Bob Jones University welcomes many transfer students every year, and they constitute three percent of the University’s student body.
The University has added a total of 106 transfer students to our student body this year—82 in the first semester and 24 this semester.
When choosing a college during high school, many view that college as their home for the next four years.
But others will transfer, and, whether it’s by choice or circumstance, they experience more change than many planned on dealing with.
Transferring To A New College
Last summer Clearwater Christian College had to close its doors, causing students to frantically find new plans for the fall. They had no idea that the spring semester of 2015 would be their last, but June 5 they received an email containing the news.
“It was not something we were prepared for or knew. We were already registered for classes for the next semester,” Andrew Smith, a sophomore accounting student, said.
But it’s not always a school closing that causes students to transfer schools. Some transfer for a change of major, they discover a school in which they think they’ll fit into better, or perhaps they want to participate in certain extracurricular activities that one school doesn’t offer.
Evelyn Licona, a senior from Honduras started her path of higher education in Nicaragua. She transferred to BJU in 2013 because she wanted a degree in engineering— a major that her previous college didn’t offer.
Anna Burrell, a junior business administration major, was originally a commuting student at a college near her house in Loganville, Georgia.
“I was doing well, but I really had a desire to move on to a bigger university with bigger opportunities,” Burrell said. “I was really burdened around Thanksgiving to pray about it.”
Burrell was able to apply during Thanksgiving break, get accepted and start classes at BJU this semester.
Adapting to a New
Through God’s guidance and the help of friends and family, transfer students take on the challenge of being the “new kid” all over again and try to adjust with ease.
Smith said from the beginning, his adviser helped him stay on top of things, while Godinez said his adviser and his sister helped answer all his questions during his transferring process.
While Burrell has a sister and a cousin who were already students, she still had to adjust to becoming a dorm student.
“I’m actually really loving it,” Burrell said. “It’s interesting because I’m coming from a situation where I had my own room and shower, and now I’m having to live with other people. That can always be a challenge. I thought it would be a little harder, but it’s worked out really well.”
Burrell also had to find a new friend group to settle into as an upperclassman.
“There are so many opportunities that I didn’t have before,” Burrell said. “As a commuter I felt kind of isolated, but people here just text [me] and ask me to do dinner or hang out. It’s a family environment.”
But transferring schools doesn’t always pan out perfectly for everyone.
“I was supposed to graduate in May, [but] with the transfer and education requirements here it pushed me back a semester, so I actually won’t graduate until December,” said Amanda Crowe, a senior math education student.
Another struggle is settling into the groove of the new school. Philip Tarcza, a senior accounting student, described one such incident,
“[There you] just show up to dinner or lunch and your friends are usually there at the same time, but here at Bob Jones you have to schedule meals, and that was totally new to me.”
Kirtis Yurchak, a senior accounting major, transferred from Miami University to BJU in the fall of 2013 to play on the Bruins’ basketball team.
For Yurchak, the difficult aspect of transferring wasn’t dealing with his college shutting down or trying to adjust socially to a larger school, but getting used to BJU’s rigorous schedule both academically and outside the classroom.
The transition may be tough, but through God’s grace and guidance, these transfer students have found their place at BJU. Looking back they can see how God directed them.
“Spiritually, I’ve grown a lot since the beginning of last semester,” Smith said. “There have been so many cool opportunities, and the Lord has worked in so many ways.”
Like many college students, Yurchak once thought transferring schools seemed such a waste of time and money, but God has taught him to trust Him.
Yurchak also said that transfer students see things in a different light, allowing them to appreciate some things more.
“This is where I should have been all along, and it’s neat to see where God has taken me in the process of coming here,” Burrell said.
Yurchak reminded other transfer students to keep the end goal in mind and remain focused on the task at hand despite the loneliness and nostalgia.
“God has you here for a reason,” he said.