Transfer focus

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November 28, 2011

9:46 PM

Without a doubt, there is a clearly laid out red brick TWAMP road that leads many students to the College of William and Mary — it involves signing up for an SAT prep course, taking as many Advanced Placement classes as possible, and being captain of a varsity team at your high school in NoVa. Receiving the long-awaited acceptance packet is a huge accomplishment — you worked hard, now you get the reward.

But there is another group of students at the College who take a different path. Transfer students enter the College with varying educational and socio-economic backgrounds. With recent increases in the number of transfer students at the College, the school has shown state solidarity, while continuing to diversify the student body.

Agreements made between Virginia community colleges and state universities encourage students to attend a community college for two years and then transfer to a Virginia state college. While some critics may argue that this cheapens the admissions process, community colleges have instituted various programs to help students prepare for transferring to a four year university and to insure the students are still earning their spots at the colleges. By accepting more in-state community college transfers, the College can show that it is continuing to give back to the state without having to accept slightly below-par NoVa students in order to appease state delegates pandering to their constituents. The College can prove it can increase diversity without looking out of state, which could in turn persuade the delegates in Richmond to be more generous when budgeting our funding.

The College is always harping on diversity — this is its chance to finally expand its diversity without breaking those dreaded in-state-to-out-of-state-student ratios. Even though a visit to Earl Gregg Swem Library on Sunday night might reflect otherwise, not all students at the College are Type A overachievers. Just because these students may have had interests other than getting into the College of William and Mary does not mean they don’t deserve to enroll at the College. Increasing the College’s diversity is as simple as accepting students from different backgrounds and with different learning styles.

While the College preaches a lot about its diversity, it needs to do a better job in meeting the needs of a diverse student body. During Orientation, the College sponsors various diversity talks, but the majority of
Orientation forces students into the TWAMP mold. Orientation for transfer students in particular should be revamped to focus more on the individual. Unlike regular freshmen, transfer students have highly varied degrees of education, come from very different backgrounds, and are members of different age groups. The College should group them accordingly. That way, transfer students who have already attended a four year university don’t have to hear the same speech twice, but students who have never lived on a college campus aren’t lost.

It’s time for the College to actually enrich diversity at the College by providing a more individualized experience for all students. Most importantly, keep the transfers coming.

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