Transfer students aim for a smooth transition into TCU


Students walking on the TCU campus. Photo courtesy of TCU admissions.

By Sydney Brunson, Staff Writer

Transfer students attend TCU from various places with different degree plans, but one common goal they share is to transition smoothly into a new school.


Students walking on the TCU campus on Thursday, March 2, 2023. (Sydney Brunson/Staff Writer)

Advisor Jennifer O’Keefe has witnessed the struggles of transfer students coming into TCU. She considers their challenges to be less about what colleges they transfer from and more to do with their majors.

“I would say it’s more major-specific,” O’Keefe said. “With journalism, you’re coming into what should be a five-semester program. Usually, we get students who are coming in at the end of their sophomore year and trying to finish in four semesters, but that’s kind of a scramble to figure out how we are going to structure your classes.”

Madeline Thornhill, a journalism major who transferred to TCU as a junior, said there were problems with her academic credits when she transferred to TCU from the University of Arkansas.

“I did not receive any guidance on which credits would successfully transfer over,” Thornhill said. “I was told that some of my classes I took at Arkansas weren’t actual classes, so the credit was dropped and didn’t count towards my GPA which got me a different amount of scholarship money.”

Thornhill adds that the most difficult part about being a transfer student is catching up on hours that did not transfer over to TCU and working to graduate on time.

“I do think all credits taken from a previous university should be analyzed more to have more credits approved towards your major or minor,” Thornhill said. “Many of mine are counted as electives which literally means they count as nothing. I was also going to have to retake classes I had already taken because they were not approved at TCU for the correct course it was equivalent to.”

O’Keefe believes there is potential for a smoother process for transfer students. That would entail advisors at TCU having better connections and communication with the colleges students transfer from.

“We try to answer as many questions as we can, but sometimes transfer students don’t know what questions they need to ask,” O’Keefe said. “From an academic side, there can be a lot of confusion depending on when they’re coming in and what programs, you know sometimes we don’t know that they’re coming in or they decide last minute to accept.”

All students at TCU must take 58 semester hours to earn a degree, according to TCU admissions. Although the provost office has requested to reduce the upper-level course requirements from 42 to 36 credits, the proposal has not gone into effect.

The proposal intends to make degree navigation easier for upper-level transfer students, but the original graduation requirements remain the same.

Trinity Resendez, a criminal justice major who transferred to TCU as a junior, believes lowering the requirements from 42 to 36 credits could make a difference.

“It would help transfers graduate easier and maybe even earlier,” Resendez said. “And it would possibly not be as stressful to be a double major if a person wanted.”

Zoe Wilkins, a nursing major who transferred to TCU as a junior, said her transition into TCU in regards to academics was smooth because of the admissions website and the transfer guide being reliable, but it wasn’t as smooth in other areas such as finding housing and figuring out the new course website.

“I think the hardest thing about being a transfer student is meeting people in your classes and trying to integrate yourself into already-made friend groups,” Wilkins said. “This for me was a hard thing, especially because my program is smaller than most and I am not really outgoing. I had to step out of my comfort zone to make new friends.”

O’Keefe acknowledges the struggles of transfer students, but ensures that TCU is trying its best to make the transition as smooth and positive as possible for them.

“We have tried to start a transfer group,” O’Keefe said. “We kind of just wanted it to be a student-led space to connect students who were coming in with each other in the same college or major areas to get to know other people who were new to campus to kind of just talk about the frustrations, good things that they’ve noticed coming into TCU. Just being a place for them to have a space within our own college.”

Transfer Student Experience at TCU offers many programs for transfers to get connected to TCU, other transfers and provide resources.

“Get to know your faculty, get to know your advisors, go to office hours, get involved, come to transfer groups when we email you about them,” O’Keefe said. “Just becoming as involved as possible. I was a transfer student when I was an undergrad and I regret that I did not do that, so I think especially with TCU, there’s so many opportunities to get involved and to kind of make it your own experience so take advantage of it.”