PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Student Advising and Learning Center is expanding its scope with the addition of a transfer student information center to help ease the transition faced by community college students entering WSU.
Transfer students face many of the same adjustments and problems as do incoming freshmen, said Alton L. Jamison, SALC director. Navigating through unfamiliar surroundings and connecting with advisers are typical problems.
University-level academic standards sometimes surprise community college students, Jamison said. “It’s typical to see a grade point drop about a half a point after a student transfers from a community college.”
The transfer center is intended to help correct these problems by providing advising, workshops and other SALC programs to transfer students, he said.
Also important is to see that a student’s community college and university curricula mesh as smoothly as possible, Jamison said. Ideally, students would graduate after no more than a combined four years at a community college and a university. But that’s usually not the case.
“On average, it takes community college students 4.8 years to get their degrees,” he said. The transfer center will work with community colleges to jointly develop articulation agreements, which should lower that average.
Written agreements between WSU and community colleges specify a year-by-year sequence of the classes necessary to complete a specific degree program in four years, Jamison said.
For example, a civil engineering degree program would recommend general education classes as well as other required classes such as physics during the first two years at the community college level. Articulation agreements would assure students that credits from these classes would transfer, leaving room for them to devote their final two years at WSU primarily to civil engineering classes.
Once an agreement is in place, the goal is to make the information about these agreements easily accessible to students, Jamison said. To do this, a web site that will post agreements is being developed. The transfer center’s overall aim is to make matriculation as efficient and painless as possible.
The transfer center began serving students in late July, and other ongoing programs will be implemented and developed, Jamison said.
Kenneth R. Vreeland, formerly an assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs, will coordinate the center’s activities. He will head a three-person staff that includes former WSU and NFL football player Rueben Mayes, SALC adviser Christopher L. Brown and support staff member Nelda K. Richard.