Transfer students deserve better orientation

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Photo Credit: Mel Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

For transfer students, it’s easy to see disparities in the way freshmen and transfers are treated here at UT. It all starts before orientation, where we’re behind other students in class schedule knowledge and registration periods. Additionally, we don’t get as much information about our opportunities in organizations and major internships. For our success, UT administrators should reorganize orientations to remove any inequalities between transfers and freshmen.

Transfer orientations take place later in the summer, during the last three sessions of the seven for freshmen. Those who have earlier orientation times register for classes first, thus closing off options for those coming in later who may need it. While spots are reserved for transfer students, some of these are for basic core requirements, and may not be for the specific classes a student needs. That means there are four sessions of freshmen registering for classes that transfer students, who are a year or two ahead in our studies, might need.

We get fewer options as a result of this and may not be able to graduate on time or graduate with the classes that’ll teach us skills needed for our careers. For the rest of UT, upperclassmen are prioritized and given earlier registration times because they have less time to take classes they need to graduate. Just like upperclassmen, we deserve to have better registration times than the majority of freshmen because of our degree advancement.  

Additionally, freshmen get two college meetings compared to transfers’ one, where we find out about on-campus opportunities, events and organizations. Freshmen get an additional day and thus more time for another meeting. However, there are so many opportunities at UT we don’t know about right away, and these meetings are a chance for administrators to tell us about them.

Having only one meeting limits the information offered and leaves transfers behind on what we know. Freshmen have four years to learn about available opportunities — transfer students only have two or three .

While UT does have pages such as Hornslink and other college sites that might make up the difference, Isabel Otero Zubizarreta, transfer student and anthropology junior, says that “many organizations on the website have not been updated in years; it is hard to tell what they currently do or if they are even active anymore.”

Spreading this information out over several pages puts transfer students at a loss. We need information about what’s available so that we could make the best of our time here. We don’t have a first year to find opportunities — we need this information right away.

“Maybe it seems like a small thing, but knowing all the options you have (or at least many of them) and meeting people who are part of these organizations can change your experience in college and hopefully get you involved in something you enjoy,” Otero Zubizarreta said.

While having an additional day like freshmen do might be difficult to arrange, UT could work on organizing information about students’ respective colleges, majors and potential organizations into emails or pamphlets that show transfer students where to find opportunities.

By analyzing how orientation affects transfers and enacting some changes, UT would make the lives of transfer students much easier and thus provide a smoother transition. We should not be hindered of the right to succeed just because of our status as transfers.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstakenly stated that there were eight orientation sessions instead of seven, of which three are reserved for transfer students. 

Rose is an English and rhetoric and writing junior from The Woodlands. He is a senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jeffsroses.