Those Who Get the Student “Set”

Written by on January 17, 2022

The spring semester of college brings new growth to campus, new changes in the weather and new students. Many of these students are transfers looking for a different and unique opportunity. Others are early high school graduates ready to start their college career. Either way, the processes and paperwork precede and follow these newly admitted students, and that task is assigned to many campus departments.
Before considering who to interview regarding this topic, I thought I would do a little research on the KWU website and I discovered that there are several requirements to being considered for transfer-student enrollment. Once it is shown that the student qualifies, he or she must then 1) submit an application, 2) send the transcripts, 3) complete the FAFSA, 4) Reserve their spot. Each and every one of these steps directly involves the various university departments.
To dive deeper into the topic, I decided to narrow my discussion to KDubHub. The Kansas Wesleyan University KDubHub can not only assist students with financial aid, they also handle the award status processes, transcript handling and verification of financial status.
More specifically involved is Amanda McLaughlin, Director of Financial Aid, Juli Wilson, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, and Taiylor Sharp, Academic Services Coordinator.
I reached out to Amanda McLaughlin in regards to her role in the transfer student process and asked who could best provide some insight regarding their offices’ process. Amanda encouraged me to visit with Juli and Taiylor both. Juli Wilson was more than happy to assist in my quest so when I inquired with her about common reasons for transfers and asked, what is the main role you have in regards to getting transfer students ready for the spring semester? Wilson said, “My main role in getting transfer students ready for the spring semester is to make sure all of their documents are submitted and if they are going to use Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Some students are flagged for verification, some need to be reviewed for past attendance, and some just have pending items that still need to be submitted. Making sure the student’s name in our database is correct, their Social Security number (SS#) is entered accurately, and their birthdate is listed on their admissions screen so that their FAFSA will automatically generate through to our database. I run a missing SS# report weekly and push them through once I update their information from my end.’
“One other very important step is assisting the students in accepting or declining their financial aid award in their MyKWU account. We have PDFs of the “how to accept/decline awards” and of the payment selection forms that we send via email when needed. Some students like us to walk them through the process in person and swing into our office.”
In addition, I asked Wilson, what is the biggest challenge you face with transfer student processes? Wilson
said, “The biggest challenge is usually stopping at having the official transcripts from all of the schools that they have been to previously, which happens in admissions with the registrar before we can generate any financial aid. The students must be in accepted status before we do anything on our end; therefore, making sure their transcripts are evaluated, then they are “packaged” at a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior level. Next, their qualifying college classes have to be applied by admissions and the registrar. This is critical
because money can be a sensitive subject and we don’t want to be sending out awards that are not accurate with “actual” grade level.”
Next, I visited with Taiylor Sharp about her involvement in this process. When asked, what is the biggest challenge for the transfer student, Sharp said, “The biggest challenge for the transfer student is during spring enrollment from what I see is the environment change. Transfer students coming in are leaving their “norm” and coming to an environment that is unknown and depending on where they are coming from it can seem foreign.
“They are surrounded by new students and faculty that they have to create/ build relationships with. If they play a sport they also have to get a feel for new coaching as well as learning plays. This can feel like a lot for anyone, so making sure students know they can come in our office for anything is very important. Feeling like you have someone in a new environment that has your back can make a huge difference.”
The other question I asked Tailor Sharp was, how many touchpoints, on average, does it take to get a transfer student enrolled and ready to go? Sharp said, “For the registrar’s side, we are in touch sometimes before they get here because we need their final transcripts, or they have questions about the classes they will be taking here or if the classes they are currently enrolled in will transfer over. Then when they get to campus they usually come by our office for their schedule and to ask any questions they have in person.’
“This is when we go over Canvas, their student email, and the student’s MyKWU. These login credentials are important because this is where students will interact with their classmates and professors, turn in homework, see their classes, and check their grades.’
“We usually have about 8-12 touch points with transfer and newly admitted students before they really get comfortable with where they are going.”

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