Transfer students adjust to life at K-State

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For most students, the start of the spring semester is easy to adjust to after fall semester, but for transfer students, the first week of the semester is one of transition.

Trent Johnson, sophomore in agricultural education and transfer student from Allen Community College, said his first week has gone relatively smooth.

“It’s been pretty easy so far to transition,” Johnson said. “Being well-experienced with K-State in years prior and being able to know the professors before I came to campus definitely helped with all of the information they gave me.”

Paul Wilson, senior in mechanical engineering, transferred from Pittsburg State University last fall. Wilson said his first semester at K-State was intimidating at first.

“My first couple of weeks here, the class size was mind-boggling, at least initially, but after a few weeks I got used to it,” Wilson said. “That happened pretty quickly, and I think it’s just a matter of getting used to campus. Change is scary, but given enough time, anyone can definitely adapt to a new college.”

At the same time, Johnson said he and other transfer students are at a disadvantage when compared to students who have already been on campus for a semester or more.

“When I came up (to K-State), everyone else was already settled into their grooves, and they already have at least a semester under their belt,” Johnson said. They already know where they’re going, and I’m trying to adjust on the fly. I didn’t have a whole summer to prepare. I only had winter break.”

Johnson said the biggest difference he has noticed since he transferred is the larger class sizes.

“(The class size) is definitely a big difference,” Johnson said. “My biggest class was 20 students at Allen and now it’s 150 here. But the classes have definitely been very informative, especially when they’re in your major. It’s nice to be in classes you’re interested in compared to gen eds.”

Although the New Student Services office primarily works with freshmen, the office offers support for students who need assistance adjusting to life at K-State. Deana Core, transfer coordinator for New Student Services, said the office holds events for transfer students during the first week of the semester.

“We try to target the new transfer population with different events during Week of Welcome,” Core said. “Sometimes, coming in the middle of the year you just get dumped into the middle of things.”

Academically, transfer students can also have difficulty adjusting, Core said.

“Professors sometimes forget they have new students in their classes in January,” Core said.

Last fall, the New Student Services office began offering a voluntary orientation class for transfer students. Core said students in the class adjusted to the larger campus and class sizes more quickly than students who did not take the class. The class was not offered this semester, but Core said New Student Services plans to offer the class in future semesters.

Alexis Vaughan, junior in anthropology, said she found support from New Student Services when she transferred from Garden City Community College last fall.

“Deana really helped me by answering any questions I had, and I knew that I could always call them,” Vaughan said.

All three transfer students said transfer students have more difficulty making friends, but existing friendships on campus have made their transitions to K-State easier.

“It’s harder to get out and meet people,” Wilson said. “Thankfully for me, I already had a couple of friends here, but it was definitely a process. It’s difficult to get out to meet new people. People who start out here as freshman make a lot of friends initially, and transfer students aren’t able to do that as easily.”

One club on campus, the Transfer Student Association, offers transfer students the chance to meet and socialize with other transfer students.

“At a smaller school, you see familiar people more often, like when you pass people in the hallway, but here, you have to make an effort to reach out to people and make friends,” Megan Niblock, senior in chemical engineering and director of the Transfer Student Association, said. “Moving to a new city and learning where everything is, that can be hard, and having a group of people who are in the same situation as you makes college so much easier.”

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Rafael Garcia
I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.