Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Transfer students adjusting during first month at UMass

Lindsey Davis/Daily Collegian File Photo

This week, 1,152 new transfer students at the University of Massachusetts are finishing their first month on campus.

This year’s transfers form one of the most academically strong pools of transfer students that the University has enrolled in recent years. According to the Office of Institutional Research, the average GPA of incoming transfer students over the past six years has been on the rise. This year’s incoming transfer students have an average college GPA of 3.32.

Rachel Glod transferred from UMass Boston as a junior this semester. Glod plans on attending graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree, so affordability was important to her when considering possible programs.

“I was looking at some other places, but I thought UMass would be a good alternative,” she said. “I didn’t see the importance of spending a lot now, especially because it’s a great option, academic-wise.”

Glod is taking advantage of the academic offerings at UMass. She is a student in the Commonwealth Honors College, pursuing an interdisciplinary major that draws from gender studies, sociology and philosophy in the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program. She is also taking classes at Smith College this semester.

For many new transfer students, especially for those living off campus, becoming part of campus life can be challenging, among other obstacles that come with adjusting to a new situation.

For Glod, “integrating into social life” is the most challenging aspect of being a transfer student. She added that the distance from her Northampton residence makes commuting to campus for events outside of academics time-consuming.

“Participating would feel like taking another class,” she said of the added commitment.

Video: UMass transfer students discuss new experiences from Daily Collegian on Vimeo.

New transfer student Tristan Snow Cobb shares a similar sentiment with Glod about commuting to campus, saying “For me, the largest challenge is commuting, living 50 minutes away by bus and car.”

Snow Cobb enrolled at UMass this semester after completing an associate’s degree at Greenfield Community College five years ago. He chose to enroll at UMass because he enjoys math and helping his co-workers with their taxes, and UMass offers a consumer and family economics track within the resource economics major.

While some transfer students opt to live off campus, others live in on-campus residence halls. This semester, McNamara Hall in Sylvan became reserved exclusively for incoming transfer students, according to the UMass housing website.

Steven Bradshaw, a junior sports management major and new transfer student from Bristol Community College, is living in McNamara Hall. He says the dorm is “like a library” due to its general quietness throughout the week, save for a few select weekend hours.

McNamara Hall has suite-style living arrangements, with single and double rooms clustered around a shared bathroom and living space. Bradshaw sees benefits and drawbacks of placing transfer students in suites. He sees living in a deluxe single room as a benefit, but the social aspect of suite living is a drawback, as residents are more closed-off to each other.

“There are kids on my floor who don’t know a single person on the floor,” he said. “And that’s a big issue for socializing.”

For Bradshaw, the academic adjustment to UMass has been relatively easy, but the transition to campus living has been less smooth.

“Living on campus is the hard part,” he said. “Doing weekly laundry and needing to walk far for food for the first time is hard whether you are a freshman or transfer student.”

Sam Weinstein, a senior kinesiology major and pre-medical student, transferred to UMass after completing her freshman year at the University of New Hampshire. She lived in Sylvan her first year, which she found to be a positive experience.

“It’s not such a bad place and my roommates ended up being my best friends,” she said of Sylvan. “Having to walk to Thompson at 9 a.m. sucks, but it helps with the ‘sophomore 15’,” she said jokingly.

She pointed out the on-campus resources that new transfer students may not know about, such as the Off-Campus Student Center, located in room 314 of the Student Union. In addition, McNamara Hall houses a living and learning community for community college transfer students and provides regular programming for its transfer residents.

Weinstein had some advice for new transfer students: “Get involved, step outside your comfort zone.” She also stressed the importance of keeping a sunny outlook while adjusting to the newness of UMass.

“Go in with a positive attitude,” she said. “A negative attitude will give you a negative experience. So don’t focus on the negative, focus on the positive. Remember that you transferred in for a reason.”

Haley Schilling can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    jbh23Oct 4, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I had a blast as a transfer living in Mcnamara, I also got to live with a bunch of international students so that definitely helped. Everyone loves to shit on Sylvan but it is what you make it.