Transfer students transform their lives at New College of Florida

Guest Correspondence

At New College of Florida, students experience an education that fosters initiative, risk taking, entrepreneurship and community. For transfer students, this experience is even more relevant as they move closer to their post-graduation goals.

Year after year, New College is ranked as one of the most transfer-friendly schools in the nation. And we’re only one of two colleges from the State University System of Florida on Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Transfer Honor Roll this year.

We couldn’t be prouder of these nods. But our accolades, which have accumulated rapidly throughout the past few years, are only part of the picture. The proof of our success is in the students—those who continue to transfer to New College and find their lives transformed.

“We have increasingly been seeing the value of attracting and enrolling high-performing transfer students, and we have been working to make New College a more transfer-friendly environment,” says Tim Binns, New College’s assistant director of transfer and international admissions. 

Today in higher education, increasing numbers of students are opting to finish an associate in arts degree before transferring to another institution to complete a bachelor’s degree.

“Our transfer path at New College offers opportunities to those who may not have been ready or able to attend their target four-year college or university right out of high school, or who had never previously considered a four-year degree but are looking now,” Binns says. “We welcome these students—and their unique perspectives and academic talents—to New College.”

New College currently partners with such institutions as Daytona State College, Florida SouthWestern State College, Hillsborough Community College, Lake-Sumter State College, Santa Fe College and State College of Florida. Students from these colleges can transfer upon the successful and timely completion of their associate degrees. 

Each year, about 25% of our enrollment at New College is comprised of students who transfer from other institutions.Every transfer student is assigned their own faculty adviser and nationally-certified career coach (a luxury larger colleges can’t provide). Transfer students also receive generous guaranteed scholarships, making New College a highly cost-effective option.

In addition, since July 2021, our New Day transfer success program has allowed students to work one-on-one with a transfer bridge director—someone who helps students navigate the unique culture and academic procedures of New College.

Now let me tell you about some of the transfer students who have thrived—and are thriving—at New College. Take Corinne Laughrey, a physics student who transferred from State College of Florida in 2020 and will graduate from New College this spring.

“When I finished my A.A. at State College of Florida, I wanted to stay local. I chose New College over USF because I liked the idea of small class sizes, the ability to design my own courses for topics of special interest, and the opportunity to work closely with my professors,” Laughrey says. “Finishing my undergraduate degree at New College has helped prepare me for graduate school by giving me the opportunity to conduct research.”

Laughrey is now conducting solar physics research with the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado Boulder.

“I would recommend New College to other transfer students who don’t feel challenged at their current institution. At New College, you have the opportunity to be more than just a name on a class roster,” Laughrey says. “Your professors really get to know you and what you’re capable of rather than comparing you to some standard benchmark. If you’re self-motivated, the sky is the limit on what you can learn and accomplish here.”

And transfer student Michael Bolesh (who is originally from Flackville, New York) just earned a coveted Boren scholarship to study French in Senegal this fall. The environmental studies and anthropology transfer student will join the French component of the African Flagship Language Initiative, applying the scholarship funds from the competitive award to intensive language immersion in Dakar.

“I eventually want to do the Peace Corps and/or go to grad school outside the states, so this is a critical stepping stone to get out of my comfort zone,” Bolesh says. “These past three semesters at New College have been nothing short of transformational for me.” 

“Transformational” is a word we often hear among our transfer students. And there’s a reason. New College is more than a stepping stone; it’s a life-changing experience.

Patricia Okker, Ph.D. is the president of New College of Florida.

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