WWU takes steps to ease the way for transfers
|11/22/2011||Mary Ann Beahon|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||(573) 592-1127|
The past year has seen a startling number of students flocking to their local community colleges for their associate’s degrees or to work on their general education requirements before transferring to state or private four-year colleges. The answer to the unspoken question of why, is the cost.
According to College Board, the average price of a private four-year college is $27,293 per year, while public two-year institutions charge about $2,713 per year. With incomes stagnant and reductions in federal and private financial aid, many students are saving money where they can.
Tiffany Bounds, a May 2011 social work graduate, was one such student. She attended Moberly Area Community College for a year and then transferred to WWU to complete her degree.
“I was able to get my common studies out of the way, so that I could focus on my major when I got to William Woods. Going to MACC first allowed me to graduate without any student loans at all. ”
As a result of this move towards transferring, William Woods University has begun a campus-wide initiative to streamline the transfer process.
Bonnie Carr, WWU academic advising director, explained, “There are more students going to community colleges, but many of them still want a four-year degree, so we want to make it as easy for them as possible.”
This move towards simplicity includes
- adding more articulation agreements with community colleges,
- adding a page to the university’s new website specifically tailored to the needs of transfer students,
- reaching out to community college students and
- allowing accepted/deposited transfer students to register for classes with their graduating class, instead of separately.
Articulation agreements have always been a feature of the university, but there is now a concentrated effort to sign these agreements with colleges that offer associate’s degrees in WWU’s specialties. The idea of an articulation agreement is that students get their associate’s degree at another college and then transfer to WWU, follow an outlined schedule of courses and receive their bachelor’s degree in two additional years.
WWU currently has eight articulation agreements with community colleges, notably with Scottsdale Community College for equestrian science, Johnson County Community College for ASL interpreting and Linn State Technical College for business and management information systems.
Although she didn’t transfer under an articulation agreement, Heather Cieszynski, a senior equine administration major from Warrenville, Ill., came to WWU because of the equine program.
“I was at a community college back home getting my gen eds done and decided to come here for the equine program, because that’s what I have always wanted to pursue as my career.”
“What is really going to make the difference to transfer students is the webpage when that goes up in December, and the way admissions is reaching out to transfer students,” said Tom Frankman, associate dean of academic services.
According to Sarah Munns, dean of admissions at WWU, the new web page will make the transfer process more student-friendly.
“It’s going to include everything from a condensed form of the articulation agreements, information about the enrollment and registration process to housing options,” Munns said.
In the past, William Woods University set up a booth in the community college’s dining hall and waited for students to come to them. Now, they’re more proactive—getting out into the classrooms and giving presentations about the opportunities available to transfer students.
“One thing that sets us apart from other four-year universities is that we have really generous scholarship opportunities for transfer students. Other colleges just don’t reward students for their transfer GPAs the way we do,” said Munns. “Additionally, students may receive the LEAD award as a transfer student.”
WWU’s admissions staff is reaching out in particular to members of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year college students. Membership is by invitation only and requirements include a 3.5 GPA and 12 completed hours toward an associate’s degree.
The most immediate difference transfer students will see is in the class registration process. Starting with registration for fall 2012, transfer students who have been accepted, completed their paperwork and paid their deposits will be able to register with other students in their graduating class.
“In the past, transfers registered after everyone else, so they had to take whatever classes weren’t full, which may or may not be a class that they needed,” said Carr.
Anna Burman of Ramona, Calif., a business administration major who transferred from San Diego Community College, likes the changes being made.
“The webpage will be very helpful; I know I would have used it during my transfer. I think that next year’s transfers will be very lucky,” she said.
Making the transfer process more student-friendly will be an ongoing initiative as the university makes more information available to prospective transfer students and is able to reach more students in community colleges. William Woods University’s mission has always been centered on the students, and giving them a quality college experience and streamlining the transfer process is no different.
Kindra Ford, a sophomore equine general studies major from Wheaton, Ill., said, “I decided to transfer to WWU because they had the program that I wanted, they accepted many of my previous credit hours and everyone on staff that I met wanted to help me succeed here.”
“WWU is thinking about the transfer process as a holistic approach and in doing so I am confident the attention to detail within all offices will lessen the stress of students who are transferring to WWU,” Munns said. “In turn, I’d like to see this increase enrollment of our transfer population.”