Transfer students feel welcomed in new environment

By Proma Sen

A small undergraduate college in St. Paul with less than 2,000 students is a significant attraction to many incoming students, including transfers, looking to be part of the exclusive community here. For the average transfer student, Macalester represents a new college existence with a redefined purpose. Skadi von Reis Crooks ’09 transferred from Claremont McKenna College in California, in search of a better college location and students who were more committed to and passionate about their studies. Although she never visited campus, she had heard only good things about Macalester. With her father’s advice, she followed her intuition and transferred.

Over the last three years, she has decided to stay at Macalester, far from home, much due to the influence of a summer researching with Environmental Studies Professor Dan Hornbach. Since then, Von Reis Crooks has found her niche in the Biology department as well as Scotch Tape.

Reflecting on her first few weeks on campus, von Reis Crooks felt uncomfortable, upon being thrown into such a tightly-knit community. Most people already had their close set of friends and weren’t looking to branch out. She made friends with international students and other transfer students and slowly expanded her circle of friends. She found that the international students were more open to meeting people and transfer students could relate more to her situation.

Drew Van Denover ’11 has spent a lot of his time at Macalester with other tranfer students. He applied to Macalester his freshman year but chose to attend University of Colorado-Boulder, with 28,000 undergrads, instead.

Van Denover said he loves the college life at Macalester and is certain he will not be transferring again. He said although most of his friends are other transfer students, he feels extremely welcome and finds the atmosphere very refreshing.

Laura Leatherman ’11, transferred from Tulane University in New Orleans. Along with Van Denover, she thought the university was just “too big” and “not as interested in academics.”

She said people at Macalester are far more friendly and willing to have conversations on more real matters of concern than parties and clothes (although she isn’t opposed to a good party from time to time, either). She enjoys her involvement with MPIRG’s Democracy Force. She said that transfer students feel secure here knowing they share similar experiences.

Pal Andre Robson ’10, transferred from the preparatory school American College of Norway (affiliated with the University of North Dakota), where he completed his freshman year with 60 others. Going to preparatory school for Robson was a step towards Macalester, one of three colleges in the U.S. he applied to. He has found himself making friends with the international community on campus because they can relate to him more than other the transfers. He misses the Norwegian environment and lifestyle, but is glad to be here.

Transfer students are an important part of Macalester’s diverse student population. Although they may not have come here on their first college go, their remaining years are sure to be some of the most formative years of their independent lives.