Since freshman year at St. Johns, students have learned how to navigate themselves around campus. They know to give themselves extra time before class to beat the rush at Starbucks and they know to keep track of their Storm Cards, since they won’t be allowed in the library or computer labs without them. They also know to find out about upcoming events from the colorful flyers and posters that adorn the stairwells and walls in all of the buildings.
But what about transfer students? How easy is it for them to settle into the St. John’s community when all the other students seem to naturally understand how the school works?
Fortunately, for students looking to transfer into St. John’s, the application process is relatively simple. St. John’s operates on a rolling admissions basis, and the application is available online.
“The transfer application process was really fast, easy, and simple,” said sophomore Carina Mirchandani, who transferred to St. John’s last spring from Simmons College in Boston.
Mohammad Saddiq, an alumnus who transferred to St. John’s from Mercy College in 2008, said he took advantage of the Office of Admission’s Transfer Instant Decision Day when he applied.
“The process was easy,” said Saddiq. “I walked into the Admissions Office, got called in for an interview, and they checked my transcripts and I was accepted.”
This simple process is a relief from the stress of filling out applications, sending out transcripts, obtaining recommendations and writing personal essays for college admissions during senior year in high school.
Academically, the transition to St. John’s seems relatively smooth for transfer students. Mirchandani enjoyed her classes during her first semester at St. John’s.
“They weren’t harder than classes at my other school,” said Mirchandani.
Saddiq agreed and felt that the adjustment was easy and quick. Transfer students were able to select courses from a wide array of options and talk to their professors before the classes.
“The course work was at the same level and the teachers were helpful,” said Saddiq.
The application process and academic transition may have been straightforward, but is that enough to qualify as a good transfer experience? Easing into the social atmosphere proves to be a bit of a challenge.
“It was really hard to make friends. I knew some people from my high school, but it still took a while. Over time though, I made friends with the students in my classes,” said Mirchandani.
“It wasn’t easy to make friends, but after hanging out in the library café I eventually met people,” said Saddiq, expressing a similar sentiment. “I also had a friend from back home, so I was introduced to a lot of students that way as well.”
Although meeting people can be somewhat of a challenge, the school’s method of announcing upcoming events and student organization meetings seems to be very helpful, especially for transfer students.
“I joined Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and Indian Subcontinent Student Organization (ISSO),” said Mirchandani, “and I find out about a lot of the events because the school sends a million e-mails. I also went to the Activities Fair, which was a good way to see all the different clubs there are on campus.”
Saddiq also took an interest in campus activities, such as Greek Life and ISSO. He was an active participant in ISSO’s annual Chahaat show.
In order to improve the transfer process, transfer students would like to see some modification in the Transfer Student Orientation. Unlike the three-day Freshman Orientation for all first year students, the Transfer Student Orientation is only one day packed with information sessions. This orientation can be quite overwhelming for transfer students.
“There were hardly any other mid-year transfers and the orientation was only one day, so there was no time to meet people,” said Saddiq.
“The orientation only being one day compared to the three days that everyone else went through was really hard because you don’t get to make connections with people or meet anyone,” said Mirchandani. “Orientation is usually where you make your first friends.”
Overall, transfer students’ enthusiasm about their experiences at St. John’s has been rather lukewarm.
“It’s okay,” said Mirchandani. “It kind of feels like high school, I just come to class and then leave right after. There’s not much else to do around here.”
“My years at St. John’s were good, but I feel like I didn’t get the full college experience because the campus life isn’t too vibrant,” said Saddiq, sharing a similar opinion.
Transferring from one institution to another can be quite challenging. This transition can be smooth if transfer students are better integrated from a social perspective. A variety of socially interactive events would provide transfer students with opportunities to engage in campus life the minute they become a part of the St. John’s community.