Amid pandemic, transfers to Temple find new opportunities

Temple students share experiences transferring during the pandemic.

Zoe Litchman, a sophomore business management major, stands on Polett Walk near Liacouras Walk on Oct. 24. | AMBER RITSON / TEMPLE NEWS

When Rosalee Banks walked onto Temple University’s campus this August to attend her in-person class after virtually attending Montgomery Community College for two years, it validated her decision to transfer to Temple during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coming down to campus and getting to experience the campus community for the first time, I definitely understand why so many people were pushing so hard to come back, because it is truly an experience being here, so I can appreciate that,” said Banks, a first-year transfer and junior criminal justice major.

After transferring to Temple during the COVID-19 pandemic, some students have become more involved on campus by joining clubs and organizations, while others have felt it is harder to connect with others after switching schools. 

Banks chose Temple because of the flexible schedules it offers for commuters and hoped to register for a fully virtual semester, because she wanted to work while attending school, she said. However, after the semester began, her Criminal Justice Research Methods class was moved in person.

Banks now looks forward to coming to campus to participate in student organization meetings and events she’s involved in, like Temple Student Government and Community Cats Club, she said.

This semester, 1,551 transfer students enrolled at Temple, wrote Shawn Abbott, vice provost for Admissions, Financial Aid and Enrollment Management in an email to The Temple News. 

Temple saw a decrease in transfer students from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020, with 2,210 transfer students enrolled in 2019 and 1,793 enrolled in 2020, according to the Temple University Fact Book. 

Yashitha Bujala, a first-year transfer and sophomore health professions major, is able to get more involved in clubs, like Temple Thaalam, a classical Indian dance team at Temple, since transferring to Temple this fall from Rutgers University. 

“I’m very close to campus—five minutes away—and there’s a lot of places you can meet people, not just dorming, like the commuters lounge,” Bujala said.

Bujala planned to transfer in Spring 2021 after getting a spot in the Pre-Physician Assistant program, a program which gives students the opportunity to shadow physician assistants at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. But because of limited in-person classes, she decided to wait until this semester.

Zoe Litchman, a first-year transfer and sophomore business management major, has found it difficult to make friends since transferring to Temple from the University of Pittsburgh for the Fall 2021 semester, she said.

“It’s a little bit harder to meet people in classes just because not all of my classes are in person,” said Litchman, a first-year transfer and sophomore business management major. “I think that it’s a little bit harder to meet people when everyone’s still wearing a mask.”

Litchman felt comfortable transferring during the COVID-19 pandemic because she got vaccinated and knew Temple would be requiring students and faculty in in-person classes to be vaccinated, she said.

On Aug. 13, Temple mandated that all students, faculty and staff must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15, except in cases of religious or medical exemption, The Temple News reported. Temple then later extended the deadline to Nov. 15. 

Currently 95 percent of students and employees are fully vaccinated at Temple, according to Temple’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Litchman was glad she was able to tour the university and her apartment in person before starting this semester because she wanted to get a feel for campus life before moving in, she said.

Litchman encourages students to transfer instead of waiting for the COVID-19 pandemic to end because there’s still plenty of opportunities for students to get involved and meet other students, she said.

“Transferring in a pandemic isn’t as scary as it seems to be,” Litchman said. “There’s still a lot of unknowns with the pandemic, but, you know, I have a lot of faith that things are gonna get better soon.” 

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