The path to a college degree is not always a straight line.
Transfer students, although difficult to track in government data, make up over a third of today’s college students. Of the 3.6 million students who entered college for the first time in fall 2008, 37.2 percent transferred to a different institution at least once within six years. And of those, almost half changed their institution more than once, totaling 2.4 million transitions from one institution to another between 2008 and 2014.
“More and more of today’s students are looking to blaze their own path to a degree, and there is really no reason higher education institutions can’t do a better job of meeting them where they are,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said. “Circumstances change. And in today’s higher education, it’s absolutely necessary to be more flexible in order to better serve our students.”
Unity College’s new Assistant Director of Admissions/Transfer Counselor Rachel Kahn has personal experience with changing ideas and circumstances over the course of her education. While she originally pursued a degree in vocal performance in New York City, Kahn eventually realized her heart was in education. She transferred four times before landing at Siena College to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in History Education, and is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Southern New Hampshire University.
Kahn enjoys working with college-bound students — especially nontraditional students — and fostering relationships between students and schools to create access to higher education.
“This position and this population really speak to my heart. I know first hand how transfer students have complicated, specific challenges — transferring credits, figuring out course schedules, working through financial aid,” Kahn said. “This is so scary for so many students. I want them to be able to call me any time and know they’ll hang up the phone feeling better because they talked to me. I want them to be confident we will figure it out together.”
“Making these students feel comfortable, competent and enthusiastic about the choice to attend Unity College is so important. They should be excited about the future and what’s coming next for them.”
Kahn will manage all transfer student recruiting activities at Unity College, and be responsible for all aspects of the admissions recruitment cycle, including travel to two-year colleges, community colleges, college fairs, communicating with transfer counselors, college faculty, prospective students and parents. In the coming months, Kahn will also be developing new partnerships with transfer personnel and faculty members at two-year and community colleges, hoping to open more avenues for transfer students interested in Unity’s unique approach to experiential, environmental education.
57 transfer students joined the Unity College community this fall, growing the on campus transfer population by over 54 percent. Ranging in age from 18 to 51, and coming from as far as California, Oregon and Louisiana, Unity College’s transfers are a real reflection of the college embracing a new age of college students.
“Unity College has to be able to reach students at any point in their educational evolution — freshman, transfer, working adult — so when they decide an environmental college is a key aspect of their future career, we have to have an entry point,” President Khoury said. “We stand at the ready to help students wherever they are in their lives.”