BY KAHLA STATEMA | The Statesman
he first day at a new college can be overwhelming for a transfer student. Being placed in a completely new environment and surrounded by strange faces can make it difficult to make the transition.
The Office for Students in Transition is a one-stop shop for all new incoming students, but Jen Doebler, the coordinator of Bulldog Welcome Week, likes to focus on making the transition as smoothly as possible for transfer students.
“Transfer students have a much larger range of circumstances compared to other students. They could be transferring because their other school wasn’t working out for them or because they’re trying to start off in a new place in life,” Doebler said.
Fall semester transfer students are given two options before classes start. They can either attend the Bulldog Transfer Welcome, which is a short orientation that is best fit to meet the needs of transfer students, or they can choose to attend the 5-day Bulldog Welcome Week event.
In the spring semester, students are required to attend the Winter Welcome, which is identical to the Bulldog Transfer Welcome in the fall.
“A lot of our transfer students range from 19 to 25, so they have that option of being able to be around those who are more relatable to their situation versus being around a bunch of 18-year-olds,” Doebler said.
It is mandatory for a transfer student to attend either the Bulldog Transfer Welcome or Bulldog Welcome Week, but Doebler strongly encourages students to participate in the 5-day Welcome Week event.
Bulldog Transfer Welcome introduces transfer students to UMD’s P2P (peer to peer) mentoring program.
Kristin Goosen, junior, who started at UMD as a transfer student, is a mentor for the P2P program.
“We meet once a week throughout the semester to discuss what’s going on around campus and for everyone just to get together and talk,” Goosen said.
It is also required for P2P mentors to take their mentees on three different events.
“Last semester we went to a hockey game and Grandma’s,” Goosen said. “It’s nice for transfer students to be able to go out and get the experiences that they missed out on as a first-year student.”
When Goosen transferred into UMD, she was given the opportunity to join a Rock Star group during Bulldog Welcome Week.
“It really helped a lot,” Goosen said. “It was nice going out and being able to meet people, and it was fun.”
Doebler hopes to see more transfer students using SIT as a resource when they start at UMD.
“After your first semester, you’re not considered a transfer anymore. You’re considered a UMD student,” Doebler said. “Everything we do needs to be distilled in that first semester.”