Finding new home makes for difficult transition

Martina Pansze

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Most students in higher education would consider it a nightmare to relive the college application process, but some brave souls managed to once again navigate the mess of school tours and Common Application essays that landed them at Whitman.

Junior Alexandra Sigouin transferred to Whitman from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She decided to make the switch when she realized that she wanted more responsibility and independence during her college experience.

“In Vancouver I was living at home, so it almost felt like I was living high school again,” said Sigouin. “I really wanted to come to a college that had a campus and had more of a college life. I was also looking for a school with a Division III tennis team.”

For Sigouin and many fellow transfers, the transition from one school to the next can be rocky.

“When you’re transferring, even though you have experience with school and have done college before, you’re still getting used to a new setting,” she said. “Even though you’re older, everything is still completely new. You’re still essentially a new student.”

Sophomore Elizabeth Thomson, who transferred from Elon University in North Carolina, agrees.

“I don’t think people realize that it’s a huge deal to decide to transfer from another school,” she said.

Sigouin found that her tennis team and community at Whitman have been a great support system during her move.

“My biggest problem with transferring is feeling homesick, missing home and friends. But it’s getting better as I’m getting more familiar with life here,” said Sigouin.

Sophomore Garrett Atkinson, however, who was recruited as a pitcher for Whitman’s baseball team from University of Dayton in Ohio, had very little transitional turbulence at all.

“In some ways it’s easier to come in as a sophomore because you’re already familiar with the college process. Although it’s not completely the same, you feel more comfortable,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson partly attributes his successful move to Whitman’s transfer program.

“Honestly its been a really smooth transition … They do a really remarkable job organizing events to establish community within the transfer group,” he said.

Whitman places transfer students in the same Encounters class and has transfer-only orientation events so they can get to know each other.

“It’s great to have encounters with a group of people who share an experience and are going through the same thing,” said Thomson.

Atkinson has also found that the students here are a lot more intellectually and culturally driven, which he can relate to.

“Everybody has a deep appreciation for food and international cuisine,” he said. “I felt out of the loop but it’s really cool.”

Thomson agrees that Whitman students are different from those at her previous school. She decided to transfer because the student body at Elon didn’t encourage the kind of learning she wanted to get out of her college experience.

“I like the passion students have for the outdoors and how huge of a part of Whitman that is,” she said.

Even with a smooth transition, however, most transfers agree that applying to college for a second time can be a miserable process.

“You basically have to go through senior year again, but while taking college courses,” said Thomson.

Though the process of transferring can be trying, students agree the result is worth it.

“It’s a big decision, but when you’re someplace where you aren’t happy, finding it inside yourself to know there is somewhere else where you could be having a better experience is so hard and so important,” said Thomson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email