OCTOBER 19, 2021 — UTSA joins institutions from across the country in celebrating Roadrunner transfer students during National Transfer Student Week from October 18-22. Transfer students make up approximately one-third of the undergraduate student population at UTSA. Of the 8,682 students who enrolled at UTSA for the first time in fall 2021, 3,183 (37%) are transfer students; of those, 48% are first-generation college students and 69% are from underrepresented minority groups.
The Transfer and Transition Student Success Services Department collaborates with the UTSA Strategic Enrollment Department and the First-Generation and Transfer Student Center to support these students at every step of the process.
One particularly successful program is Alamo On-TRAC, a program for first-time freshmen who apply to UTSA but may not qualify for guaranteed admission. On-TRAC students begin the fall semester of their freshman year at one of the Alamo Colleges and transition to UTSA full-time by the beginning of their second year if they meet necessary academic requirements. This program provides students a pathway to UTSA and improves student success.
“In the last two years, the number of students in the On-TRAC program has doubled, with 130 students now enrolled,” said Barbara Smith, senior director of Transfer and Transition Student Success Services. “The majority of these students meet program requirements and transfer to UTSA. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of prospective transfer students we work with who ultimately choose UTSA.”
UTSA offers its transfer students dedicated advising, peer mentoring, and academic and social programming. The goal of these services is to ensure a seamless transition, to help transfer students feel at home at UTSA and to increase the retention and graduation rates of this population.
Smith reports that, with each transfer cohort, UTSA is seeing a steady increase in retention and graduation rates. Currently, the first-year retention rate for full-time transfer students is 84% and their four-year graduation rate is 67%.
Originally from Brownsville, Cyntia Alonso transferred to UTSA from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley in fall 2019. She now serves as a peer mentor for incoming and current transfer students, holding several meetings a week with her mentees to help answer their questions and guide them toward the right resources.
“From the moment I got to UTSA, I felt so welcome,” Alonso recalled. “I feel like I have been able to really find my place here by supporting other transfer students and helping them also feel a sense of belonging as a Roadrunner. I put a lot of effort into supporting my mentees. There is truly no better feeling than the sense of satisfaction I have knowing that I’ve been able to help other students be successful.”
Senior interdisciplinary studies major Fernando Cordova transferred to UTSA from Northwest Vista College. He recalled having a hard time transitioning from a community college to a four-year university.
“I remember being intimidated by little things like not knowing what ASAP or Blackboard meant,” Cordova said. “Transfer students are in a unique position, as they might appear on paper as juniors but they feel like freshmen walking into a new university with new jargon and new everything.”
In his first semester at UTSA, Cordova signed up to be a mentee within the Roadrunner Transition Experience program. He had a fantastic peer mentor who helped orient him to campus culture and guide him in the right directions. This inspired him to become a peer mentor so he can make a difference in other students’ lives, from helping them fill out their FAFSA, to navigating the Scholarship Hub and finding organizations to connect with on RowdyLink.
“I am so appreciative that UTSA is celebrating National Transfer Student Week,” Cordova said. “It helps transfer students across the university feel a sense of pride and a greater sense of belonging at this institution.”
UTSA celebrates National Student Transfer Week with a series of events hosted by Transfer and Transition Student Success Services and the First-Generation and Transfer Student Center. Signature events include a guest lecture by transfer alumnus Phillip Morales at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, and the Tau Sigma Transfer Student Honor Society Induction Ceremony on Friday, October 22. For the full schedule of events, visit the Transfer and Transition Student Success Center website.
Join us for an engaging conversation with President Eighmy to learn more about UTSA’s progress to date on the strategic plan, the goals of the mid-point refresh process and its importance to the Roadrunner community.Buena Vista Theater (BV1.326), Downtown Campus
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