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Celebrating the determination and diverse pathways of UW transfer students

I often describe our great public University as the University FOR Washington, and one of the ways that this manifests is in our commitment to our transfer students. Across our three campuses, we are committed to being welcoming, accessible communities in which our many transfer students can thrive throughout their academic journeys. Our entire University benefits from the perspectives and experiences that transfer students contribute, and during this Transfer Student Celebration Week, we have the chance to both celebrate our transfer students and examine how we can meet their distinctive needs even more effectively.

Over the last several years, the UW has improved pathways to degree completion for transfer students, most of whom arrive at the UW from one of our state’s outstanding community colleges. We work in partnership with community colleges across our state to help ensure that the process of transferring from a two-year to a four-year institution is as streamlined and user-friendly as possible.

It’s crucial that, after making the transition, transfer students not only have a clear roadmap to graduation, but that their campus and academic experiences are welcoming. This includes creating spaces that cultivate a sense of belonging, like the Commuter and Transfer Commons, and acknowledging the fact that for many transfer students, their college experience is different from students who arrive straight out of high school.

In creating a culture of belonging and pathways to degree completion, we recognize that transfer students have distinctive needs. They are more likely to be first-generation college students, to be Pell-grant eligible, and more likely to be BIPOC students. A higher percentage of transfer students also arrive at the UW as older students, bringing more and different life experiences to campus, as well as different perspectives on balancing academics, work and family. The diversity of their experiences is part of what makes their contributions to our academic community so valuable and important, and why we are deeply committed to ensuring that they have the resources and support they need to succeed as Huskies.

Above all, we seek to ensure that the hard work that transfer students put in to getting to the UW is supported academically and in day-to-day life. That dedication and commitment is reflected in the countless ways that transfer students succeed at the UW, including having graduation rates and GPAs that are consistent with their four-year peers.

To all of our transfer students, we are so happy that you chose the UW and proud to be a part of your academic journey. And to the many faculty and staff who are instrumental in helping transfer students succeed, your work is critical to our mission of creating impact for the public good.