A fresh START: transfer students tackle orientation process from home

Transfer student from Portland State University and current incoming OSU junior Darios Asgari on a bridge over Opal Creek in Oregon. Asgari believes the perspective of transfer students are not as frequently considered compared to traditional four-year degree-seeking students. 

Kimberly Clairmont, News Contributor

Despite Oregon State University’s switch to a remote START orientation platform, a number of the transfer students remain in good spirits as the 2021-2022 academic year approaches.

Typically, new OSU students are expected to come to the campus in Corvallis, Ore. for orientation to attend in-person tours, advising appointments, team bonding activities and even sleep in the dorm rooms for a night. 

In-person tours and advising appointments turned into Canvas modules and mandatory Zoom meetings. 

According to OSU transfer student Darios Asgari, the online meetings and Canvas quizzes are a sufficient alternative to an in-person START. 

Transfer student Sophie Caldwell found the university’s tutorials to be confusing and non-user-friendly. 

A general consensus among students is that in-person orientation is more efficient and effective at preparing students for campus life, but the remote processes served as a reasonable alternative. 

Although the START process was vastly different for transfer students during the pandemic, students are still feeling supported by the university’s faculty members from afar. 

Caldwell, a transfer student from Central Oregon Community College, praised OSU’s academic advisors for ensuring her orientation ran smoothly amidst the chaos.  

Caldwell gave a shout-out to all of the university’s employees working for the College of Agricultural Sciences saying, “They were great about helping me through the process, so major compliments to the advisors!” 

Asgari suggested the university consider transfer students’ experiences more often to better accommodate them. He feels that their perspective is not considered as frequently as those of traditional four-year students. 

While the orientation process adapted to soothe safety concerns post-pandemic, a number of  new transfer students voiced their excitement about attending OSU in the fall. 

Asgari shared his excitement about coming to OSU in the fall saying, “I’m excited to start something new and experience things on my own,” something many students can relate to after staying mostly at home for over a year.

Caldwell said, “I’m excited about having that sense of community again.” She says it has been “funny going from a university and then to a community college where there was a ton of community, then none and then being online at my parents house. I am looking forward to doing school with people my age again and getting to learn with others.” 

Some students who transfer from schools with smaller student bodies, like Asgari, feel they have more opportunities to get involved and establish a greater sense of community here at Oregon State 

Other students like Alaric Hartsock, a senior who transferred from Central Oregon Community College, chose OSU based on financial, locational and reputational reasons. 

“Oregon State was more of an engineering school and had a greater focus on STEM fields than University of Oregon,” Hartsock said. “The amount of progress I have made and getting closer to graduating and getting a job” excited Hartsock the most about transferring to OSU.

Caldwell chose OSU based on its locality and diversity of major options. OSU’s long list of academic programs led her to declare a major that she was passionate about: agricultural sciences. 

Asgari said, “This time around, since it is all online I will be put in a situation next year where I will have to adapt.” 

Asgari pointed out when comparing the orientation process at OSU and his former university, Portland State University, that, “Both universities did a good job of explaining what the school has to offer their students.”