Transfer students attend same university but receive different opportunities

Photo courtesy of Emily Richter

By Emily Richter | Guest Contributor

New students at Baylor can attend an orientation, which is a mixture of events for students to get together and learn more about each other and the university. As a transfer student, you get a different orientation than a freshman does — I know from personal experience. After going to every single one of my orientation events and completing my “transferring your success” class in my first semester, I still felt as if I had little to no guidance.

It started when I got here in fall 2021, when the historically large freshman class made it impossible for me, a transfer student, to get housing on campus or housing affiliated with Baylor off campus.

There is a way for new transfer students to apply for on-campus housing, which, according to Baylor’s website, is as easy as submitting your university deposit, setting up your DUO Two-Factor Authentication and submitting your housing application on goBAYLOR. Due to the fact that housing for transfer students is not guaranteed by the university, Campus Living & Learning encourages all transfer students to look for housing off campus.

This was not true in my case. I didn’t even get the opportunity to apply for on-campus housing, which forced me to look for housing elsewhere somewhat late in the game. This is one aspect that made my journey at Baylor not as smooth as it could have been, if I had had the opportunity to live among my peers.

Getting accepted into a prestigious university such as Baylor was an honor for me and my family, but it quickly failed to meet our expectations after having done the campus tour and looked through Baylor’s social media.

This is due to one simple fact: I was a transfer student, not a traditional freshman. But coming from Germany and having past experiences from only online courses still made me feel like a freshman.

As I look at other students who seem to know this information without having to reach out to get the first-year experience I was looking for, asking so many questions about my Baylor experience no longer seems normal for me. With all the information online, I believe that there is a fix to this problem.

Having more space available for transfer students to live on campus would help students like me. Furthermore, during the “transferring your success” course, there could be one week solely related to students’ questions so that students — especially international students — feel more welcomed and have more guidance throughout their time at Baylor.

As for the transfer orientation, I would find it helpful if at least one event would incorporate the freshmen as well as the transfer students. This would mean that transfer students and freshmen aren’t as strictly separated. This could lead to more friendship, more diversity and more understanding, and it could enhance team building elements and create a space where everyone feels like they have a place.