Overheard in Transfer Committee — Preparation for Majors

Admit It! Transfers.  You’ve been patiently waiting for your turn to be in the spotlight.  Well your time has come.  Transfer Committee commenced and our discussions are well underway.  As with our freshman process, we are enjoying reviewing your applications and the discussions that ensue.

Overheard in Transfer Committee: Looks like he’s taken great courses for a bio/pre-med major

As is the case with freshman applicants, we do not admit students into a particular major or school.  That being said, freshmen enter with all four years ahead of them; they’re an academic blank slate that can be guided from the get go.  Transfer students however come to W&M with a more truncated timeline.  They’ve already started their academic path.  In the case of those hoping to transfer in as juniors, half of their college career is hopefully behind them.  The last thing most transfers want to do is double back to basic introductory courses or pre-reqs needed to pursue their major which can then lead to extra time spent earning their diploma.

Today we were reviewing a student who indicated an interest in biology/pre-med.  To his credit, he had taken great foundation courses (intro bio courses, intro chem and physics courses, calculus and statistics).  Biology/pre-med is a pretty lock-step major which requires several courses across the math/science spectrum.  Given that this particular applicant is finishing his sophomore year, he is likely fairly sure of his major, and we were glad that he’d taken the necessary foundation courses so that once at W&M, he could continue his studies without having to work backwards to fill-in pre-requisite courses.

We often have a similar discussion about those who indicate an interest in entering our Mason School of Business.  That program requires six pre-requisite courses to even apply.  How many of those courses has a transfer applicant completed?  How many semesters have they completed already?  Students applying to transfer during their freshman year still have time to complete some of these courses at W&M; students applying during their sophomore year have little if no time, unless they want to delay their entrance into their major and possibly spend extra semesters in college.

The point of this blog is not to compel transfer applicants to take every single pre-req for their intended major before arriving at W&M.  In many cases that’s not even possible.  Plus we recognize many transfer applicants come to W&M for a specific academic program and look forward to taking the bulk of their major courses at W&M.  We also know that even transfers can still change their mind about a particular major.  But we do want to ensure, especially with transfers, that we’re admitting students who can complete their academic pursuits in a reasonable amount of time.

Stay tuned transfers.  More on your application process to come.

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission

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