Throughout the excitement of welcoming a new class of first-year students to the University of Utah, it is important to the Office of Orientation & Transition that transfer students are supported as well. Like first-years, they are brand new to the U. They may be more familiar with higher education and being away from home, but they’re often starting from scratch when it comes to networking, making friends and building community.
“I transferred to the University of Utah from Chicago in 2017,” said Maria Hernandez, a political science major at the U. “At my previous university, I had developed a close group of friends who were very supportive and helped me through my transition into college. For health and personal reasons, I decided to transfer to the U, where I didn’t know anybody and didn’t have any friends. This was a very hard transition that made me wish to be back in Chicago.”
But just a few months into her transfer to the U, Hernandez found out about the Crimson Transfer Honor Society (CTHS). The program was established in 2016 to provide academic recognition and opportunities to transfer students at the U.
Students are eligible to join CTHS after attending two transfer workshops and earning a 3.5 GPA in their first 12 credit hours at the U. All of the funding from the one-time membership fee goes back to supporting transfer students through scholarships, social programming and academic initiatives such as the opportunity to earn CTHS graduation cords, transfer student study sessions and support for students as they prepare for graduate school. Since its establishment, more than 325 students have joined CTHS.
“Finding CTHS completely reshaped my experience at the U,” said Hernandez. “Academics have always been a huge priority in my life and finding a group of transfers students who share similar experiences to mine and also are interested in academics seemed like hitting the jackpot.”
Being part of CTHS makes it easy for transfer students to learn about a variety of university services and opportunities, as well as make many of the crucial connections that help them make the most of their higher education experience.
“CTHS helped me see that because being a transfer student can be hard, having safe spaces of people with similar experiences is crucial,” said Hernandez. “Even now after graduation, I’m still in contact with some of the people that I met through CTHS and I’m sure some of these bonds will last a lifetime.”
During the 2018-2019 academic year, CTHS awarded $5,000 in scholarships to transfer students:
Maria Fernanda Rivera
Rivera is a political science major with an emphasis in international relations. As a first-generation college student and an immigrant from Mexico, this scholarship will help Rivera continue her education beyond her bachelor’s degree to better be able to serve her community.
Rawlings graduated in 2019 with a degree in speech and hearing science. She is applying her scholarship toward the speech language pathology graduate program this fall, where she hopes to specialize in fluency disorders and aphasia.
Nguyen is another spring graduate who majored in kinesiology and psychology. Working as a pharmacy technician as an undergraduate led her to an interest in nutrition, and she is now pursuing that through a master’s in dietetics at the U.