Helping a Student Considering a Transfer
It is frustrating to hear that a student is considering transferring: it can feel like the student is both rejecting your as an advisor and your college. But recognize that many students think about transferring in the course of their first year, as it is indeed a difficult transition both socially and academically. Good advising support in the best scenario can help students find their place here at Augie; even if a student leaves, though, good advising can help ease that student's anxiety and frustration in a difficult time.
In these situations, then, remember two things:
- You do not have to be an Augie salesperson: offer you support, and demonstrate that you would like to help the student make the best decision.
- Just because a student talks about transferring does not mean s/he will do so: continue to contact and support the student even if you think they will be leaving.
As always, ask a lot of questions, and listen carefully:
- ask the student what expectations they had for Augustana? In what ways have those expectations been met or not been met?
- where are they planning on going? what do they hope to find there?
- are there problems that you are having here that might follow you to another school? are there ways to address those problems now?
- If the student is having difficulty paying for college, refer them to the Financial Aid Office.
- is the student running from a problem, or seeking out a solution (wants a major that Augie doesn't have, needs to be near a sick family member, etc...)? If the latter, a transfer may be a good idea. But if the former, the student needs to consider whether leaving here will solve the problem.
Encourage the student to become more connected to campus: this is a key to retaining students:
- point out opportunities or resources that students might be unaware of.
- help the student enroll in courses that might spark an interest, even if that means they might be taking electives rather than required courses.
- help the student explore extracurricular activites (look in the "Student Life" section of the college catalog). Encourage first year students to participate in Explore and other events sponsored by the Office of Student Activities.
- keep in contact with the student through the rest of the first year, and continue to encourage student involvement. Even if s/he transfers, the student will have had a good experience.
If the student seems to be running from a problem rather than toward a solution, direct the student to resources that might help s/he come to terms with the underlying problem:
- Career Center, Counseling Center, CVR, RWC, etc...
- Contact Evelyn Campbell, and let her know the student is thinking of transferring, and why. Evelyn can often suggest ways that Augustana can provide for the academic, social, and financial needs of the student.
If a student is set upon leaving:
- Respect the decision of the student: for some students, transferring is the best option, and does not mean that the student, institution, or advisor has failed in some way.
- Consider sending a brief note expressing your wishes for the student's future success.