CFANS: A transfer-student magnet

The number of transfer students CFANS admitted in fall 2011 was just 30 students under their freshman admittance goal.

CFANS: A transfer-student magnet

Kali Dingman

While the University of Minnesota is headed toward a 2-to-1 goal of freshman undergraduates to transfer students, there are nearly as many transfers as freshmen in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

Unlike most freshman-admitting colleges at the University, CFANS takes in about the same number of transfer students âÄî including students transferring from different colleges on the Twin Cities campus and other campuses in the University system âÄî as it does incoming freshmen.

In December, the administration announced a cap on the number of transfer students that will be admitted to the University beginning in fall 2012. But the cap wonâÄôt have a noticeable effect on CFANS because the college relies so much on transfers, said Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert McMaster.

CFANS admitted 287 transfer students in fall 2011 âÄî about 30 students shy of the schoolâÄôs freshman admittance goal of 320, transfer admissions counselor Brittany Lusk said.

ThatâÄôs almost double the amount in spring 2011, when nearly 150 transfer students were enrolled.

In contrast, the College of Liberal Arts is closer to the goal of a 2-to-1 ratio with 1,457 transfer students to 2,602 new freshmen. The College of Biological Sciences and the Carlson School of Management admit the fewest transfer students.

The College of Design is the only freshman-admitting college that had a higher ratio of transfer students enrolled for fall 2011 than CFANS.

âÄúThe number of transfer students is definitely growing because students are looking for more options financially,âÄù said CFANS transfer admissions counselor Suzanne Rethemeier. She said the students are going to community colleges for the first two years before transferring to save money.

CFANS Dean Allen Levine said it could also be because many of the schoolâÄôs programs are âÄúdiscovery majors.âÄù

âÄúMany of our majors âĦ involve topics that students might not have been able to explore in high school, but early in their college careers they find out about these majors and decide to transfer,âÄù Levine said.

Though the college isnâÄôt specifically targeting transfer students, Levine said he welcomes them because of the diversity they add to the college.

âÄúAs a college, we benefit because of the broad range of interests and experience these students bring in when they transfer,âÄù he said.

With so many students transferring into the college, the admissions process and orientation are also unique. Transferring into CFANS calls for a few different prerequisites.

Before students apply, theyâÄôre encouraged to discuss with a counselor the likelihood that they would be admitted. The counselors answer questions about the major the student is interested in and reviews the prerequisites that are needed to be admitted.

Lusk said if the student doesnâÄôt meet the prerequisite requirements, the counselor provides a guide or course plan to make them âÄúmore competitiveâÄù for admission.

With so many transfers, the college provides certain services to the community. At the beginning of the semester, CFANS hosts a transfer student reception on the St. Paul campus.

âÄúThe Welcome Reception is an informal event where transfer students have the opportunity to mingle with advisers, faculty and staff, meet other transfer students and receive a formal welcome from the dean,âÄù Lusk said.

Campus organizations and resources like One Stop Student Services and the collegeâÄôs career services center also provide information to new transfer students.

Students at the reception are also encouraged to join on-campus organizations like the CFANS Transfer Student Advisory Group.

The group helps transfer students become more involved and familiar with the school and hosts activities to meet with other transfer students to talk about their concerns and ideas for improving the process.