Transfer students have made up about one-third of incoming students each fall semester at Temple for the past five years.
This semester, Temple’s Office of Orientation, New Students and Family Programs launched a new Transfer Mentor Program to help incoming transfer students transition to the university.
The office plans to offer this program along with other resources designated for transfer students, like the transfer-exclusive events, seminars, and official transfer students’ Facebook group.
The mentor program pairs new transfer students with a volunteer transfer ambassador, a student who transferred to Temple in a previous semester. Volunteers usually oversee a small group of transfers. They attend social and educational meetings with other members of the program, allowing the transfer students to form connections as well as learn about the school, said Deanne DeCrescenzo, director of the office.
“Most transfer students come in and have an advising session and then they jump right into the semester,” DeCrescenzo said. “There’s not a ton of support in their transition, and they don’t always make the peer connections the same way that an incoming, first-year student would be able to.”
Lesa Shirley, a sophomore media studies and production major, transferred from Bucks County Community College this semester and said the program is extremely effective.
“Transfers are a little different from the regular freshmen,” she said. “It’s kind of a no man’s land, but the programs they have here for transfer students are phenomenal.”
New transfer students could have requested a mentor by Sept. 2, by filling out a questionnaire that asked about their interests and what they were looking for in a transfer ambassador.
Jaclyn Ricafort, a sophomore international business major, transferred from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. this semester and enrolled in the program as a mentee.
She said her transfer ambassador and other mentees are all Fox School of Business students and are in a group chat where they talk about what classes to sign up for and upcoming transfer events.
“It’s definitely made my transition a bit easier,” Ricafort said. “He’s always open to questions and everything to help us out, and he’s been super nice so far.”
Gina Rubinic, a senior real estate major, is a transfer ambassador in the program. She has eight mentees and tries to do one social and one educational event with them every two weeks, along with meeting with them one-on-one.
Rubinic transferred from Harrisburg Area Community College in fall 2017, and while her transfer experience was difficult, being around other transfers was a crucial part of her transition, she said.
“There was a lot of things I didn’t know that I needed to, and I wish I kind of had somebody older, wiser, kind of telling me ‘Hey, this is kind of how you should study for this class, should really go to these meetings, you should do this, that,’” Rubin said.
She added she would’ve enrolled in the program as a mentee if it existed when she transferred.
Shirley said transfers should not be afraid to get involved.
“Being involved is the life force of this experience and if you’re not involved, it’s fruitless,” she added.
Ricafort said signing up for the mentor program was part of seeing what opportunities Temple had to offer and meeting new people.
“To get the most out of the experience, you have to put yourself out of your comfort zone and get involved, because it starts with you,” she added. “You can’t just wait for something to come to you, you have to do it first.”
CORRECTION: A previous cutline misspelled “Colleen” in the photo credit.