Written by Allison McCarty.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.
As a prestigious and globally recognized educational institution, the University of Texas at Austin can be an intimidating school to transfer into. UT is home to an enormous number of students, and the new students every semester who transfer can often feel confused and isolated when trying to traverse the massive campus. With shorter orientations and fewer years spent on campus, being a transfer student can feel like a game of catch-up, and finding resources that help can be difficult. However, the university offers a plethora of vital resources that can enhance the new experiences of students on campus, especially transfer students.
For new transfer students, joining an organization on campus can be helpful in meeting new people and forming rewarding friendships. Jacqueline Kwaku, a sophomore who transferred from the University of Texas at San Antonio this semester, says that the best resource she has found is her involvement in Greek life. As a member of Tri Delta, Kwaku has found that the resources in her sorority, such as an academic counselor, has “familiarized [her] with the campus”. Additionally, being in a sorority has given her the opportunity to meet new people and gain new experiences. Kwaku says that “[Tri Delta] has shown [her] how much Austin has to offer, and, getting to know all the girls, [she knows] that this is where [she’s] supposed to be.”
Kwaku also highlighted the importance of the Texas Transfer Students organization for new transfer students. “I think that [Texas Transfer Students] is such a great organization that we have on campus” she said, “and I think that an organization just for transfer students is so amazing and a great resource.”
In addition to organizations, resources found in classrooms and on campus can be just as important for transfer students. Transfer Representative Conner Vanden Hoek of Student Government asserts that one of the most important resources at UT for first-year transfer students are Transfer Interest Groups (TrIGs). “A super helpful opportunity for transfers are TrIGs, and you can only do that your first semester… but the twenty people in your TrIG that you will have classes and study with make the campus feel a lot smaller,” Vanden Hoek said. “[TrIGs] are an amazing resource for getting acclimated to UT.”
Also, Vanden Hoek emphasizes the importance of the University Health Services (UHS) and The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) as resources all students should take advantage of. “There are a lot of awesome resources within UHS and CMHC that are available, like doctor’s visits and counselors… which is especially important for students to know and utilize.” Familiarizing yourself with all of the resources on campus is an important part of a successful transition to UT.
The switch between a previous institution and UT can be jarring, and staying on top of academics can sometimes be a struggle. For Chris Smith, a senior who transferred from Austin Community College, she finds that the University Writing Center located inside the Perry-Castaneda Library and Office Hours offered by professors are the most helpful resource on campus for UT students. “The University Writing Center has helped me a lot as an English major,” Smith said, “and I would say that transfer students should not be afraid to talk to professors and go to their office hours. Professors will be really invaluable when you are struggling and office hours are always helpful.” When it comes down to it, academics are a crucial part of the UT experience, so making sure you are always aware of the resources you can use to help you in class is key.
Whether you are in class and looking for help, or on campus looking for fun organizations to join, the best piece of shared advice from transfer students is to get involved and embrace UT. “The two biggest problems that I think transfer students have are getting socially acclimated and academically acclimated,” Vanden Hoek said, “so get involved in things and don’t be afraid to ask for help… UT has thirteen hundred organizations offered here, so there is going to be something you will enjoy.” For Kwaku, being anxious is a common feeling among transfers, but it should not stop transfers from getting involved: “I think that if you put your mind to it and get involved, you’ll do fine here. If you really want UT to embrace you, then UT will embrace you.”