The experience of transfer students at Calvin University


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Faculty Senate approved this on April 7.

Calvin life takes some adjusting to, according to several transfer students and professors, but there are programs in place, such as a special orientation, to make transfer students feel at home. 

Anna Noll, a junior at Calvin who transferred two years ago, says, “In a sense, you are basically given a set of peers as soon as you arrive who you can relate with and become closer to. I find that transfers usually continue to stick together throughout their time at Calvin simply because they have been through the experience together, and orientation is a great way of establishing those long-lasting bonds.”

Abby Poirier, Chimes staff reporter and transfer student, is not so sure about the program’s merit. Poirier voiced her concern that the $250 fee for attending transfer orientation was not worth it, as students were thrown into activities without much guidance. Poirier feels as if the administration “Didn’t have the patience with me that they would have with freshmen.”

Senior transfer student Emmajean Spoelman, who is graduating in December of 2020, had mixed feelings on Calvin. She appreciated that the tuition was lower than her previous school, that the professors genuinely cared about their students, and that the Calvin Prison Initiative made her “more proud to go to Calvin.” On the flipside, she lamented the language core, less-than-desirable neuroscience program, and poor wifi around campus.

Another program for transfer students is IDIS-150-05, an Interim DCM class taught specifically to transfer students that centers on the topic of prison reform. Since prison-based programs like this DCM are something few colleges or universities have, the administration believes that it is the appropriate subject to use for introducing transfer students to Calvin. Professor Benedict says that the class is an opportunity for students to become “more informed about issues of mass incarceration.”

Classes such as the aforementioned DCM contribute to creating long-lasting bonds, and aim to set up transfer students with the tools they need to find their space in their new college. Part of the aim of this class, besides teaching the ins and outs of prison reform, is to help transfer students make and maintain friendships. This very issue is common amongst transfer students.

A junior-year transfer who wished to remain anonymous says, “I started thinking about transferring pretty quickly, prayed a lot about the decision, and ultimately felt led to Calvin. I honestly really loved the ’my heart I offer you Lord’ quote written everywhere — it said exactly what I hoped my education would spur me on to do.”