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Transfer Students Often Have Trouble Graduating On Time

February 6, 2018

The University of New Haven accepts nearly 300 transfer students every semester. With over 100 degree programs and 70 minors, students have a variety of different careers to pursue. The application process is not the difficult part, it is the after effect that makes students wonder if transferring was the best option.

Tatiana Bernal, a sophomore at the university, transferred three semesters ago and was supposed to be a junior. But because the university only accepted certain credits, she entered with first-year status.

“I hate the fact that I was almost done, and they basically made me start all over again. I think that the registrar should try harder to match classes from different universities to the ones offered here,” said Bernal.

The university’s website says “transfer applicants must submit official/certified course descriptions or syllabi, with exact course names and numbers, for all post-secondary (university/college) academic work attempted so that it may be evaluated for possible transfer of credit.” The registrar office must deal with every new transfer – that is about 4,936 undergraduates, which does not include graduate students.

“The registrar office came across as they did not want to be bothered,”said Bernal. “I had to ask numerous people for help and to get answers to any questions I had. It was not the easiest task trying to communicate with the university,” said Bernal.

The registrar office is also responsible for changing student’s concentrations and minors. About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Evan Grady, a senior at the university, was supposed to graduate in May of 2018, but because of the lack of communication in the office, Grady must stay for an extra semester.

“I tried to change my major two years ago with the help of the registrar, and after four attempts, it was finally changed,” said Grady. Each concentration has different types of pre-requisites they require. When a student changes their course of study, this may require a student to start over.

“They lost my paperwork sometimes, and said it was incomplete sometimes, yet they never alerted me that there was any issue,” said Grady. “Instead moved on to the next person and I was left behind. It feels like some students just get forgotten or left behind, and when you ask for help, you are talked down to and treated kind of poorly,” said Grady.

The registrar makes their best attempt to ensure a smooth transition to the university and still graduate in a timely manner.

“We try to get to everyone in order. Our goal is to try and respond to the students in the order they arrived,” said Carol Kane, a clerk at the registrar office.

Donna Kennedy, an administrative clerk, said, “I have worked here a long time, things may not go as planned when it comes to a college students’ academic career. We just want students to understand that we work as hard as we can for them,” said Kennedy.

Spokespeople at the registrar’s office say they do not make the rules when it comes to the courses required for degrees, rather than the responsibility of the department of education that makes the requirements, and the university must follow them.

“If we let one person skip over a certain requirement, we will have to let all students do that, and that is just impossible,” said Kane.

The U.S. Department of Education says on average, a transfer student loses 13 credits already earned and paid for – almost a whole semester lost. To graduate on time, a student needs to take 15 hours a semester’s worth of work. Public colleges and universities within some states have been pushed to take each others credits.

Bobby Velez who moved from Connecticut to Florida said Florida guarantees that students who complete associate’s degrees at its community colleges can take all their credits with them to a Florida public four-year university. But even if the state of Connecticut can improve policies, credits successfully transferred among public colleges and universities within the same states, they would solve less than a quarter of the problem, since far more students transfer across state lines, losing an average of 13 credits if they go from one public institution to another, according to the Department of Education.

Colleges don’t get paid for courses students took somewhere else. And the way their graduation rates are calculated, transfer students don’t count. Only students who start and finish at the same school does. Although transfer students are not calculated into the ranking, schools do get paid when the students take classes.

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