Marquette is honoring the different educational paths of students by pursuing agreements with community colleges that allow transfer students guaranteed acceptance to the university.
The university signed its first Guaranteed Agreement Program with College of Lake County, a two-year community college partner, in Grayslake, Illinois. The program allows transfer students to earn their bachelor’s degrees at a four-year institution if they complete the requirements in their particular degree.
The Guaranteed Agreement Program is a significant part of Marquette’s plan to increase transfer student enrollments.
Adam Stout, assistant dean and transfer coordinator of undergraduate admissions, said the university is targeting colleges that appear to be the best fit with Marquette. “Using past enrollment data, we are identifying feeder community colleges and are prioritizing those institutions for future partnership,” he said.
Marquette is in the process of developing agreements with several Wisconsin community and technical colleges, as well as other two-year campuses in Illinois and some around the country, though no specific colleges were given.
The agreement with the College of Lake County is the first one signed by both institutions. The scope of a Wisconsin community college agreement would be much larger. One proposed agreement is with all 13 of the community colleges in the UW System.
Stout said the future increase in transfers will hopefully provide a greater sense of engagement. “Agreements with two-year campuses also offer us the chance to show we’re a good citizen in our community,” Stout said. “Community colleges, like four-year institutions, are similar in that we all exist to provide the best education and career preparation possible for students.”
The university has several staff members to make the transfer process as smooth as possible. Each college at Marquette has a designated faculty or staff member to assist transfer students with advising. Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has a team of transfer counselors to handle questions from transfer students. A transfer credit specialist is also employed with the Office of the Registrar to facilitate the credit transfer review process.
Rebecca Streightiff, a junior in the College of Communication, transferred to Marquette during her second semester of freshman year. Streightiff made the change after visiting a friend at Marquette. She said she immediately noticed the community and engagement from students.
Streightiff said there was not a clear program developed for students who transferred in the middle of the year. However, her transition was relatively easy, because she knew people from her hometown studying at Marquette. Additionally, Streightiff was involved in a program called Students Taking Active Roles, which allowed her to meet a few other transfer students.
Though it worked out for her, Streightiff said more can be done to accommodate mid-year transfers. “I wish I had a similar experience as those who transfer at the start of the academic year,” she said. “I always hear about how amazing summer orientation is, and I want there to be something similar for the transfer students who come to Marquette for spring semester.”