By Chris McBride
Some transfer students say that making the leap from one school to the next can be a challenging process.
The rules regarding which credits will transfer and what classes are needed to take to satisfy requirements can leave students debating with advisers for hours.
Students have many reasons why they transferred, varying from educational, to locational, financial and other such reasons.
Each of the three transfer students interviewed in this story described their experiences in transitioning from their former schools to their current home at Youngstown State.
For sophomore psychology/criminal justice major Taylor Reed, attending Kent State University’s main campus was an overwhelming experience.
“Our classes were so big that the teachers never really cared much,” Reed said. “They gave us the notes, gave us a study guide and it didn’t seem they cared if we passed or not.”
Initially, Reed transferred to Kent from YSU before again changing her mind in fall 2016 and re-enrolling at YSU. In doing so, she returned to a smaller campus in comparison to the larger Kent.
“Making the commute to classes that were miles apart became too much because you’d completely have to map out your days,” Reed said. “I came to Kent because scholarships paid for more of my schooling but it just wasn’t the right fit for me.”
Transferring back to a smaller university gave Reed a chance to attend smaller classes, helping her gain more hands-on time with teachers.
“I feel like I learned more here [at YSU] because the teachers were available more to help me when I needed it,” Reed said.
According to Reed, while her communication with teachers has improved, her exams at YSU still resembles Kent’s in “lack” of difficulty.
“Both schools’ tests were pretty straight-forward questioning,” Reed said, while also assuring that she doesn’t believe the major or schools to be easy. “It’s all in how you study and take notes that make the difference but I still don’t feel challenged.”
Reed said she has learned more from her teachers since coming to YSU.
“At YSU, I don’t feel like I’m going to graduate thinking ‘I don’t know anything about my major’ like how I would’ve had I stayed at Kent,” said Reed.
Yazeed Almesned is a civil engineering major who enrolled at YSU in January of 2014. Almesned attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina until he was offered a full scholarship to attend YSU.
Since transferring, he said that smaller class sizes at YSU have allowed for him to have a more personalized learning process and improve his skills compared to his former university.
One thing that didn’t change for Almesned was the level of teaching. While he stated the importance of smaller classes, the quality of his instructors was the same.
“It is hard to find specific differences because teaching styles depend on the professor,” said Almesned.
He believes there are several things YSU does for STEM majors to prepare them for their future that his previous school didn’t do.
“One of the major things YSU [is] doing for us as students is the Expo for STEM majors,” Almesned said. “Every semester, students could get an internship to help them direct their path.”
Josue Kambilo is an international student from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He studied mechanical engineering at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming before transferring to YSU in 2014.
Making the change to YSU for Kambilo was based on two reasons: one was location, as he wanted to be “close but not too close” to family, and the second was the school’s undergraduate engineering program, which is authorized by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).
“That was important because without the ABET authorization, I’d have to take an exam after graduating for my certificate,” Kambilo said.
Kambilo said that the education levels of his teachers varied from the two schools.
“All of them [at YSU] have PhDs compared to the ones at WWCC, which only had one PhD instructor,” said Kambilo. “Coming here, I always got the sense teachers knew more about what they were talking about.”
The experience of each of the transfer students profiled in this piece showed the factors leading to and results of their decisions to change schools. It also demonstrates how picking a college that tailors to academic, social and financial needs is an essential part of the transferring process.