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Communicating with Transfer Students: Conducting a Departmental Audit

Campus departments must be intentional in their communication efforts with transfers. This calls for recurrent appraisal of virtual and printed materials, as well as the programmatic elements of orientation and transition programs.

The following questions regarding the home page should be explored:
  • Is there a link for transfer students prominently displayed on the department home page? (It is also helpful to similarly examine the university’s home page.)

  • Are the photos on the department’s home page reflective of the demographics of the transfer population?

  • If reference is made to new students, are these individuals defined both as new-from-high-school students and new transfer students?

  • Is the other language, as well as the topics addressed on the home page, relevant to both transfer and first-year students?

Regarding pages developed specifically for transfer orientation and transition programs:
  • Are any assumptions are being made about the students reading these pages?

  • Do the web pages provide a collective approach to assisting transfer students by offering links to related programs and services in other departments or divisions?

  • Are there opportunities for prospective and new students to hear the voices of current transfer students?

  • Is the language free of university-specific acronyms and references that may be confusing to students unfamiliar with institutional departments, policies, and practices?

Similar questions can be asked when evaluating printed materials. It is also beneficial to enlist the help of current transfer students to assess printed and virtual materials to ensure that appropriate and intended messages are being communicated.

Questions for Reflection:
  1. How often do you review your departmental printed and virtual materials for transfer student-appropriate messages?

  2. What lessons learned about communicating with transfers would others on your campus benefit from hearing?

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