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The Hilltop


Spotlight: The Transfer Experience

By: Victoria Jonas, News Contributing Writer
Posted 10:40 AM EST, Sat., Nov. 12, 2016
Updated 5:15 PM EST, Sat., Nov. 12, 2016

Howard University is home to many students. In particular, HU is home to transfer students as well. The transfer experience is often overlooked, but transfer students are here to stay.   

Here at Howard, the Howard University Transfer Student Association (TSA) helps students smooth the transition into Howard University. The TSA is a community of students who have matriculated at different colleges and universities but chose Howard as their final college destination.

“At my previous school, I constantly felt like I had to hide who I was in order to fit in,” said sophomore biology major Rayana Cooke. “I felt like I couldn’t be my true, authentic self without being judged or questioned. As soon as I arrived on Howard’s campus, I knew this is where I belonged. There is a strong sense of family here that you cannot find at any other school.”

Transfer students don’t view TSA as just an organization, but as a family as well. Students who have assimilated to Howard’s culture after coming from schools that may not have been HBCUs, predominately Black or large in size need to express their intersectional experience.

“The TSA is a big help to adjusting to the social life aspect or giving a few pointers to Howard. I learned about RSVP points, who’s the go to academic advisor or financial aid advisor. Without them (TSA), I would be lost,” said junior sociology major Najuma Louison.

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Most may not know the “struggle” of being a transfer student. The first battle all transfers face is transferring in credits. These students are constantly in the Mordecai Johnson Administration Building ensuring all credits from their prior school are accepted. Some students leave disappointed that their classification is a year behind because the Registrar Office won’t accept all of their credits. Others stand as the lucky few who got all their credits accepted.

Then, these students initially find it difficult to “fit in” at Howard. When you are a new student on a campus, but aren’t technically a freshman, where do you go or who do you talk to?  

“Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong at Howard because I transferred in, instead of getting accepted straight out of high school. So, I feel like some people don’t think I have earned my way to HU,” said Louison.

Fortunately, students who transfer have the TSA. The Transfer Student Association provides their members with events that allow them to network, get support and guidance. After a while, transfers get adjusted and meet new people…and there is a new sense of belonging that wasn’t felt at their prior school.   

Although Howard wasn’t their first choice, some transfer student expressed that it was definitely their best choice. Transfer students make up a large population here at HU…and with that, it is implied that non-transfer students must push to make their fellow transfer sisters and brothers feel welcomed, listen to their stories and experiences.

“Meeting people has been very easy. When you’re introduced to someone, you’re greeted with a hug rather than a handshake. We’re a family and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but the Mecca,” said Cooke.

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