Tau Sigma National Honor Society serves as safe haven for transfer students

By Piper Rutherford | Staff Writer

Although it was first established in an effort to celebrate the academic success of transfer students who had a 3.5 GPA or higher after their first semester, Baylor’s chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society now serves as a place of connection and community.

Baylor has a diverse transfer student population, with 35% transferring from out of state and 20% transferring from outside of the United States. Additionally, as of 2021, 91% of transfer students had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

One of these transfer students is Tau Sigma president Edith Walter, who took a leap of faith by moving from California to Waco with her son in 2020 to attend Baylor.

“It was in the middle of COVID-19, and my son, who is turning 40 this year, got accepted into Baylor at the same time as me,” Walter said. “We lived in University Parks that first year and both got 4.0s our first semester, followed by the invitation letter to join Tau Sigma that spring.”

Since joining the organization, Walter said she has made it a point to get involved, starting with her position as event coordinator before becoming vice chair and eventually president.

“I wanted to get plugged in as much as I could — especially after remembering how hard and isolating my first semester at Baylor was, since I am in my 60s, since there were some nights where I would cry myself to sleep and want to pack it up and go home,” Walter said. “While my son and I joined the veterans group on campus that first fall, I have found my time at Tau Sigma to be one with more resources and connections.”

Hampton, Va., senior Claudia Kistner joined Tau Sigma after transferring from a community college her freshman year. She said she saw it as a good opportunity to meet other transfer students who were in the same boat as her.

“Baylor does mainly advertise to new freshman students for events rather than transfer students, so when I started at Baylor, everyone had already developed their own friend groups and cliques,” Kistner said. “But when I got to be a part of Tau Sigma, I found people who understood what it was like to be new.”

Now, Kistner said she helps other transfer students by serving as a Welcome Weekend leader.

“Tau Sigma allowed me to see what transfer students need, whether that be resources or campus connections,” Kistner said. “Now, I get to share what I have learned and experienced with new transfers, whose shoes I was in not too long ago.”