Kent State Admissions Team Makes Transferring a Slam Dunk
Kent State University’s men’s basketball team goes by many names: Golden Flashes, Mid-American Conference champions, winners.
But Ted McKown, senior associate director of admissions for transfer enrollment, would add “transfer students” to that list.
Many of the players on this season’s winning team transferred to Kent State from other colleges, making them part of a group of about 1,200 students who, each year, find themselves at Kent State for a new stop on their educational journeys.
McKown and his team do all they can to make sure their move is a seamless transition, and that Kent State becomes their final stop.
McKown said students transfer to Kent State for various reasons, but most fit into three categories: academics, financial or geography.
Geography comes into play often when a student decides to study farther from home, and then misses the familiar surroundings of home or does not like being away from family. “Often these students are one to three semesters into their programs,” he said.
Finances also result in some students transferring to a different school. McKown said often students opt to study farther from home, but then their money runs out or their debt is growing, and they opt to return to Northeast Ohio where they can live at home and attend college more affordably.
Finally, academics drive some students to transfer, when they begin a program of study at one university, then decide it is not what they expected so they switch universities to find a better fit. McKown said this is common for students who are deciding between Kent State and another school, and then end up switching back to Kent State in the end.
“The second choice then becomes the first choice,” he said.
Whatever the reason for the transfer, McKown and his team works to offset any problems, one of the biggest of which is transferring credits.
He said Kent State tries to make sure that many, if not all, credits will transfer so that students aren’t losing the time they spent taking those courses or wasting the money they spent on them.
“We really try to make the ease of transfer seamless with the way we transfer credits,” he said.
The transfer process can be overwhelming for students.
When Isabelle Roeder, 20, a sophomore from Santa Cruz, California, transferred to Kent State for the 2022 Fall Semester, it was her second time changing colleges in as many years.
“Transferring is definitely confusing,” she said. But Kent State, she said, made the process easy.
“There were a lot of resources,” Roeder said. “It was pretty seamless. I don’t really remember many hiccups.”
Best of all, she was able to transfer all her credits from both previous colleges.
When she graduated from Soquel High School in 2021, amid the pandemic, Roeder said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study, but she knew that she wanted to live somewhere different than her hometown in northern California.
“I wanted to try something new,” she said. Roeder enrolled in Manhattan College, a small private school in the Bronx, New York.
“New York is very different from California, and I wanted to get out and see the world,” she said. It only took one semester for Roeder to discover that she did not enjoy living in a big city, and she returned home to California, enrolling at Cabrillo College, a community college in Aptos, California, to continue taking core classes while trying to determine where and what she wanted to study.
At the time, her father was living in Kent, and when she visited him, she decided to tour the university.
“When I was in town, they were doing freshman orientation,” Roeder said, “I saw the fashion school and I was like, `Oh my gosh.’ I was always into art, but I didn’t want to just major in art. I didn’t know what that career would look like. But when I saw all the hands-on learning and working in labs (at the fashion school) it was not just a traditional classroom setting, that’s what sold me.”
Kent State, she said, even helped her fill out all the necessary forms to change her legal residency to her father’s home in Ohio so that she would qualify for in-state tuition.
Today, Roeder is majoring in fashion design and hopes to add a minor in either business or fashion merchandising. She is also hoping to spend a semester at the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising’s New York City Fashion Studio – to give the big city another chance.
While she is still trying to figure out her exact career path, Roeder said she is thinking about a future working in sustainable fashion or pursuing gender equity in clothing. “Something where I can make a positive impact on our world,” she said.
Despite having attended two much smaller schools, Roeder said she has adjusted well to Kent State, although the Ohio winter has taken some getting used to. “I really like it,” she said, “Everyone has been super helpful, and everyone is super nice.”
Her first day of class in August was a bit of an eye-opener when she was in a large lecture room with about 200 students. “We were sitting shoulder to shoulder, and it freaked me out at first, but now, I love that class because of how many people there are and how many people I have been able to get to know,” she said. “It has been awesome to meet people from all over.”
McKown said his team understands that relationship building with transfer students is so important. They give particular attention to students who may be coming from two-year community colleges, even recruiting at that level so that students can prepare for their transfer as they are completing their first two years. That way, he said, students have a better understanding of what courses they will need to take at the community college level so that they are best prepared and so all their credits will transfer.
“We look at those credits to see how they will satisfy their associate degree, but also apply to their bachelor’s degree at Kent State,” he said.
Students transferring from two-year community colleges often experience “sticker shock” when they see that courses at a four-year university are costlier, he said. In that case, Kent State often can offer a Flash Transfer Northeast Ohio Scholarship to help offset some of that cost and make the switch affordable.
Finally, McKown said, Kent State offers a wide range of online-only courses, to allow those out of state or even out of the country to transfer to Kent State, without having to leave their homes.
“We offer many programs that are 100 percent online,” he said, “Anyone can transfer to Kent State and get that degree from the comfort of their own home.”