By Holly Luttrell | Reporter
Not every Baylor Bear begins their journey at Baylor. Each semester, transfer students come to Baylor from other institutions. The Transfer Year Experience program and Living-Learning Center exist to help ease the transition for these new students.
Approximately 450 transfer students enroll each fall. Students participating in the Transfer Year Experience program are housed in the University Parks Apartments near campus to encourage community between the new students.
The transfer student housing at University Parks is one of eight Living-Learning Centers at Baylor. Each of these communities is designed to allow students to live with other people of similar interests.
“We have five buildings dedicated just for our transfer students,” Residence Hall Director Daniel Haddad said. “They can come here and share life with other transfers and understand what’s going on with each other as far as that transition coming into Baylor.”
Students get their own bedroom in an apartment setting within the Living-Learning Center to give them space to move through this transition on their own while still being around other Baylor students they can relate to.
Transfer students face a unique set of challenges. Learning to navigate campus, join student activities and adjust to living in Waco are all struggles commonly associated with freshman year. For transfer students joining Baylor for their sophomore year or above, these issues can often go unseen.
“Everybody else been here quite a bit longer than you have,” said Austin junior and transfer student Cassandra Woliver. “You’re coming in and you’re either hanging out with freshman or you’re hanging out with a bunch of people who know a bunch of stuff and they just assume you know it too.”
These students are new to Baylor, but not new to college. Haddad acknowledged there is a balance that must be found when helping transfer students adjust to Baylor.
“They’ve done college before, whether at a two-year or a four-year institution,” Haddad said. “They have a basic idea of what it’s like, so they’re not new incoming students, and they also don’t want to be treated as such.”
The community at University Parks and the Transfer Year Experience program are designed to help fix this issue. They aim to give transfer students support and guidance specific to the unique problems they face. These programs offer advice on classes, professors, campus activities and student organizations to help them feel at home at Baylor as quickly as possible. There are plenty of opportunities for these new students to design their college experience according to their own needs and interests.
“I think there’s a lot of student involvement type stuff that Baylor is pretty good about. There’s a club for everyone,” Woliver said.
The Transfer Year Experience program and the Living-Learning Center succeed when a transfer student fully adjusts to life at Baylor. These students come to here from different institutions with the common goal of making it their home.
“A lot of times transfer students transfer for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons that I hear a lot in my role is that they weren’t satisfied with something at their old institution. They’re trying to find somewhere better. They’re trying to find something they can connect with or feel a belonging to and when they find that at Baylor and Baylor becomes home for them, I think that’s the satisfying part,” Haddad said.
When students stay in the Living-Learning Center at University Parks, they are given a place to build a community with students who are facing the same challenges and taking the same steps to find their place at Baylor.