By Emma Gran
Every day, UW transfer students bring the Wisconsin Idea to life across our campus. Their diverse experiences and skills enrich our classrooms and workspaces and provide valuable perspectives to our campus community. They deserve to be celebrated
Join us in recognizing these incredible students next week during National Transfer Student Week, Oct. 18- 22. This year’s national theme, “These Transfer Shoes: Step into my Journey,” emphasizes the importance of recognizing an often overlooked group on campus, hearing their stories, and challenging common assumptions. Throughout the week, the University of Wisconsin–Madison will be celebrating the achievements of the thousands of resilient, talented transfer students making our campus a better place to live, work, and study.
UW-Madison welcomed 1,136 new transfer students to campus this fall! Each year, more than 2,000 transfer students decide to call Madison their new home.
According to research conducted on campus, the five areas that transfer students find most challenging during their first-year at UW–Madison are: developing relationships, feeling behind in progress towards degree, meeting people, paying for education/cost of living, and managing the academic workload.
During National Transfer Student Week, members of the campus community are encouraged to participate in showing transfer students how much UW–Madison cares about and supports their experience.
Faculty and staff can also help celebrate transfers. Staff are encouraged to create welcoming environments for all students in academic spaces by consider decorating their office or workspace for National Transfer Student Week or the month of October. Or, hang ‘UW-Madison <3’s Transfers’ magnets or flyers in the office or on bulletin boards in campus buildings.
Anyone on campus can submit a Transfer Act of Kindness either to an outstanding transfer student or “transfer student champions” — staff, faculty, or other students supporting the success of transfer students on campus.
Submitters may remain anonymous if they wish and can leave comments for their nominee to read. Nominee(s) will be notified and emailed eight hours after submitting an act of kindness.
There is no limit on sending Transfer Acts of Kindness, so get ready to spread positivity and appreciation towards the transfer community.
Transfer students at UW
This annual recognition, which has been celebrated every third week of October since 2017 at college campuses across the United States, highlights the positive impacts of transfer students and helps campus communities understand the complexities and challenges faced by diverse transfer student populations.
Through UW’s Transfer Transition Program, Transfer Engagement Manager Shelby Knuth plays a key role in helping students transition to campus and manage these common challenges.
Knuth said transfer students face a variety of hurdles often not experienced in the same ways as traditional students.
For example, transfer students’ transition to UW is generally more isolating than the transition of first-year students, who mostly live in campus housing, attend introductory level courses, and experience changes together as a cohort.
“On campus, we are trying to reframe these assumptions that transfer students are ‘missing something’ and move from a deficit mindset to an asset mindset,” Knuth said.
According to Knuth, it is essential for all students to challenge the assumptions they might have made about transfer students and work to dispel them.
“We want to highlight the enrichment transfer students bring into their classrooms, as well as the change they are going to make in the world,” said Knuth. “Transfer students are an integral part of everything that happens on campus. Let’s show them that.”
Supportive programming for transfers on campus
UW–Madison’s Transfer Transition Program (TTP) provides transfer students with resources and advisors to help them navigate through any changes to their academic and personal lives when settling into a new campus and new city.
The TPP helps transfers with financial aid, transferring academic credits, finding housing, transportation concerns, child care, or anything else impacting their transition to UW. Beyond providing essential assistance and resources, the TPP also hosts events to promote community and a workspace for students.
The Transfer Engagement Center (TEC) is a dedicated space for transfer students in the Middleton Building on campus. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday, transfer students are free to come to this space to study, relax, or meet fellow transfers.
The TEC is home to many Transfer Transition Program programs and events and also provides coffee, tea, snacks, printing, and Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) tutoring on a daily basis.
Transfer Ambassadors, experienced transfer students who assist new transfer students in their successful transition, facilitate involvement opportunities and promote a sense of belonging to UW-Madison and the greater Madison community in this space.
Recently, the TTP has been expanding its identity-specific support through monthly lunch and supper club programs that allow transfer students with similar background
s to connect in a casual setting. The TTP had been hosting Returning Adult Student Lunches and expanded the reach of the program by hosting monthly BIPOC student lunches as well.
Similarly, in partnership with WISCIENCE, the TTP launched Faculty Supper Clubs earlier this year, which connect underrepresented, incoming transfer students in STEM majors with a faculty mentor for a monthly dinner.
Some supper clubs are based on a shared identity between the students and the faculty, such as the Queer Students in STEM, First-Generation Students in STEM, and Black Students in STEM
groups. Others are organized by a shared STEM major, for example, horticulture or civil engineering.
Additionally, the Badgers Creating Exceptional Transfer Experiences (CETE) Leadership Program grants an opportunity for new transfer students to cultivate a sense of community on an unfamiliar campus. Participants of BadgerCETE meet weekly with the same small group of peers, allowing them to explore their own identities and transition experiences in a safe space.
For more resources and transfer student events and programming, please visit transfer.wisc.edu.