Transfer Student Woes

As any transfer student will tell you, transferring from one four-year university to another is an enormous headache, although the National Association for College Admission Counseling reports that one in three students transfer at some point in their college career.   You force yourself to spend another series of Saturdays looking at the dreaded commonapp.org online forms that you thought you were done looking at on February 15 of your senior year, pay another round of application fees – which are about three times more for transfer applicants than first-year applicants – and tackle the impossibly awkward task of politely asking your favorite professor to help you escape from the university that employs them.  Once you’ve heard back from schools and decided where you’ll be going, you can expect a depressingly unhelpful financial aid award, a great heap of uncertainty in place of the credits you thought you’d already earned and an invitation to a minimal orientation program where they don’t give you free food or orchestrate fun bonding activities like they do for the first-years. UVM as a sophomore and sophomores are required to live on campus, they make an exception for the transfers showing up from across the country who don’t know anyone or have any useful connections when it comes to finding housing in Burlington.   While I don’t envy the sophomores cramped into rooms designed for two people that are now being used to hold three students, and the cubic meter of ski equipment and down coats that each of them requires to endure the Vermont winter, I envy the ease with which they acquired that housing and the relatively low amount that it costs them, compared to say, Redstone Apartments. To get on-campus housing as a transfer student, you have to add your name to a waiting list with ResLife, they then sort that list by age, giving housing to the youngest people on the list first.  Although I submitted my request before the spring semester even ended, I did not hear back about my housing request until three weeks before the fall semester would begin – that just isn’t good enough.  Finding housing in Burlington is difficult.  The problems range from buildings that are decaying from years of neglect to landlords who flat out refuse to lease, show or talk about leasing or showing their rental units to UVM students. Forcing students to figure something out in the three weeks between hearing back from ResLife and the start of classes, in a town where students sign leases up to a year in advance, is absolutely ridiculous. ResLife needs to step it up. I know that they’re facing their share of problems as the University expands, but just because transfers constitute a minority doesn’t mean that ResLife shouldn’t have to help make the adjustment just a little bit easier for us.