In this post, National Transfer Student Ambassador Keirra Scott reflects on her experience attending the NISTS 2021 virtual annual conference in February. You can read more about Keirra's transfer story on the NISTS Blog.
1. How did your thinking about transfer change following the conference?
My original thoughts on transfer initiatives were that the vast majority of transfer professionals did not take the time to understand the unique struggles that non-traditional transfer students face. This narrative quickly changed after listening to many professionals throughout the conference reiterate that solutions to transfer students’ problems are not one size fit all, but rather a compilation of strategies that keep in mind the transfer student’s individualized circumstances, wants, and needs.
2. The overarching theme of the conference was, “Not So Secret Transfer Agents.” What would you say to professionals to encourage them to lean into that role?
I would tell professionals to be open to understanding the silent yet not-so-silent struggles transfer students face, such as adapting to heavier workloads and managing work-life balance. It takes a while to become adjusted, and having someone understand that can drastically help students build confidence in their abilities to succeed.
3. What did you learn from the other Transfer Student Ambassadors?
I learned much from the other transfer student ambassadors. But what stood out to me the most was that, although all of our stories and circumstances were unique, we shared many of the same struggles throughout our college journey, such as taking classes that do not transfer and feeling alone on campus.
4. What was your biggest conference takeaway?
One of my biggest takeaways from the conference happened during the plenary lecture, The Transfer Experience: Creating a More Equitable and Successful Postsecondary System. One of the presenters pointed out that a student earning a degree is not the end of their journey but rather the beginning. Often, graduates work hard to earn a degree and feel lost after graduation. This sentiment may be especially true for transfer students who have no idea how to navigate all the career options that suit them and their aspirations. Transfer professionals should keep this in mind while helping students formulate their plans for a successful college journey.
5. What are your plans for your program grant?
This fall, I plan to host a campus visit day for Henry Ford College students interested in transferring to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. We will begin the day with a visioning workshop that gives students a chance to reflect on their future goals and aspirations. Then we will take a campus tour and have lunch with current students who transferred to the university from a community college. The visit will end with a one-on-one meeting with a transfer advisor so that students can assess their next steps. Upon completion of my Masters in Management at the Ross School of Business in April 2022, I aspire to assist transfer students throughout their transition from a community college to a University. I know what it’s like to feel lost throughout the transfer process. When I first began my college journey, one of my personal goals was to be all of what I wish I had throughout my journey for someone else.
Do you know an outstanding transfer student?
Then please let us know! The Transfer Student Ambassador program invites up to four outstanding transfer students to add their voices to the national transfer conversation. In addition to registration and attendance for the NISTS annual conference, ambassadors receive a $500 scholarship plus a $500 transfer program grant to be used in collaboration with a faculty or staff member at the student's previous or current institution. More information about the award and application process is available on the TSA webpage.