Starting this January, Davidson College will begin accepting mid-year transfer students that have completed at least one year of college at a different institution. They are aiming to accept close to five students who will enter as either sophomores or juniors.
David Kraus, Director of Admission, explained that virtually every year the College has considered admitting mid-year transfers, but has always turned them down. This year, the Admissions Office deliberated, with different results: “We pulled together a meeting with student affairs, residential life, academic affairs to say, ‘What do you think about this?’” Kraus said.
Kraus anticipates that athletes will take advantage of the new policy, as coaches, in the past, have often requested Davidson to accept athletes mid-year. In fact, Kraus explained, his office “already has an application for one student hoping to compete at Davidson.”
Although Davidson has accepted many first semester transfers, mid-year transfers will most likely have a different experience adapting to a new campus. Taylor Miller ’17, a transfer student that came to Davidson last fall from Elon, remarked, “It does make it harder because there won’t be other freshmen getting adjusted to the campus at the same time.”
Shane Gilbert ’16, a transfer student that transferred into Davidson his sophomore year, agrees. “I felt less ostracized because the freshmen were also new to Davidson. These mid-year transfer students will be the only group going through orientation.”
Miller recounted the difficulties of transferring to a new school where everyone else is already acclimated. “It was hard but a lot better than staying where I was,” she said. Since Davidson requires that transfers have at least a year of college or university experience, most transfers, like Miller, are confident that Davidson will be the right fit.
Kraus explained that a common reason for transferring is because Davidson is “well known for relationships between the faculty and the students.” Students at larger universities recognize the benefits of a better ratio and want to take advantage of that resource by transferring to Davidson.
Davidson’s competitive admit rate of 21% is twice as competitive for transfer students: according to Kraus, the rate for transfer students is closer to 10%.
While being a transfer student comes with its challenges, Gilbert, who transferred from a large state school with over 20,000 undergraduate students, focuses on the positives: “I will always appreciate that I experienced a different college environment,” he explained. My exposure to a large state university has given me a perspective centered on gratitude for how incredibly fortunate I am to be at Davidson. Everyone is different, and large universities are certainly better places for some students, but I find it easier to develop in this smaller setting. I can engage and collaborate with professors, pursue outside activities, and immerse myself completely in my studies.”
Davidson’s choice to accept mid-year transfers looks like it has great potential to add more members to the community. Students should expect up to five of them in January.