Potential Penn transfers often have a lot of questions on their minds , but not many outlets to direct them toward.
This Thursday at 8:30 p.m., the Transfer Student Organization hopes to address some of those questions through their first ever live webchat.
The Transfer LiveChat, which is open to any students considering transferring to Penn, will be conducted via TinyChat. 12 members of the TSO board, as well as any other current transfer students who wishes to be involved, will be answering questions.
About 5,000 prospective Penn transfer applicants were invited to join the LiveChat.
According to TSO co-president and College junior Nikolai Zapertov, “We thought about how we could reach out to prospective transfer students as a way to give back to them, because obviously we were all in that position before we transferred in.”
While there may be a lot of general information available on things like receiving transfer credits, “when it comes down to it, a lot of people need extra reassurance and that insider perspective on what it’s like to be a transfer,” Zapertov said.
“Some questions might be like, ‘If I don’t go out every night will I be isolated at Penn?’ … those kinds of questions that you might not necessarily find on the Admissions website,” he added.
As for the type of questions this LiveChat will address, TSO co-president and College senior Kim Gordon said, “We’re really not looking for questions like, ‘What are the chances I’ll get into Penn?’ because, frankly, we don’t know, and that’s not what we’re here for.” Instead, TSO hopes to discuss their own diverse experiences that might shed light on what it’s like to be a Penn transfer.
“How do I know what I can be involved in?” is an example of a question that might be answered, according to Gordon. “Penn has a website for student groups, but it’s not that updated, so it’s nice to hear a student voice on what’s available here,” she continued.
The LiveChat will “not [be] telling them what to write on their essays,” said TSO executive vice-president and College sophomore Adisa Williams. “But any question that they might have pertaining to the application process that could make it easier, we’d definitely want to be there to answer those questions,” she continued.
“I come from the West Coast,” Zapertov said, “so [when I applied to transfer] I was always wondering about how class structures operated at schools around the East Coast.” Zapertov also mentioned that since he applied to Penn for its Biological Basis of Behavior Program, he wishes he had the chance to talk to current students since it’s “such a unique interdisciplinary program.”
TSO has advertised the LiveChat throughout social media sites, as well as through the Office of Admissions website. Williams credits the Office of Admissions for “helping us gain access to that stream of transfers.”
“TSO is student created, so we’re trying to bridge a lot of gaps with admissions and hopefully, in doing so, [we can] access transfers as soon as they’re accepted,” Williams said.
Gordon, though a little apprehensive of the LiveChat’s potential reception, said, “The fact that this is going to happen is very meaningful for me because I know we can improve from there. I won’t be upset if only two people log on.”
Besides the LiveChat and transfer student orientation, TSO offers many other outlets for potential and admitted transfers to feel welcome at Penn. Those include the TSO Tumblr, where students can submit questions and find information about transfer mentors and peer advising for admitted students, social events, additional guidance and support.
Before the creation of TSO, Penn had few resources that directly assisted transfer students.
“TSO helped [link] all the transfers together,” Williams said. “It really helps in giving you that instant friend base. Some of my friends that I met at the first transfer dinner are some of my friends today.”
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