Transfers Find Welcome in M.A.S.T.

November 2017

At the beginning of every semester, many students are starting college for the first time. However, there is another group of students entering the campus environment as well. These are transfer students, those who attended a previous college, but for a variety of reasons are attending a new school. Often times, the needs of transfer students can get overlooked in the process of welcoming freshmen.

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Palm Beach Atlantic University offers a program to assist transfer students with getting settled on campus. Now in its second year, the M.A.S.T. (Mentors Assisting Sailfish Transfers) program is filling in the gaps for new-to-PBA college students.

“We looked around at what other schools were doing to assist transfers,” Kathy Stauffer, PBA transfer advisor, said. “I thought starting M.A.S.T would be a great way to help transfer students.”

Transfer students face challenges like freshmen, but in different ways. “They have the college experience, just not at the college they are transferring to, in this case PBA. The lingo is different at each school, the process is different,” Stauffer said.

Transfer mentors are meant to serve as resource in helping the new students navigate the path to becoming part of the PBA community.

Taylor Sukmana, a sophomore nursing major from Port St. Lucie, serves as a member of the M.A.S.T. team. “We want to help them and make them feel welcomed,” Sukmana said. She joined the M.A.S.T program after receiving an email invitation to become involved.

“All of us on the M.A.S.T team are previous transfer students, so we understand what it is like to transition into a new environment,” Sukmana said.

“Having a transfer peer mentor helped me get an understanding of what campus life is like,” Emily Meadows, junior graphic design major, said. Meadows, from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, said that the mentors relate to the experience of coming from a different college. “My experience in transferring was great when it came to my social life, everyone here is really genuine and it was a positive experience,” Meadows said.

Sukmana said that the M.A.S.T peer mentors are very involved with the transfer students. “We want them to feel like they have someone to ask questions to and for them to know we are here for them,” she said.

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