The Perfect Fit: Pathways for Transfer Students
By Laura Janota
As a city colleges of chicago student, Luciana Barnes knew she’d one day be moving on for her bachelor’s degree at a four-year higher education institution in the Chicagoland area. The question was, which university should she attend?
While she considered both public and private options, Roosevelt
University became Luciana Barnes’ first choice after a chance
encounter at Kennedy King College with Roosevelt Transfer
Coordinator Jennifer Jones.
“She (Jones) told me about some great scholarship opportunities
and assured me it would be a transition I could handle,” said
Barnes, who met Jones at a recruitment table in a hallway outside
a Kennedy King classroom in 2012. Agreeing to check out Roosevelt,
Barnes brought her transcripts, which were immediately
reviewed, paving the way for Barnes’ on-the-spot admission.
“I remember being amazed at how smoothly things went,” said
the Bachelor of Liberal Studies student who is majoring in Media
Studies. “I felt then, as I do now, that Roosevelt is the right
place for me to be.”
Efficient and welcoming, academically supportive and passionate
about student engagement and graduation – that is the kind of
environment Roosevelt University is creating for transfer students.
“At a time when cost and value of a college education are issues
for increasing numbers of students and their families, we are
redoubling our efforts to make it easier for transfer students to
get their bachelor’s degrees,” said Doug Knerr, executive vice
president and university provost.
Nearly 700 new transfers, hailing from two and four-year higher
education institutions and representing about three-fifths of
the University’s new undergraduate student body, choose to
enroll each fall at Roosevelt for their bachelor’s degree studies.
“I needed something close to home and Roosevelt had the program
I wanted,” said Laura Slarkiewicz, a transfer from Elgin Community
College (ECC), who enrolled this fall in the University’s
Bachelor’s in Paralegal Studies program.
Erin Eberle, a Schaumburg resident and new psychology transfer
from Harper College in Palatine, Ill., was looking for a school close to home and work. “When I found out how great Roosevelt’s psychology
program is and that I could actually go on to do a master’s in clinical
psychology and even earn a PsyD doctorate degree, I knew Roosevelt
would be the right place for me,” she said.
A Commitment to Completion
With a presence at both the Chicago and Schaumburg campuses, Roosevelt’s
transfer population comes largely from two-year colleges and
four-year universities in Illinois, with the largest numbers of community
college students hailing from Harper, Harold Washington College in
Chicago and the College of DuPage (COD).
The majority of the transfer population is female; about 44 percent of
the group is white; and Latinos and African Americans each represent
about one fifth of Roosevelt’s transfers. The majority takes a full-time
course load. As a group, transfers enrolling at Roosevelt are likely to
stay at the University until they graduate. In recent years, they also
have been entering the University with grade point averages that have
been on the rise.
“It’s an important population for this University and for higher education
in general,” remarked Knerr, the architect of a new Roosevelt transfer
strategy whose major components include innovative partnerships with
community colleges and more student services for transfers.
“These are students who are looking for the most affordable and accessible
way to get through college and we are providing them with
a pathway,” said Knerr. He expects Roosevelt’s transfer population to
grow by approximately 100 full-time transfer students in the next three
to five years.
The spike is anticipated in part because of newly minted dual-degree
partnerships that will closely tie the University to community colleges
on everything from curricula and program planning to marketing and
student advising. Currently, the University has more than 90 articulation
agreements with two-year schools.
“The beauty of our partnership is that we can become more than just a
feeder school to Roosevelt,” said Bob Parzy, admissions outreach director at
Harper. “The partnership is much more formal. It aligns us in everything
from correlating curricula to ensuring credit transferability.” Signed last
year and now in the early stages of development, the Roosevelt-Harper
partnership paves the way for Harper students to complete two years
of study there, while at the same time receiving guaranteed admission,
program advising and scholarship opportunities to attend Roosevelt for
their junior and senior years.
Since 2012, the University has struck similar partnerships, frequently
involving specific degree programs, with Oakton Community College,
ECC, COD and Waubonsee Community College.
One of the more innovative partnerships already making a difference
for transfer students was developed nearly two years ago between Roosevelt’s hospitality management program and
COD. Emphasizing convenience and affordability,
it allows students in COD’s hospitality program
to take all of their courses toward a Roosevelt
bachelor’s degree at the community college.
“I love the idea of staying close to home,” said Jamie
Fredericks of Carol Stream, a mother of two and
a full-time worker who began with the program’s
first class in the fall of 2012. Students take three
years of COD courses and complete their final 36
hours of instruction with Roosevelt professors at
the community college’s state-of-the-art hospitality
Fredericks said her COD classes gave her tools and
resources, while her Roosevelt courses pushed her
to a higher level of problem-solving and decisionmaking.
“There’s a buzz and excitement about this
program,” she added. “Students are astonished
over being able to get this kind of opportunity
without having to go downtown and I think it
bodes well for the future of the program.” The
first class of eight will graduate in May 2014; the
second class now in progress has 10 students;
the third class has grown to 14 students.
Additional partnerships between Roosevelt and
more Chicago-area community colleges are in
the works and new transfers choosing the dual degree
option are expected to begin arriving at
the University as early as spring 2014.
Alice Blomquist, assistant provost for academic
partnerships at Roosevelt, said the transfers
will enjoy what many are calling a “seamless
transition” from community college to Roosevelt.
“While still attending their community college,
dual-degree partner students will have the opportunity
to meet with a Roosevelt academic advisor each semester to ensure that they are taking the
most appropriate classes for their major,” Blomquist said.
Roosevelt representatives frequently visit partner schools
to answer questions from potential students. “This is a
chance for me to go further than just introducing the
University to prospective transfers,” said Elizabeth Gomez
De La Casa, a 2008 Roosevelt graduate and transfer
admission counselor at the Schaumburg Campus. “I am
able to share first-hand experiences and familiarize
them with what Roosevelt, its mission, programs and
community are all about.”
Rosie Carbajal-Romo, a counselor at Waubonsee Community
College and a Roosevelt alumna with a 2010
Master’s in Clinical Professional Counseling, added:
“When I work with students who are interested in
transferring, I tell them that Roosevelt is a good school.”
And personal attention doesn’t stop there. Even after the
transfer student enters and gets well inside Roosevelt’s
front door, he or she will find plenty of academic support
and community grounding. At Roosevelt, we are all
about understanding the needs of the transfer student,”
said Jones, the Chicago Campus transfer coordinator,
a 2005 Roosevelt MBA graduate and former business
faculty and registration aide at Chicago’s City Colleges.
Jones touts Roosevelt’s one-stop shopping experience
for transfers adjusting to the University. It’s an opportunity
for them to mingle and also receive academic
advising, financial assistance and tips on ways to get
involved in student activities. “Transfers want a place
where they can get support,” she said, “but even more
than that, they are looking for an open door and an
Aiming to graduate in May 2014, Barnes remembers
early on being a bit intimidated at Roosevelt. She was
having difficulty with one of her classes; she also
feared being disconnected as a commuter student. I
remember telling Jennifer (Jones) about my concerns,”
said Barnes. “She kept telling me ‘Buck up. You can do
it. You’re going to be fine.’”
Since then, Barnes has done well in her classes and has
become a senator with Roosevelt’s Student Government
Association. She also has returned to Kennedy King
College to share the good news about her experience.
“Some community college students aren’t sure they
can make it at a four-year institution,” she said. “I tell
them, ‘Step outside that box and take a chance. Know
that you can do it. Know that you’ll have a support
system. I am living proof that you can come to a place
like Roosevelt and get it done.’”
Make the Transfer