This summer, many newly graduated high school students will finalize preparations for the start of their college careers, from choosing a major and taking placement tests to securing their dorm rooms and buying textbooks. Also among those taking the next steps in their education will be transfer students. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) recognizes that these students face their own set of unique challenges and to help them navigate this transition, UTC recently became a participant in Tennessee Transfer Pathway program.
The Tennessee Transfer Pathway program assists students currently working on associate degrees in selecting appropriate courses that will make their move to a four-year Tennessee university as seamless as possible. The web-based program is a collaborative initiative by the Tennessee Higher Education Committee, Tennessee Board of Regents, Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association and the University of Tennessee system.
“We are fortunate that many students want to transfer to UTC, and typically they do very well once they are here,” said Lee Pierce, director of undergraduate admissions, in a press release. “Anything that we can do to encourage students to enroll in higher education in Tennessee – and of course, at UTC – is a positive step. The Tennessee Transfer Pathways site is a step to make this entire process easier and more student-friendly.”
While the website’s assistance does not eclipse the importance of seeking academic advising and support, UTC embraces the program as a steppingstone toward success on its campus and earning a baccalaureate degree.
Upon acceptance into UTC, both transfer and freshmen students will find an academic community that is committed to supporting their personalized journey, both inside and outside of the classroom. For most, that journey begins at orientation. UTC hosts several multi-day orientations throughout the summer to help integrate new and transfer students into college life.
UTC Bookstore Manager Kellie Wright says orientation is the first opportunity for students to familiarize themselves with the many resources available to freshmen and transfer students on the UTC campus. She credits the strong partnership between her store and the UTC Orientation Office with connecting students to their campus bookstore. “Freshmen and transfer students can be a little nervous about starting at a new school, and UTC’s orientation leaders have been incredibly supportive with introducing incoming students to the bookstore,” she explains. “Every year, I speak with the Orientation Office about the different textbook formats available, how students can find their books through their course schedules, Student Financial Aid, and the cost-saving benefits of ordering books early.”
Support from the Orientation Office has also contributed to the bookstore’s tremendous success with launching Barnes & Noble College’s Igniting the New Student Connection last year. The loyalty program is designed to connect and build relationships with incoming students from the moment they receive their acceptance letters and throughout their first semester experience. The program includes email, social media and exclusive student events and promotions.
“[UTC] really saw the benefits of this program in connecting students with the bookstore and boosting school spirit.” Wright says. “And the University never hesitated in spreading the word through orientation. We wanted new and transfer students to know that the bookstore can be a fantastic resource for them – that we’re here on campus to help them.”
Bobby Hamous, Regional Manager for Barnes & Noble College, echoes Wright’s sentiments: “The UTC Bookstore has a great relationship with the students. It interacts with them on many different levels when they first come to campus at orientation and throughout the year by utilizing social media and email marketing,” he explains. “Our strong partnership with UTC has made a big difference in effectively communicating these initiatives. UTC is an exceptional school that really supports its students – and the UTC Bookstore shares that mission as well.”