Temple accepted nearly 7,000 undergraduate students this year, according to the admissions office. Approximately 40 percent of them were transfer students.
So this summer, Temple introduced its first-ever Transfer On-Campus Day, which was the first time an on-campus orientation was held specifically for students who were transferring into Temple.
Before 2006, transfer students had no orientation in place. Students transferring into Temple would come in for an adviser meeting but had no other introduction to the university. In 2006, Temple began an online orientation for transfer students.
The orientation was the first aimed toward transfer students alone, and it provided information regarding campus security, Diamond Dollars and academics.
It was only this summer, in preparation for the Fall 2008 semester, that Temple began offering on-campus orientations for transfer students.
“They missed getting to know campus, getting to meet students,” said Amy Hecht, the associate dean of students. “We wanted to address that. Transfer students have different needs than freshmen.”
The orientation was held three times during the summer: June 26, July 18 and Aug. 22. Running from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the day included a presentation on campus safety, a question-and-answer session with current students, free lunch and a chance to socialize with other incoming students.
However, only 8.2 percent of the incoming transfer class attended any of the three Transfer On-Campus Days. Some students were not aware that the orientations existed, but most students that did know about it found out indirectly.
“I went onto Temple’s transfer Web site because I took the online orientation, and I saw this thing about an optional on-campus day,” said Andrew Agren, an undeclared sophomore. “I only found out about it through the Web site. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known.”
Not all students who were aware of the event chose to attend.
“It felt redundant,” said Sarah Weidner, a junior pre-pharmacy major. “I mean, I did the tour before I got accepted to Temple. It seemed kind of like a waste of travel time and money to come to a tour that I had already taken.”
In contrast, freshman students have two options for their on-campus orientation. The local orientation is a two-day overnight visit, while the out-of-town orientation is a four-day overnight. While the freshman orientations include course registration, the Transfer On-Campus Day does not, meaning transfer students must make a separate trip to campus in order meet with an adviser.
Not only did many students find that the event was too short, but some were surprised to find many other transfers didn’t take advantage of the days.
“We got this note saying we should get there early because they were expecting 50 people, and I got there and there were 12 people,” Agren said. “I already knew the campus. I went there to meet people, but I only met one person out of 12. Basically, if people had no idea about Temple or campus, it would be helpful, but I already knew that stuff. I wanted to meet people.”
The Office of Orientation has not yet begun work on next year’s Transfer On-Campus Day, but Hecht said her office will continue to lend a helping hand.
“We’re still going to try to reach out to students,” Hecht said. “That’s really what it’s about.”
Emily Barrale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.