Transfer class cut by nearly half to compensate for high yield rate

May 16, 2012, 3:04 a.m.

Thirty-three transfer students received offers of admission this year out of a pool of more than 1,500 applicants, according to Assistant Director of Admission Kate Shreve. This year’s 2.2 percent acceptance rate is nearly half of last year’s 4.1 percent rate, when 58 of about 1,400 applicants were admitted.

“We reduced the transfer admit target by 20 given the higher than expected freshman matric[ulation] rate,” wrote Richard Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid, in an email to The Daily.

According to Shaw, 17 of the transfer students are from community colleges, while 11 are from four-year universities and five are international.

“We did see an increase in the number of applications for transfer admission this year,” Shreve said. “However, due to the diverse nature of the transfer applicant pool and its relatively small size, it is difficult to characterize the pool as a whole and to describe how it differs from year to year.”

Nonetheless, Shreve said she thinks transfer students differ from students admitted during regular admissions in some ways.

“While we do seek many of the same qualities in transfer students as in freshmen, [such as] a strong academic record and intellectual vitality, there are also some differences,” Shreve said. “With transfers, we look for students who are academically mature and prepared to jump into Stanford’s rigorous curriculum mid-stream. We also have a strong commitment to our U.S. Armed Services Veterans and to students with non-traditional educational backgrounds.”

Shaw added that the transfers are “a different population with different kinds of experiences and perspectives. We believe the transfer perspective does add to the ambiance of the campus and in the classroom.”

Transfers bring various unique backgrounds that diverge from those of the typical Stanford student who comes to campus directly after high school. For example, Emma Wood ’14 transferred last year from Williams College after also spending a year in Italy and Argentina.

This time was not only productive for academic growth, she said, but was also a way to develop her passion for food, wine and tango dancing.

Even though not all transfer students belong to the same graduating class, they still form their own sense of community, Wood said.

Transfers participate in their own version of New Student Orientation, and this year, most transfer students live in Kimball Hall or Paloma in Florence Moore Hall, making it easier for transfers to bond in the dorms.

“There is definitely a transfer community, and it’s really well mixed,” Wood said. “I think there can be this fear that transfers will group off according to where they came from, but there’s no segregation along those lines.”

Wood said she doesn’t feel as much of a connection with the Class of 2014 even though she is technically a sophomore, feeling closer to those in her academic classes.

“I feel like we’re in this interesting place where we’re between being a freshman in some senses, and being practically graduated in others,” said Jesse Clayburgh ’13, who transferred from a community college in San Francisco.

Aside from this sense of separation from one’s graduating class, the transfer experience has its own challenges. Ronaldo Esparza ’13 transferred after two years at a community college in Miami.

“You’re not sure what year you’re in,” Esparza said. “For example, I was in community college for two years, but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily a junior.”

“It all depends on what classes they accept,” he added. “That way, it’s good to have people from different grades that you can identify with.”

Stanford’s learning environment was also distinct from what Esparza was accustomed to at his former school.

“At community college and other colleges, you have to work by yourself and ace a test,” Esparza said. “Here, you have to work together to be successful. The challenging part is that it is not only way more difficult [academically] than my previous college, but you also have to live and develop your social skills.”

Wood also said that she had to adjust to Stanford’s active social scene after coming from an institution where academics seemed to be the school’s only focus.

The Office of Undergraduate Admission hopes to continue to make these transitions manageable for incoming transfers through pre-established programs like New Student Orientation.

“We remain deeply committed to transfer students and look forward to welcoming a vibrant and diverse transfer class to the Farm in the fall,” Shreve said.

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