To help new transfer students adapt to life as Lakers, Grand Valley State University hosted a virtual Transfer Student Welcome event focused on alleviating the stress of transferring. The event took place on Zoom on Jan. 25 and 26.
The Zoom room was a safe virtual space for transfer students who got the opportunity to discover resources available to them on campus, meet other transfer students and ask questions about living and studying at GVSU.
“It is already hard to get transfer students to come in and ask for help, so the goal is to get students to leave with information that they may not have known about,” said exploratory study advisor Emily Davis.
Davis, who herself was a transfer student during her undergraduate study, said that one of the biggest challenges for transfer students is the adjustment period that comes with getting acclimated to a new institution.
A number of different organizations were included in the event to display all of the resources available to all students, whether they’re transfer students or not.
“There are an overwhelming number of organizations that students have access to, these are just a few to help get students started,” Davis said.
On the Zoom call, students had the option to join a breakout room with any organization they wanted to speak with. Numerous advising departments, the Financial Aid Office and the Office of Student Life all had advisors present.
Career advisor Lisa Knapp spoke about the breadth of the Career Center’s reach to the entire GVSU student population.
“We mean it when we say ‘Laker for a Lifetime’, your access to the Career Center doesn’t end after you graduate,” said Knapp.
The Career Center has a variety of crucial resources for transfer students, one of which is the Career Lab. There, trained faculty and student Career Advisors assist students with resume and job search help and help students decide what direction to take with their major.
“A lot of information regarding the Career Center can be found on the website or the Instagram page @gvsucareers,” Knapp said.
There were a number of different transfer students from all different types of backgrounds that were vocal about their current experiences during the event.
Tasha Vandenbergh is a transfer student majoring in mathematics. She said she isn’t used to a lot of the work being online, but is making great use of her resources by reaching out to advisors and asking for help when it is needed.
“I’m definitely not accustomed (to college) after not being in school for 15 years, it is definitely a hard adjustment,” said Vandenbergh.
Contrary to popular belief, many students and faculty in the Zoom room agreed that the pandemic has made things easier in some ways.
“Networking for jobs has also actually been a lot easier in comparison to before the pandemic,” Knapp said.
Students also said that online discussion boards and assignments being posted on Blackboard makes things easier for them; it prevents them from feeling like outsiders like they sometimes do in a classroom filled with students.
While no more welcome events for transfer students are planned for this semester, there are still plenty of opportunities to meet new people coming up. Students looking to make new friends or forge new professional connections can see a list of clubs at www.gvsu.edu/studentorg or find more virtual events at www.gvsu.edu/events.