Transfer Students Adjusting to U. New Haven Campus

Amanda M. Castro, Contributing Writer

Having to adjust to a new college or university can be challenging, especially if you have become comfortable at your old school. The process can take a toll on students’ academic experiences, especially if they are accustomed to the dynamics of a different campus and environment. 

However, for wide-eyed transfer Maddy Mandeville, a sophomore criminal justice major, it was a smooth transition to the 3University of New Haven, after a rough start at her previous school.

Mandeville had a hard time adjusting to college life at Lasell University in Newtown, Mass., mainly because, she said, because she didn’t have a positive experience at the university.“I transferred to UNH because the program for criminal justice is internationally known and they have the best opportunities that will prepare you for the future in anything pertaining to criminal justice,” said Mandeville.

According to a 2012 survey by the Chronicle.com, a third of college students transfer before graduating. The report said that the usual path of enrolling into and graduating from the same college or university is fairly rare.

Corinne Merjave, university director of transfer enrollment, said that each semester, the university has around 100 transfer students who come in for the spring semester and about 200 for the fall semester.

Merjave said the transfer staff at West Haven keeps up with their transfer students’ academic progress. It’s a way for them to keep track of what the staff needs to do and how they can improve for the next year, said Merjave.

“The transfer process got super-flexible with, considering transfer credits from new students,” said Merjave.

The transfer staff, according to Merjave, added a new policy at the Center for Student Success, which added a transfer- and military-specific advisor to give those students additional support.

Support is something many transfer students seek. 

“With a transfer student […] the strengths they have is that they sort of already know what college is about,” said Charles Anderson, director of counseling and psychological services at the university. “But I think that the risk to transfer students is that they are uprooting themselves from a community that they’ve become familiar with. They may not have liked it so much, but they may have made some friends that they now have to reestablish and build connections with other students at the new place.” 

Nancy Wolf, lawyer, college planner, and young adult mental health advisor for the Noodle.com wrote in a recent article, “Sometimes, the reason to transfer is straightforward. For instance, there may be issues related to a student’s finances or preferred location.”

But sometimes, she said the reasons are more complex.

That was the case for Mandeville, who not only transferred for the academics, but also to give herself a chance to focus on herself.

“I was so depressed and isolated myself in my room,” said Mandeville. “I felt like I was in high school, but at UNH, I’ve been so much happier and more social. It’s the best decision I have made in the past two years.”