Transfer students are San Diego State’s hidden gems

by Cassidy McCombs, Staff Writer


Generally speaking, most college freshmen experience a mixture of anxiety, excitement and anticipation prefacing their first semester. The possibilities are endless; new friends, crazy roommates, romantic interests and a newfound spirit of independence. There is a permanent feeling that a four-year degree program gives someone when they first begin their journey. Once those four years are over, it’ll seem like only a blink of time. New passions, a deeper understanding of self and long-lasting friendships will form in this short time-frame, and then the rest of one’s post-undergraduate life will begin.

As San Diego State’s newest freshman class find themselves reaching for their first couple copies of the Daily Aztec (a soon-to-be staple read for any campus-goers), so do another breed of first-time campus arrivals — transfers.

In a statistics report released by College Portraits, San Diego State University had 22,944 transfer applications in 2015, with 4,919 admissions and 3,501 enrollments. The total student enrollment in Fall 2015 for undergraduate juniors was 7,703 according to the Analytics Studies and Institutional Research at SDSU. This would make transfer students a little under half of the entire undergraduate junior level standing in 2015 — which is viable considering a little under half of first-time freshmen do not enroll through their sophomore year. SDSU boasts their growing population of transfer students, and so should everyone else on campus. Transfer students create a larger body of students and make up for the many students who do not proceed past their first few years at SDSU.

Transfer students are not as recognizable to other campus-goers as first-time freshmen. Some are older, rarely on campus or initially inactive to student life. As freshmen and other four-year track students may not empathize or know, transferring to a university is its own unique experience that has an undocumented learning-curve. Transfer students find their own paths and identities on campus that are not a stereotypical freshmen year. While freshmen grow into their place on campus, transfer students must make waves as other sophomore and junior-standing students have long-since familiarized themselves with SDSU’s campus prior to a transfer student’s arrival.

Being a transfer student has its own ups and downs, and  is an individualized experience. Understandably so, many transfer students have built a life beyond a strict four-year track plan in their time leading up to their university transfer. Some are transferring from other universities, but a majority of transfers hail from community colleges. Some choose to live on campus while others live either close by or choose to commute. Most freshmen do not have an initial option to opt out of the dorms or skip the meal plans; both of which help ground new students to their campus as they adjust to life away from home.

Transfer students bring a unique perspective to campus because of their diverse backgrounds. Many transfer students are San Diego natives, and know their way around the area beyond the campus limits. Other transfer students suddenly familiarize themselves with San Diego with only a couple years left until they graduate.

In order to ease the minds of transfer students, there are a few transfer myths to debunk. In a brief released by Analytic Studies and Institutional Research at SDSU titled “New Transfer Myths”, statistics show that transfer students have a higher standing GPA than first-time freshmen, new transfer students account for half of the Bachelor Degrees given each year and currently make up about 38 percent of SDSU’s incoming class. Transfer students are not as rare as one might think and they also thrive in academic success at SDSU. Transfer students should not hesitate to pursue their interests on campus and should feel confident in their addition to the student body.

While each freshman student brings a new voice and positive addition to SDSU’s campus, it is important to not forget the other first-time campus arrivals. Transfers are just as nervous about knowing their way around campus, making friends and finding their place as a new student.

As a transfer student myself, I can assure other transfer students that after the initial adjustment period I found my own place as a student on this campus, learned my favorite places to kill time and made some friends be it a smaller group than what one typically imagines to have in college. The other transfer students I’ve had the pleasure in meeting are all driven and have enriched my own experience at SDSU. Hopefully we can all reach out to all walks of life on this campus and create a more accepting and diverse campus this academic year.