When UNI’s advising offices moved into a new location, the wheels in Danielle Weide’s head started turning. As assistant director of transfer recruitment, she’s long dreamed of opening a center to provide services to UNI’s significant population of incoming transfer students.
That dream of a dedicated space for transfer students came to fruition in January when the new Transfer Student Center opened in Gilchrist 028.
“UNI is the perfect fit for transfer students and this just takes it one step further,” said Weide. “When a transfer student doesn’t know where else to turn, we are there. We want to show them that they are important to the university, and we value what they bring to our campus and our community.”
Transfer students often have different expectations than traditional first-year students. According to Weide, that’s why UNI, with its small class sizes, is such a great fit.
“A lot of students are used to the one-on-one interactions they receive at their community colleges. They build strong relationships and often expect that to continue with someone at UNI,” she said. “Fortunately, at UNI, it does, because we put a strong emphasis on assisting transfer students through the transition to our university. The faculty and staff here at UNI truly care.”
A third of new UNI students are transfers, and UNI has been recognized for cultivating a welcoming environment for them. International transfer student honor society Phi Theta Kappa has consistently named UNI a top school for transfer students. The new Transfer Student Center builds on that legacy.
"UNI is excited to be able to offer this great new resource for transfer students," said Director of Admissions Terri Crumley. "We are proud of the excellent education UNI offers transfer students, and the new Transfer Student Center will provide a central hub for these students to find the support UNI is known for."
The center houses the transfer admissions offices, where transfer students can go to be connected to resources and support for their unique needs. According to Weide, these students are often more ethnically diverse and are often nontraditional students.
“We have many transfer students who are first generation college students, veterans or non-traditional students,” said Weide. “Transfer students, as a whole, come from a wide range of backgrounds. We've heard from faculty how much they enjoy having transfer students in their classrooms because of the different perspectives they bring.”
The center also has a small lounge area, which will serve as a meeting spot for the campus transfer student group, Transfer Advocacy Involvement Group (TAIG). Since transfers typically spend only two years on campus, quickly making connections is important and TAIG and the center are already helping do that.
“I believe getting involved is one of the best ways to make connections as a transfer student. I have met so many amazing people, ” said Kylie Wise, a senior finance management and marketing sales double major who is a member of TAIG. “I have visited the Transfer Student Center for coffee chats. There are games to play, coffee and hot cocoa to drink, and friendly faces to talk to.”
According to Weide, the center’s commitment to transfer students speaks to UNI’s commitment to student success and to diversity.
“Having a center that is specific for incoming transfer students shows the dedication the university has to transfer students. I want to make sure that is always in people's minds, as it’s an important part of who we are as a university” she said. “We need to make sure that we understand the backgrounds of all students, not just those traditional first year students. We need to learn about each other's differences, and we need to embrace those differences.”
With the establishment of the center, UNI’s commitment is coming through to students. Sophomore communication studies major and new transfer student Mackenzie Kielty was worried transfer students wouldn’t be a focus at a four-year university, but quickly found that, at UNI, the opposite is true.
"I am very happy that UNI has created a transfer center, because I think transfer students are a group of individuals that often get overlooked," said Kielty. "I have realized here at UNI, everyone is very kind and eager to talk to you, or help with anything."
The week of March 8 is Transfer Week at UNI. There are a number of virtual workshops prospective students can attend, and application fees for transfers are waived for the entire week. For more information, visit https://admissions.uni.edu/transfer-week.