North Texas Daily

Alpha Chi launches transfer student outreach project

Alpha Chi launches transfer student outreach project

File Photo

Alpha Chi launches transfer student outreach project
March 01
17:09 2017

Sonia Gomez |Contributing Writer

The student organization Alpha Chi National College Honor Society at the University of North Texas has launched a program to help transfer students graduate.

Under the supervision of Dr. Jeanne Tunks, faculty sponsor of the Eta chapter, a group of Alpha Chi members at UNT have been working for the past year to find a way to reach out to transfer students. Their mission is to help transfer students feel connected to UNT and work toward completion by serving as academic partners, friends and mentors.

Sarah Blaido, an undergraduate Alpha Chi member and a UNT Transfer Ambassador, said the transfer student outreach project fills an important need for transfer students.

“I see all of the incoming transfer students because I work at the orientations, I answer the phone calls, and I answer the emails so I know the struggles that transfer students go through as they are first coming to UNT,” Blaido said. “The Transfer Center is less personal, but with this program it is one-on-one.”

By implementing the transfer student outreach project, Alpha Chi members hope to decrease transfer student attrition rates.

Of the incoming new transfer students in fall 2015 who were enrolled full-time, 75.09 percent re-enrolled in fall 2016. 

The transfer student outreach project is a peer mentor program for both traditional and non-traditional transfer students. Transfer students are matched with mentors that will assist in connecting mentees with on campus resources in addition to supporting transfer students by being a source of guidance. Mentors are students who have completed at least one semester at UNT and have gone through a background check. 

“Transfer students are kind of in a strange niche since they are coming in with a background in community colleges or previous undergraduate experience so it is very different from being an incoming freshman,” educational psychology professor Judith Bradetich said. “By mentoring transfer students, it can help them develop and find a sense of community.”

UNT has often been criticized by transfer students as being a tough place to connect and get involved. The opportunities are there, but transfer students may feel disoriented in their new environment due to lack of connections or involvement in organizations.

Barbara Ward, a graduate research assistant at the office of university accreditation, said the transfer program will benefit the 1,900 military veterans (i.e. prior military, retired, spouses, and children of veteran students) that are non-traditional transfer students currently enrolled at UNT.  

“Military veterans come from a background of a very structured, very regimented and very detail-oriented lifestyle,” Ward said. “It is hard for veterans to integrate into a system where they don’t feel like they have anything to offer when it comes to other students… [including] knowledge about leadership, self-awareness and other qualities that are part of being a military person.”

Having a mentor donate time to help a colleague can introduce a person to resources that they may not have known about otherwise, especially if students are afraid of asking for assistance.   

Missy McCormick, a staff member with Career Connect and a doctoral student in higher education, said some students are unaware of whom to contact when they need reassurance.

“I’ve seen when students get very frustrated and overwhelmed,” McCormick said. “They just need someone to say ‘it is going to okay and here is where you can go.’”

Anyone interested in being a mentor or a mentee can contact AXmentors@gmail.com.

Featured Image: File Photo

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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