Freshmen all over again


Transfer student illustration

Joy TaMar Moorer

For any high school graduate, going to college is usually the next step — and the thought of being a freshman again could be appealing. There is a sense of independence, nervousness and self-discovery. It is the chance at going through the traditional college experience.

Not only incoming freshman feel this way. Transfer student go through the same roller coaster of emotions. It’s common for students to transfer schools for various reasons, possibly leaving them feel disjointed and lost in the process.

Kent State was Eric Nolletti, sophomore broadcast journalism major’s first choice.

“Originally, I was going to go to Kent (State). My dad, my aunt, a lot of my family went to Kent,” he said. “They talked really good about Kent and how great it was … I always wanted to go here.”

When financial obstacles arose, Nolletti attended Wayne College, a branch of the University of Akron in Orrville, for a year before transferring to Kent State when his finances were stable.

Transfer students go through the same application process as students who apply to colleges and universities while in high school. Allison Hoskinson, assistant director of transfer students at Kent Trumbull said the process for both high school graduates and transfer students are the same.

“The only difference is that we look at their transfer credits,” she said. “We do placement assessment (depending on credits), but it’s pretty much the same. But we tailor everything to the student once the student meets with the advisor.”

High school students are fortunate to have guidance counselors to do the paperwork for them, however transfer students don’t have that resource to help them get the paperwork in on time

“It’s all driven by the student; the application, application fee, high school transcripts … students help themselves,” Hoskinson said.

This was the case for Mike Love, sophomore journalism major. When he transferred from Lakeland Community College in Lake County this past June, he said the process of making deadlines was hectic and time consuming.

“I had a lot to get a hold of in terms of paperwork,” he said. “The reason I am here is because for the last two months I’ve woken up and was like, ‘Hey, call these people, get this paper done, get this paper signed.’ It was crammed.”

Dorm life can also be daunting for transfer students.

For most transfer students living on campus here at Kent State University they live in the dorm halls known as Eastway, where the majority of freshmen live. And for a 20- or 21-year-old transfer student, there’s not much to have in common because of age and varying maturity levels.

“With all of our students being commuters, they might not know as many students, but it’s the same feeling as freshman students,” Hoskinson said, “I don’t think being a transfer student would make a major difference. It would depend on where they live, if they have a job, those factors play a role as well. For Main campus, I think it would depend on where Residence Services places them.”

“It’s kind of weird,” Nolletti said. “I’m in Johnson Hall with a bunch of freshmen, and I’m almost 21. Pretty much everyone I talk to (is) 18- or 19-years-old, so it kind of feels like I’m two years behind … Like I just got out of high school, but I didn’t.”

Despite the age difference, older transfer students have the same issues as freshmen — not so much academically, but socially.

“I don’t really have any friends yet; I’m trying to network … I’m still trying to get involved on my floor, find people to talk to and hang out with,” Nolletti said.

Love is a commuter student. He has a roommate, but he still wants to make friends on campus and get involved. Coming from a college that most of his friends and family went to, he feels a bit lost at Kent State.

“When I got here I didn’t know anybody other than my roommate, because we moved in together,” Love said. “It’s totally different from Lakeland … you’re on your own and it takes time to recognize people from class.”

There are bright sides to transferring. For Love and Nolletti, this included credit hours — they both completed their Kent Core classes at their previous schools. The amount of credits a transfer student has can help him or her attend courses that are specific to their majors; instead of having to attend the general studies courses that their new school would require.

Also for Love, his social life is looking up. He is already a part of Kent Chorale and Men’s Chorus here on campus. Nolletti found a way to get involved as well — after auditioning for TV2 he was granted to be a part of the wine and dine segment, which airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Both students are looking to get more involved in organizations as the semester goes along. 

For Love, Nolletti and other transfer students here at Kent State, the semester is still new. Both of these transfer students are looking forward to the semester, school year and making Kent State their permanent home. 

Contact Joy TaMar Moorer at [email protected].