Learning from Transfer Students

On the national level more than one-third of all college students transfer at least once, and many transfer more than once. While the transfer student population remains relatively low at the University of Michigan, our transfer students still deserve attention and support. For several years Sweetland has been conducting research and making programmatic changes designed to support transfer student writers. Of course, a number of transfer students make the transition to U-M very easily, but our research shows that others face challenges including adjusting to the increased workload, negotiating instructional differences, understanding faculty expectations, negotiating peer relationships, and identifying resources that can aid in their transition to U-M.


Writing 350, a course designed to support transfer students in courses that meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement, has received considerable praise from students who say that it helped them understand and respond to expectations for their writing. The Transfer Directed Self-Placement process provides students with an understanding of what ULWR courses require at the same time that it introduces them to the resources that Sweetland offers, such as Writing Workshop and the Peer Writing Consultant Program.

We will continue our research in order to learn more about the experiences of transfer student writers. This, in turn, will enable us to adjust our courses and other resources because we believe that the institution needs to make adjustments just as transfer students do. That is, we believe that U-M and its transfer students should engage in a process of mutual adjustments.