STILLWATER, Okla. – Freshmen at Oklahoma State University are not the only students stepping onto campus for the first time when they arrive at the beginning of each semester. OSU welcomes many new transfer students every year, approximately 20 percent of which are in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR).
With nearly 300 new transfer students this semester and approximately 40 percent of its graduates being transfers over the past five years, CASNR understands the significance of these students and has now put together a program to help them survive and thrive.
“The Success Coaches for Outstanding Transfers (SCOUT) program is a peer mentor group for incoming transfer students who have successfully navigated the transfer experience themselves with regards to academics, student involvement and personal and professional development,” said Amy Gazaway, CASNR career development coordinator.
In its first year of implementation, the program has 15 SCOUTs who have successfully made the transition from two-year and four-year colleges and universities from all over the country. One of them is Mindy Andres, a transfer from Allen County Community College in Kansas, who is in her senior year at OSU.
“I signed up for the program to help fellow transfer students feel welcome,” said Andres. “Being able to give them a person they could reach out to either for a simple question or for a friend, I wanted to be there for them.”
Making the transition to a major university from anywhere can be difficult, but transfers do not even have the advantage of an orientation class, like freshman. Providing the opportunity to connect with someone and the resources needed to have a successful time at OSU was a driving factor in creating the program, said Gazaway.
Andres understands how important it is for transfer students to have someone to turn to for any assistance needed. The program was not in place when she initially got on campus, but was lucky enough to have a friend who had transferred in the year before show her the ropes.
“The main reason I signed up to help is because I couldn’t imagine coming down here and making it successfully if I hadn’t had a friend to help me out,” Andres said. “Just having someone to ask silly questions to was helpful. Who knew parking was going to be such a big deal?”
SCOUT does not just provide academic assistance, but also career support, and yes, even helps with everyday problems like parking.
“Once the program becomes known to incoming transfers, and the communication between the SCOUTs and the students improves, I believe the program will be an ace in the hole,” Andres said. “The program would have been a wonderful resource to me personally and I hope it can help future transfers.”
Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.
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