The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU bucks national trend

Despite survey results, SMU transfer students particpate in academic, student activities

Transfer students are less engaged in academic work and college life than other students, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported.

The data, gathered fromthe National Survey of Student Engagement, also showed that students who “experience diversity” are more engaged than other students.

However, SMU officials say transfer students on campus buck the trend.

SMU transfer students are the ones who want to be in the classroom and want to be involved on campus, said Irma Herrera, senior associate director of admission and transfer admission director.

There were 327 transfer students at SMU this fall and 125-150 are expected for the spring. Normally there are about 500 transfer students a year, Herrera said.

Herrera says that an improved AARO for transfer students has helped get them involved at SMU from the beginning. The AARO transfer student session has expanded from a few hours of orientation to a full when new transfer students meet old transfer students, the Career Center and Student Organizations make presentations and parents attend programs designed specifically for transfer students, Herrera said.

While typically SMU gets transfer students as freshman or sophomores, in the next five years more juniors should transfer to SMU, Herrera said.

“A lot of people are doing the two and two, two years cheap and two years SMU,” Herrera said.

The new influx of transfer students is more practical, going to a community college outside of high school, saving money and then transferring. Community colleges are getting better; some even have honors programs and scholarships. Parents, however, still want their children to graduate from a recognizable university. Community colleges still lack a good name; SMU does not, Herrera said.

Herrera calls community college students “parking lot” students.

“They drive to school, go to class and then go home,” Herrera said.

Carissa Hughes, senior broadcast journalism major, transferred to SMU her junior year. She had gone to Texas Lutheran University for three semesters and Southwest Texas State for one semester.

Hughes, a former cross country and track runner at TLU, was injured and decided to leave the school for SMU. She was unable to transfer in time for the apring semester, so she went to STS to kill time.

Hughes said by the time she got to SMU she was past living in the dorms, joining a sorority and so on. She is a member of Golden Key Honor Society and on the dean’s list.

“I socialize but I’m focusing on my career,” Hughes said.

Britton Light, senior marketing major, started at SMU her sophomore year.

She had gone to Texas A&M for a semester and a half when she came home for spring break and never went back. She came into SMU with nine credit hours. Six of those were from Advanced Placement tests she took in high school.

Today, Light is the president of Program Council, a recruitment counselor for Panhellenic and a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a business fraternity. Light also sits on the Student Center governing board and Student Affairs Leadership Council.

Light believes SMU is a lot friendlier than A&M. She likes SMU’s atmosphere and appreciates sitting in classes where professors know students.

Jacke Souryavong, junior EMIS major, transferred from Tarrant County Community College. Souryavong graduated from high school early and went to the college to make a start.

Souryavong parents forced her to attend SMU in what should have been her sophomore year. She ended up being credited as a freshman and has debated on whether or not to stay at SMU ever since.

Souryavong says that she has not had much of a college life at SMU. She does go to SMU parties, but during the day around 3 or 4 p.m. the school is dead. Souryavong visits friends at the University of Texas at Austin to make up for what she is missing at SMU.

“You see people hanging out [at UT]…they have a lot of culture and diversity that you don’t have here,” Souryavong said.

A former member of the Vietnamese Students Association, Souryavong says that she will probably stay at SMU because she wants to graduate.

Fernando Amaya, sophomore CCPA major, transferred this fall from Brookhaven College. Amaya was in the Marines for four years and now the military is paying for his education.

When Amaya first got to SMU he was one of those parking lot students, but now he is getting involved. He is the Treasurer of CHAS and will be the Hispanic Events Committee chair for Program Council next year.

Amaya thinks it’s a pity that there is not a lot of diversity at SMU, but says academics are strong. At first Amaya was a business major who did not like his classes, but loved his teachers. He took advantage of the opportunity to meet with professors during their office hours. Amaya ended up changing his major and is happy at SMU.

Eva Parks, senior broadcast journalism major, transferred as a sophomore from the University of North Texas.

Parks is from Richardson, and UNT is in Denton – a smaller town than Dallas. It’s so small that many of the students at UNT went home on the weekends, Parks said.

“I’m really close to my family and UNT did not fit with me,” she said. “It felt like a big community college.”

At UNT, Parks was a Pi Phi member, but never joined the greek system when she came to SMU. She did join Program Council, but for her, coming to SMU was more about getting a degree than partying.

“Transferring made me take the five year plan,” she said. “I haven’t really ventured out of the journalism program.”

Since coming to SMU a lot of doors have opened for Parks. She got two good internships through SMU and really likes the journalism program.

“I’ve figured out my life at SMU,” Parks said.

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