According to a recent U.S. News & World Report education report, Texas Tech was ranked 16th for most transfer students among all schools listed on the annual “Best Colleges” list.
The 2012 rankings were based on data from 2010 and include all the colleges and universities with rankings published on the overall “Best Colleges” report by U.S. News. While the average number of transfer students for all universities was 467, Texas Tech enrolled 2,447 transfer students in 2010.
“We are delighted with the high ranking but we are also impressed by the implications of this ranking of Texas Tech,” said Provost Bob Smith. “Our favorable ranking results from all that we are doing to attract and retain transfer students—ensuring that every transfer student has the best opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree.”
The largest concentrations of the Texas community college population are located in the greater Houston and Dallas areas, according to the most recent enrollment report by the Texas Association of Community Colleges. Texas Tech is the only university in Texas with a published ranking by U.S. News to be included in the top 20 for most transfer students. Director of undergraduate admissions Ethan Logan explained that this was no small feat.
“The fact that Texas Tech is not in a major metropolitan area is a challenge we work hard to overcome,” Logan said.
Working Hard to Increase the Numbers
For university administrators, the recent ranking did not come as a surprise. According to Ryan Gibbs, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education & student affairs, Texas Tech actively pursues transfer students.
“We understand that transfer students often come in better prepared; they have a more focused motivation. They are often more serious about their studies,” Gibbs said.
University administrators believe the high rate of transfer students can be attributed to the strong connection Texas Tech facilitates with state-wide community colleges. Texas Tech attracts potential transfer students with a joint effort by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of Community College & Transfer Relations (CCTR). The CCTR exists to help potential transfer students at community colleges with a seamless transition process, by providing academic counseling for current community college students to ensure that any credit earned will apply to a specific academic plan at Texas Tech.
“There are not many comparable offices like the CCTR across the state or across the nation,” Gibbs said. “It really shows the dedication Texas Tech has toward serving transfer students, specifically those from community colleges.”
Texas Tech has also made an effort in recent years to increase the amount of scholarship money available specifically to transfer students.
“The challenges that transfer students have are primarily related to academic transferability and the cost of education,” Logan said. “So those are the two areas where we try to alleviate concern or anxiety with our transfer students.”
Texas Tech’s relationship with community colleges also helps to increase the number of minority students enrolled at the university.
“When we consider that over sixty percent of Hispanic students begin their college careers in community colleges, our success with transfer students is very likely to impact students that have traditionally underrepresented in the academy. Thus, there are a number of very good reasons for celebrating the ranking noted,” Smith said.
In addition to the CCTR, Texas Tech offers programs and services to transfer students through Transfer Connection. Transfer Council, Transfer Techsans, and the Transfer Connection Learning Community all provide opportunities for transfer students to meet one another and to encourage success at Texas Tech.
“The transition from a 2-year to 4-year institution can be disconcerting,” Logan said. “That’s why we provide support for retention and engagement.”
Programs geared specifically toward transfer students help Texas Tech retain transfer students at high levels because they provide comfort, friendship and opportunities for involvement in the university.
“We don’t want students to miss any of the Texas Tech experience because they have chosen to be a transfer student instead of being a native freshman,” Gibbs said. “You have so many opportunities to expand yourself and to find where you fit. This is a great place to be.”