Welcoming Transfer Students to Arts and Sciences
The Transfer Center eases the transition to Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Robin Diamond had a mission in mind when she took the job of overseeing services for transfer students.
“I wanted to build something new,” says Diamond, an assistant dean and director of the School of Arts and Sciences Transfer Center. “I wanted to create a place for transfer students, one that would recognize their needs, advocate for them, and provide leadership opportunities.”
Today, Diamond, along with assistant deans Neeta Chandrashekhar and Gary Panetta run one of the largest and most complex operations within the school. The Transfer Center serves some 2,600 students arriving from places that range from Middlesex County College to Jilin University in China.
Under Diamond, the center provides a mix of services—including a mentor program and the state’s first chapter of Tau Sigma, a national honor society for transfer students.
“Transfer students add a lot to Rutgers,” Diamond says. “They bring different experiences and perspectives compared to students who are right out of high school.”
Q: Arts and Sciences gets a huge influx of transfer students every year. Where do they come from?
A: About 48 percent are from New Jersey county colleges, while the rest come from four-year schools across the country. We also have an international transfer population, especially from China, that’s growing daily.
Q: What are some of the services you provide transfer students?
A: We provide an evaluation that shows what they took at their previous school and what it would be equal to at Rutgers. Then we have the Students in Transition Advising and Registration (STAR) days, a full-day program, with a keynote speaker and various sessions students can choose. We also have a course, the “Students in Transition Seminar,” which meets once a week for 10 weeks and is taught by volunteers across the university.
Q: Is there a common set of needs that transfer students have?
A: They often have no idea how different Rutgers will be from their previous college. You can’t compare a major public research university to a county college or even a small four-year school in terms of the workload. The same can be said for the opportunities at Rutgers. We want them to do research and have internships. But they won’t take advantage if they don’t know about them.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: When you see a student who gets it, that’s the best. A student who initially couldn’t get into Rutgers is now here, and so happy that they’re already wearing a Rutgers sweatshirt. Then you have the student who struggles. You work with them. And one day they come back with their dean’s list letter. That’s perfect!