Join University of Wisconsin–Madison in celebrating all that transfer students bring to campus this National Transfer Student Week!
National Transfer Student Week runs from Oct. 17-21, and this year’s theme is “Plug into Transfer,” to encourage universities to help transfer students “plug into” aid and resources.
Transfer students are an often-overlooked group that brings new ideas, skills, and experiences to the UW campus. The 1,155 transfer students who joined UW–Madison this year deserve to be celebrated.
UW has several opportunities available to show appreciation and encouragement for transfer students. For those who may be going through a difficult time adjusting to new surroundings on a new campus, there is Transfer Acts of Kindness, a program introduced by the Transfer Transition Program (TTP) in 2021. Students and staff can recognize an Outstanding Transfer Student or a Transfer Champion, a member of faculty that has supported transfer students in a remarkable way.
People recognized in Transfer Acts of Kindness will receive an email that they have been recognized, along with any comments the person left about them. The submitter can remain anonymous.
“Every year we get emails back to us and responses saying, ‘I really needed this. I appreciate this so much, this made my month.’ ” UW Transfer Engagement Coordinator Shelby Knuth said.
Staff can also decorate their offices to demonstrate support and appreciation for transfer students, and all Badgers are encouraged to reach out to any transfer students they know to share support.
Transfer students are a very diverse group, being more likely to be international students, parents, and first-generation college students, according to Knuth. Transfer students are also more likely to come from low-income backgrounds.
“There’s a transfer stigma on campus, that’s not unique to UW–Madison,” Knuth said. “ … transfer students are transferring here, they’re staying here, and they’re graduating here, just like our first-year students do.”
When transfer students first arrive at a new school, they follow what Knuth called a W curve. At first, there is the excitement of a new step in life, followed by culture shock, when transfer students feel out of place in their new surroundings. Support from the community can help transfer students overcome this feeling of alienation.
“We want to make sure that transfer students come in and have the support they need to be successful,” Knuth said. “Everyone has the ability to be successful here. It’s just that people need some support when they’re being presented with many challenges.”
The Transfer Engagement Center (TEC), located in the Middleton building, offers resources to provide transfer students with a sense of community on campus, including a space to study and meet other transfers, daily Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) tutoring, and monthly lunches.
The TTP’s monthly lunches offer transfer students a way to meet similar students and make friends. There are lunches for Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) transfer students, returning adults, and more.
The TTP hosts larger-scale, transfer student events each month, such as a Back to School Bingo, where students can win housing necessities, Knuth said. One-on-one sessions with students who can provide aid and resources are also available through the TEC .
Transfer students can meet weekly in small groups through the Badgers Creating Exceptional Transfer Experiences (CETE) Leadership Program, giving students a community to talk to as they adjust to new surroundings.