In an effort to ease the transition from one Ontario post-secondary institution to the next, Brock University’s A-Z Learning Services has implemented Transfer Connect, a space where students transferring into Brock can communicate and be a part of a network of other transfer students. The program, which is available for both university and college transfers from Ontario post-secondary institutions, is run through student feedback and is being adapted to meet their needs.
The idea for the program came after a survey was sent out to transfer students regarding if they felt supported during their transition period. While many felt that there were a lot of services made available to them when they first transferred in, there were a significant number who felt that this support eventually waned. This can be problematic for students who are having a difficult time transitioning into the Brock community.
Transfer Connect is an attempt at making sure the support continues for transfer students by creating a set of priorities based on the transfer students own needs. Additionally, the support through Transfer Connect will extend throughout the school year, making sure that transfer students feel supported for the entire duration of their academic careers at Brock. Different needs transfer students may have include academic or, emotional support, life advice, and social events to help better acquaint transfer students with the wider Brock community.
On Wednesday night, Transfer Connect began with Ontario post-secondary transfer students being invited out to not only participate in group-based activities with opportunities to network with one another. To start narrowing down what it is they would like to use Transfer Connect most for. Many of the suggestions had social undertones. Additionally, an information session about other transfer programs.
The social suggestions are in large part due to the transfer experience. Most university or college students transferring into Brock feel disconnected from campus within their first few weeks, months, or even years at Brock. They don’t always have connections like high school friends and lack connections that are usually formed in first year studies. This can be especially difficult for transfer students who are transferring into the second, third, or fourth year of their degree as friendships groups are often already established.
This provides transfer students with an opportunity to find a connection with others who may be experiencing those same feelings of isolation. It also provides an opportunity to form strong bonds and friendships that will help carry them through the duration of their degree. Academics are not the only part of the university experience and, the social part can often be left to the back-burner.
Additionally, Transfer Connect will attempt to run as often as transfer students feel they may need it, whether it be weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The idea is to allow transfer students to decide for themselves what they need so that the university might accommodate them better.
Additional to Transfer Connect, A-Z Learning also offers the Transfer Success Program. The idea behind this program is that students transferring into Brock from any other Ontario post-secondary institution is eligible for three free hours of tutoring after a consultation with Monica Drenth, the Learning Skills Specialist at the Student Success Centre. Additionally, transfer students are eligible for three more free tutoring hours if they sign up for two workshops. With the cost of tutoring being $25 an hour for first year classes alone, the program is a great opportunity.
The Student Transfer Success program is also offered every year, though the six hours must be used up within each year as they don’t cycle over into the next. Transfer students are considered to be transfer students as long as they attending Brock.
A-Z Learning offers more than just programs for transfer students, with extra opportunities available for trailblazers (first generation students), mature students, and aboriginal students. Additionally, A-Z Learning Services, being a part of Brock’s Student Success Centre, supports any Brock student through the identification and completion of their personal and academic goals.