Adapting to Aggie life
Program offers guidance, resources to transfer students
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 00:10
Coming to a university large in both enrollment and acreage such as Texas A&M can be daunting and downright intimidating for transfer students. To ensure a seamless transition into Aggie life, the office of Peer Academic Services launched the Transfer Student Program across campus this semester.
Valerie Coleman, program coordinator for PAS, said the campus-wide program came after a successful pilot program in Fall 2012 with students from six colleges.
“The Transfer Student Program is designed for incoming transfer students,” Coleman said. “It aims to help them hit the ground running and access all the resources available to them, make connections with other transfer students and connect with Transfer Student Peer Mentors. All of our peer mentors are former transfer students and are eager to share their experience on avoiding any pitfalls as a new transfer student at TAMU.”
Conversational Peer Mentors partnered with the TSP to launch the new “Let’s Talk” program this semester. The program provides undergraduate international transfer students with a relaxed atmosphere in which to practice their English. TSP has also arranged workshops on topics such as “The Grad School Process” and “Jobs and Internships” to better prepare students for life at and beyond A&M.
Joshua Trammell, senior kinesiology major and transfer mentor for the College of Education and Human Development, said mentoring is his way of giving back.
“Having been to four schools in three years, I have an intimate knowledge of the pain and sometime extreme difficulty and stress of the transfer process,” Trammell said. “Knowing what it’s like for other students to experience this, this is my way of giving back to the transfer community at large and keeping them from making the same mistakes I did upon transferring.”
Shelby Halligan, junior wildlife and fisheries sciences major and transfer mentor for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said she feels like mentoring is a way of paying forward the help she received as a transfer students.
“I was in [a first year transfer student’s] shoes what seems like yesterday,” Halligan said. “I know it can be overwhelming at times and all you want to do is run the other way. I want to make the transition glitch free and enjoyable, not daunting. There is so much A&M has to offer and every student, transfer or not, should make the most out of their stay here at this wonderful campus.”
The TSP also provides academic mentoring, supplemental instruction and helps students form study groups and engage in on- and off-campus social events.
“Transfer students are not freshmen,” Coleman said. “They have had some college experience. They’re a diverse population made of returning students who have previously been in the workforce, veterans or even non-traditional students, i.e., married and/or have children and some even commute.”
Coleman said transfer students can face unique challenges that only become apparent as the semester progresses, making the TSP incredibly helpful.
In promoting social integration and friendship, Coleman said peer mentors from engineering, agriculture & life science and education host small group socials.
“We have several study groups going,” Coleman said. “We have our TSP Halloween Bash and TSP Dance Class coming up. We’ve gone to the movies twice and attended a show at the MSC.”
Most of transfer mentors are upperclassmen with hectic schedules, but Dulce Ortiz, junior management major and mentor for the Mays Business school, said she is always happy to take time to help someone else navigate the transfer student experience.
“I’m doing this because I went through a tough time transitioning into A&M and would have loved someone to guide me and give me a bit of advice,” Ortiz said. “So if I can provide this for one person that would be awesome.”