The Firing Lane: College survival and success: something transfer students need to know


Shivani Jinger

In this photo illustration, Computer Science major Harshini Reddy checks the transfer credit central portal, at Valley Library – Oregon State University on Feb.21

Alexander Banks, News Contributor

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Transfer students are realizing a significant amount of class credits aren’t transferable from their previous college or university, and many feel this dampens the Oregon State University beaver experience. 

Unfortunately, some have to spend an extra few thousand dollars retaking classes and relearning material they already know. Pointing fingers doesn’t benefit anybody,  but who should be the one to take accountability in these situations?  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive between parties, and they should both be open to change. 

It’s essential that transfer students are “proactive and not reactive,” said Scott Harrington, OSU student advisor. 

Nevertheless, these occurrences can be used as a learning experience for existing and incoming transfer students. OSU administration is not perfect, either, and improving communication so students don’t feel as though they’re being left in the dark could solve a lot of problems.  

Joshua Stuber, a mechanical engineering major, transferred from the College of the Sequoias in California. He said what drew him most to OSU was the robotics program.

“I had to go through a lot of hoops,” Stuber said. “The class I took should meet [OSU] requirements because it meets these other college’s requirements.” 

Stuber transferred from a college that uses semesters as opposed to terms at OSU, which could have been to his benefit. However, since he came out of state, it’s more unlikely Stuber’s college in California would have identical–or even similar–classes to those in Oregon. 

Stuber said that he lost 12 credits–three classes–when he transferred from California. 

“The biggest problem, honestly, was that it was so rushed,” Stuber said when referring to the START program. At START orientation, students are kept to a fast-paced schedule to optimize time and efficiency to deal with the influx of new students. 

Stuber had a lot more questions that weren’t answered, and still felt his situation was unclear even after speaking to an advisor. 

Although some credit could be transferred over others wouldn’t because the material being covered at both colleges are different. Unfortunately, Stuber had to retake classes he’s already completed in California.

Different material could range from the course being numbered differently and/or inadequate course descriptions, to the professor covering slightly different material. 

“So far everything has been stuff I’ve learned,” Stuber said. 

Stuber even said the course he took at community college was harder and went more in depth than his current class at OSU, most likely due to it being a semester-long course. These challenges didn’t discourage Stuber from coming to OSU, although he has considered the fact that if he stayed in California he wouldn’t have to spend money retaking classes.

“My advice would be to make an appointment with a counselor and discuss each of your transferred classes,” Stuber said. “Make sure they understand you don’t want to have to take more classes than you need to.”

Third year microbiology major, Erik Jacobsen, transferred to OSU after 60 credits from George Washington University and 20 years in the army. 

“They gave me one credit for physical activity class, and gave me 44 credits of unspecified elective,” Jacobsen said. “So it doesn’t count towards anything.”

In addition to that, 16 credits were unable to transfer to count towards his degree. When Jacobsen brought up the issue with his advisor, she sent it up to the dean who was not willing to budge on any decision, and even ghosted him. 

“Some of this (baccalaureate) core feels extra remedial, and I’ve spent two years working on baccalaureate core stuff,” Jacobsen said.

 He doesn’t mind sharing some of the blame since he thought he could have done more to get a response from his dean. However, in hindsight, he would have opted to complete his baccalaureate core classes at Linn-Benton Community College.

Scott Harrington was a transfer student from LBCC, turned staff, and now works as an advisor for computer science students. 

Harrington recommends the first step for transfer students would be checking the information that’s already available.  

“We do have transfer tools that folks can use,” Harrington said. “There’s a course search in there that connects directly to our class database.” 

With these tools, students can see for themselves if any credits on their transcript will fully transfer to OSU. Sometimes students transferring from a semester college or university will receive one and a half credits, if the class is compatible. 

Even though this information has been around for students to use, Harrington said it could be better advertised so students know it exists. 

Although Harrington and other advisors like to stay proactive, they are handling hundreds  of students and their transcripts, so they will–inevitably–miss things. 

“Unless somebody makes us aware of [the situation], sometimes it does kind of fall through the cracks,”  Harrington said.

That makes it even more important for students to make an extra appointment with their advisor to sit down one on-one. Communication is key and somebody is always willing to help. 

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