By Kelly Sather
April 22, 2011—Each year, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls welcomes a new class of students. While many of them are just starting their college journey, an increasing number are students transferring to UWRF from other institutions.
“We have seen quite an increase of interest in the number of transfer students. Last year we were up in numbers for fall and we had an increase as well for spring 2011. We’re hopeful that we will have another increase for fall 2011,” says Ryan Bench, admissions counselor.
The increase in transfer students relates to several factors, one of which is cost.
“We are consistently one of the most affordable institutions in the Twin Cities area. We tend to draw students who are considering more affordable options,” says Bench.
Many students feel that they have the best of both worlds on this campus. The close-knit, small community is very attractive and welcoming to new students, while the close distance from the dynamic Twin Cities is also appealing.
“I chose UWRF because it offered my major and the community felt very much like home even though it is very far from there. I felt more comfortable here and it just seemed like a right fit for me,” says Stacey Kunde, a sophomore agriculture education major from Winneconne.
Popular majors at UW-River Falls include business, elementary education, animal science, biology, marketing communications, English, and health & human performance, but UWRF offers a multitude of other majors as well.
“I transferred to UW-River Falls because of the marketing communications major I was interested in. The cost of tuition and textbook rentals were a huge plus for me as well,” says Megan McGivern, a senior marketing communications major from Hatley. “River Falls gave me a feeling of community and school spirit, something that was missing at my last college. I just had a gut feeling that River Falls was where I wanted to be. After that everything else fell into place.”
UW-River Falls also offers a range of services through New Student and Family Programs. The professional staff in the department guide new students, their family members and supporters in making a successful transition to campus. Included within the department are orientation and transitional leaders, a group of student leaders dedicated to assisting future students, their families and supporters in their registration, introduction and transition to UW-River Falls.
“I’ve heard of other students having difficulties transferring to other schools. For me, they were very helpful transferring things over, even though it was halfway through the academic year. The faculty here were more than willing to set time aside to help students with the orientation process, financial aid, class scheduling and just getting acquainted with the new campus in a few days,” says Kunde.
As times are changing, so are the educational choices students make. Students transfer for all sorts of reasons.
“I have noticed that there is an increase in the number of students attending community college right out of high school. This, in turn, leads to an increase in transfer students in the university setting,” says Bench.
Bench engages in a number of activities to reach out to these students. Campus visits are planned to target transfer institutions and are one of the largest recruitment activities. Bench also attends several transfer fairs throughout the year and invites transfer students to campus for a targeted transfer visit day each spring.
“Sometimes I wish I would have just started my college career here. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely transfer to UW-River Falls. As I finish up my senior year, I know that I made the right choice in choosing UWRF,” says McGivern.