A Likeminded Community: Transfer Students Transition to CC

This academic year, 31 transfer students were welcomed into the Colorado College community. I was lucky enough to be in a Block 1 class with three of these students, all of whom seem to be enjoying the start of the year in their new environment.

Transfer students enter CC the same way incoming first-years do: with Priddy trips. The students spoke highly of their experience, especially because the trips were comprised of other transfer students. No matter where they were transferring from, they were able to bond over a shared experience of making the decision to start over and join the CC community.

Students also felt comfort in joining a more likeminded community than their past college campuses. Charlie Szur, a transfer from NYU, finished one semester at the university before taking a semester off to travel and study in Ecuador. Originally from Michigan, Szur was looking for a more environmentally centered school than the one surrounded by big city life. He was also in search of a liberal arts-based community with an engaged student body to provide an overall stronger academic experience.

Much of his transfer process was done independently because he was studying abroad at the time of application. Szur heard about CC from word of mouth, a good school with an established environmental program. However, the application process was fairly simple, and CC was good about credit transfer, putting Szur in the position of a winter start with one semester of credits under his belt.

The actual transition to CC has also been pretty easy, according to Szur. “I love the Block Plan,” he said, “[and the] service-centered worldview sets CC apart from other top schools too.” Szur also commented on how inviting the social climate is. The lack of social barriers made it easier for him to focus on coping with the rigor of the Block Plan. He feels confident in his decision to transfer and advises others who aren’t happy in their situation to not be afraid of the process.

Austin Thies, a transfer student from Tulane University, shared similar desires for a more environmentally connected school. Thies finished one year at Tulane and most of his credits easily transferred.  Thies went to a high school with an alternative academic schedule of three classes at a time for five weeks. The artsy high school was also pretty outdoorsy and small, so his plan was to branch out a bit in college.

Unfortunately, Thies felt like “a hippie kid who didn’t fit in with the rest of the student body.” He felt that the Tulane students were more materialistic overall, and the school was also removed from nature. There was a city park, but Thies longed for the kind of nature you can get lost in. Thies also preferred the fast pace of nontraditional class schedules. He was able to find CC as a school with a more engaged student body in closer connection with nature and a familiar academic system. These three factors made him very content with the transition and excited to become more integrated into campus.

Cara Friedman, a transfer from Chapman University, finished her first year and had all her credits transfer successfully. For Friedman, she needed to “stretch her wings a bit” and move farther from home. Friedman grew up in LA, and while CC does not have the same city excitement as California, she is much happier with the less materialistic culture CC fosters. The Block Plan drew her in, and she describes it as, “so far, so good.”

Her experience on the Priddy trip was also very positive overall. “It was all transfers, we did frontcountry work, and it was pretty laid back. We gardened during the day, went to New Mexico, the sand dunes, hot springs, farmers markets and cooked a lot,” she said. Friedman and her fellow transfer students concluded that they are happier at CC and are thankful to have taken the steps, however daunting, to attend here.

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