NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. –When community college students are preparing to further their education and transfer to a four-year institution, they look to their advisors for where to transfer and what courses they need.
For years, Carol Andrew, assistant dean, Office of Academic Programs, for the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) has been connecting with New Jersey Community College (NJCC) advisors. She visits many of the 19 NJCC partners, and offers presentations aimed at their students interested in learning about transferring to SEBS, as well as occasionally attending a Transfer Fair. After speaking with many of her NJCC colleagues over the years, Andrew had a brainstorm when she realized that nothing does justice to the School as seeing the real thing. She said, “I determined that we needed to invite advisors to our turf and to educate them about our majors and programs. And by offering a tour we also could introduce them to our beautiful campus and facilities. And most importantly, help them help their students prepare to come here.”
And so was borne the “NJCC Advisor Open House – Transitioning your Transfer Students,” which has been offered annually since 2014, with a one-year hiatus.
This year the event took place on October 18 at the Cook Student Center. Andrew introduced the NJCC advisors to the School and explained the structure of Rutgers–New Brunswick and how SEBS fits into the university. After showing the new SEBS recruitment video, she shared what SEBS has to offer transfer students in terms of programs/majors, minors and opportunities. She reviewed how transfer students apply to our school, and for the seasoned advisor, shared changes such as new options and policy updates that may impact their students. Andrew noted that last year there was a lot of discussion about the new core.
The goal of the event is to guide the advisor to help the student find SEBS if it is the appropriate school for their interests. Andrew explained, “In the past many of them overlooked SEBS because they weren’t aware of some of our unique and specialized majors. We got lost in the greater Rutgers landscape. We want the advisors to help students prepare academically by taking the right prerequisite courses; take advantage of the NJ Statewide Transfer Agreement; and have a positive transition to our school, ultimately lowering some of the ‘transfer shock’ associated with undergrads transferring between institutions. A smooth matriculation into the correct major ensures retention of the student.”
This year the Open House featured dean of international programs Mukund Karwe from SEBS International programs who gave a presentation on the opportunities available for students to study abroad. He shared how students would be able to fulfill their Experienced Based Education (EBE) requirement and build their resume. For others it is an opportunity to earn elective credit while experiencing another culture.
Paul Meers, director of the biotechnology undergraduate program discussed the major and how to prepare academically–what courses to take prior to their arrival here; what to expect once they enroll; opportunities for research; and EBE. He also shared what some of his graduates are doing now. Following lunch, Meers took the group on a tour of Foran Hall.
Andrew has noticed the effects of the Open House, “I believe the program is a success when an advisor calls me and asks a question about a detail of a particular program or faculty member on behalf of a student. Usually this is in response to something they heard first at the Open House. Or when I visit a school, like last month at Middlesex County College, and my colleague said to me “I can’t wait until your Open House! What major and tour are we going to cover?”
The following NJCCs were represented at this year’s Open House:
- Bergen County Community College
- Brookdale Community College
- County College of Morris
- Camden County College
- Mercer County College
- Middlesex Country College
- Ocean County College
- Raritan Valley Community College
- Rowan at Burlington Community College
- Rutgers Off-Campus programs also attended as they have representation at three NJCCs