WWU takes steps to ease the way for transfers

The past year has seen a startling number of students
flocking to their local community colleges for their associate’s degrees or to work
on their general education requirements before transferring to state or private
four-year colleges. The answer to the unspoken question of why, is the cost.

According to College Board, the average price of a private
four-year college is $27,293 per year, while public two-year institutions
charge about $2,713 per year. With incomes stagnant and reductions in federal
and private financial aid, many students are saving money where they can.
Tiffany Bounds, a May 2011 social work graduate, was one such
student. She attended Moberly Area Community College for a year and then
transferred to WWU to complete her degree.
“I was able to get my common studies out of the way, so that
I could focus on my major when I got to William Woods. Going to MACC first
allowed me to graduate without any student loans at all. ”
As a result of this move towards transferring, William Woods
University has begun a campus-wide initiative to streamline the transfer
Bonnie Carr, WWU academic advising director, explained,
“There are more students going to community colleges, but many of them still
want a four-year degree, so we want to make it as easy for them as possible.”
This move towards simplicity includes
  • adding more articulation
    agreements with community colleges,
  • adding a page to the
    university’s new website specifically tailored to the needs of transfer
  • reaching out to community
    college students and
  • allowing accepted/deposited
    transfer students to register for classes with their graduating class,
    instead of separately.
Articulation agreements have always been a feature of the
university, but there is now a concentrated effort to sign these agreements
with colleges that offer associate’s degrees in WWU’s specialties. The idea of
an articulation agreement is that students get their associate’s degree at
another college and then transfer to WWU, follow an outlined schedule of
courses and receive their bachelor’s degree in two additional years.
WWU currently has eight articulation agreements with
community colleges, notably with Scottsdale Community College for equestrian
science, Johnson County Community College for ASL interpreting and Linn State
Technical College for business and management information systems.
Although she didn’t transfer under an articulation agreement,
Heather Cieszynski, a senior equine administration major from Warrenville, Ill.,
came to WWU because of the equine program.
“I was at a community college back home getting my gen eds
done and decided to come here for the equine program, because that’s what I
have always wanted to pursue as my career.”
 “What is really going
to make the difference to transfer students is the webpage when that goes up in
December, and the way admissions is reaching out to transfer students,” said
Tom Frankman, associate dean of academic services.
According to Sarah Munns, dean of admissions at WWU, the new
web page will make the transfer process more student-friendly.
“It’s going to include everything from a condensed form of the
articulation agreements, information about the enrollment and registration
process to housing options,” Munns said.
In the past, William Woods University set up a booth in the community
college’s dining hall and waited for students to come to them. Now, they’re
more proactive—getting out into the classrooms and giving presentations about
the opportunities available to transfer students.
“One thing that sets us apart from other four-year
universities is that we have really generous scholarship opportunities for
transfer students. Other colleges just don’t reward students for their transfer
GPAs the way we do,” said Munns. “Additionally, students may receive the LEAD
award as a transfer student.”
WWU’s admissions staff is reaching out in particular to members
of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year college students. Membership
is by invitation only and requirements include a 3.5 GPA and 12 completed hours
toward an associate’s degree.
The most immediate difference transfer students will see is
in the class registration process. Starting with registration for fall 2012,
transfer students who have been accepted, completed their paperwork and paid
their deposits will be able to register with other students in their graduating
“In the past, transfers registered after everyone else, so
they had to take whatever classes weren’t full, which may or may