Increasing number of freshmen to transfer

By on December 10, 2015

The number of students transferring from the freshman class is significantly greater this year than in previous years, according to administration.

Just three short months ago, the freshman class moved into their dorm rooms, eager at the prospect of new beginnings, friends and opportunities. What could have possibly changed in three months?

In the past five years at Quinnipiac University, the retention rate for first-year students has been consistent. In 2010, the retention rate was 87.2 percent, it decreased to 84.4 percent in 2011, increased to 85.2 percent in 2012 and decreased slightly to 84.7 percent in 2013. Then, in 2014, the retention rate increased again to 86.9 percent.

Andy Delohery is the associate vice president for retention and academic success. He said it is hard to determine the number of students who will leave Quinnipiac since some do not follow the withdrawal and transfer process.

“We do know that students leaving private institutions are more likely to continue their study than students leaving a public institution,” Delohery said in an email. “As regards why, many of the students who leave report that this experience is not the right fit for them. Topics from their perspective include partying and economic disparity, which do not resonate with their values.  Others indicate they have changed their intended majors, which they feel are better served elsewhere.  Still others wish to be closer to home, having tried to study at a distance.”

However, Delohery said Quinnipiac’s retention rate is higher than the average rate for most four-year institutions.

Michaela Knight, a freshman in the school of Health Science, is transferring at the end of the fall 2015 semester. She chose Quinnipiac for the 5 ½ year BS/MS Occupational Therapy program, and the fact that she got accepted into the program meant a lot to her.

“The idea of studying OT was really exciting to me because it is a huge passion of mine, and I can’t wait to become an occupational therapist when I’m older,” she said.

Knight was also granted an academic scholarship, and she was attracted to the location of the school and the proximity to New York City. Although she originally loved the school, she found it difficult to find other students who shared her views and soon realized the lack of diversity was not suited for her.

“I have decided to transfer out primarily because of the student population at QU,” she said. “I have come to realize that the student body is not very diverse. I am from a city where every culture and race is represented, and it was really weird to suddenly not be exposed to as much of that.”

Knight plans to attend the University of Delaware next semester because of its larger and more diverse student population. She is looking for more options concerning club sports, organizations and a more “college town” feel.

“My decision to transfer was actually a really hard choice to make because I love my major so much,” Knight said. “I questioned for a while if transferring would be worth it, because it means that I wouldn’t be able to major in OT anymore, but I came to the conclusion that I’d rather take the longer road in my education if it meant I’d be surrounded by a more diverse group of people, and am able to do join clubs I am interested in.”

Mary Wargo is the director for admissions for transfer and part-time students. She explains some of the reasoning behind transfers.

“Students transfer at all levels from second semester freshman to junior year,” she said. “On average, roughly half of our transfers are entering Quinnipiac each fall as sophomores, the other half as juniors.”

“They transfer in for a variety of reasons – changing to a major their current school doesn’t have; too far away from home; too large (or small) a school; not what was expected when they attended; or just not a good fit,” said Wargo. “And of course the students who have attended community college must transfer to a four year school to complete their Bachelor’s degree.”

Brian O’Donnell is a freshman illustration major with a minor in 2D animation. O’Donnell also plans to transfer because the art classes provided in the school of liberal arts do not coincide with his major.

“I love the location of the school in relation to my house, but the atmosphere feels very exclusive and there is arts programs that I would invest my time in,” he said. “In order for me to stay, QU would have to grow their art community, and get people from the industry into the school.”

O’Donnell is transferring to the School of Visual Arts in New York for their top cartooning program.

“I originally thought the university was really beautiful, and I think that’s what draws a lot of people to this school, but then people get here and realize there’s nothing behind the beautiful brick walls and glass windows,” O’Donnell said.

CORRECTION: This online article is a different version than what was originally in the Dec. 9 print edition of The Chronicle. The print version of the article had the headline “Freshman class size to decline by fall 2016” and included a quote from Andy Delohery, the associate vice president for retention and academic success, about transfer credits. This headline was changed and quote was taken out because the information was misleading. The quote from Delohery about why students transfer was added into the article. To see the original print article, you can pick up a copy around campus or view the issue online.

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