick and only took 10 minutes. 

But he said the lack of interaction with advisers was an issue.

“I received very little information before I applied ... and barely any advice as to whether or not reclassifying was actually a good idea,” Nuber said.

When asked about whether the size of Rutgers may have impacted how closely the advisers worked with them, Nuber and School of Engineering first-year Swapnil Kurale both said their interactions with advisers were not helpful.

“Most of our meetings were usually less than five minutes since there were so many students. Most of the things they said could be found on the internet so the meetings weren't really helpful. There wasn't really much personal support that the advisers offered,” Kurale said.

Holmes said that the most difficult part of her transfer was the academic aspect.

“At the time of my transferring process, my intended major was biological sciences on the pre-dental track, therefore I had a very credit-intensive schedule. I found it to be very difficult to keep up in my pre-business core classes, as I had to dedicate my time to studying for biology and chemistry as well as labs,” she said.

For Kurale, it was a matter of convenience, because while currently in the School of Engineering, he said he is taking business courses to fulfill requirements for the Rutgers Business School. 

He said he wishes transferring applications were considered for the spring semester as well as the fall.

In the future, Nuber said he hopes the University makes it easier for students to receive advice on academic strategies and the transferring process. 

Kelly Kim is a School of Engineering first-year student. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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