An issue on campus that may be overlooked right now is the lack of attention given to transfer students at Ithaca College. How many students transfer here every year? According to the Ithaca College website, about 100 students transfer to Ithaca College from other colleges and universities every year. This is not something that should be taken lightly. I am currently a senior in the integrated marketing communications program. I transferred during my junior year in Fall 2020, and it has been extremely stressful. Trying to start and finish a major as a transfer student is hard enough, but trying to build relationships and find connections and jobs on top of it can be completely overwhelming. There was a huge disconnect during Spring 2021. While watching non-transfer students in my classes already have great internship opportunities, I saw myself getting denied and discouraged when internship coordinators didn’t even respond to me. What was the reason? Was I not good enough? Did I not fit their standards? Being a transfer student during a pandemic put me behind in gaining that one-on-one experience and getting internship opportunities to work with different companies. Being online for over a year also created a disconnect with staff and faculty, which made it harder to reach out with concerns and ask for help.
Yes, at the time, I was technically a junior, but I really felt like a freshman. All these factors and stressors affect my mental health because I’m surrounded by people my age who are way more successful than me and it feels like they are above me with that extra experience. It’s a discouraging environment that can make you feel like you’re not good enough.
Colleges tend to specifically focus on freshmen, but transfer students are also just as important. Personally, I think Ithaca College should have a program dedicated to transfer students who may be behind or feeling discouraged. The college should have opportunities that are only designated for the transfer student program that can help students boost their experience in their field. Having networking nights for transfer students to be able to meet different faculty or connections in the Ithaca community could also be beneficial.
Another opportunity that the college offers is studying abroad. That is a very important experience and opportunity you do not get often. If the transfer student program had a special study abroad process just for transfer students, this would help eliminate the issue of transfer students being “left behind” and still give them the experience and opportunity to travel the world.
Transferring to a new school can already be overwhelming, but to have to figure it all out in just two years can be extremely difficult and set you up for failure. By establishing this transfer student program, I truly believe it could help transfer students deal with issues unique to them and help set them up for success.