GU Enables Internal Transfers
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 02:10
While switching schools is rare for Georgetown students, the university’s intra-school transfer program provides students the wiggle room necessary to explore multiple directions for their academic careers.
According to Associate Director of the McDonough School of Business Undergraduate Program Lisa Scheeler, about 25 students transfer into the business school and roughly the same amount transferred out each year. Meanwhile, last spring, 20 students transferred into the College and 30 more transferred in this fall, Jessica Cianci-Dausch, an assistant dean in the College, said. Finally, according to Associate Dean of the School of Foreign Service Mitch Kaneda, 43 students transferred into the School of Foreign Service this academic year and nine students transferred out.
Assistant College Dean Tad Howard said that the ease of transferring provides an opportunity for academically qualified students to adjust their environment to fit their interests better.
“Students have already been admitted to Georgetown, and if they’re in good standing, they’ve proven 90 percent of what they need to prove,” Howard said. “So we may approach [transferring] with a little more flexibility.”
Students who wish to transfer must apply by the end of their spring semester sophomore year, a timeframe that allows students to think through their decision and ensures that they can still graduate on-time.
Each school requires a form signed by the student’s dean and a one-page essay explaining the reasons for transferring. The SFS also requires a grade point average of 3.3 or higher.
“The application was so easy,” Emma Newins (MSB ’15), who transferred into the MSB from the College to study finance, said.
Although students may easily navigate the application process, transferring credits and beginning new coursework is more difficult.
“When I transferred, I still had three required operations and information management courses to take, and I still have to take one more this semester,” Brigid Lenahan (MSB ’13), who decided to pursue finance in the MSB instead of the College, said. “The work [in the MSB] is different than the College too, because the College was so much work on your own time, which works well for me, but now group projects makes the work on other people’s time,” she said.
However, some students were able to begin fulfilling their new program’s core requirements before being accepted, making the process smoother.
“Because I had recognized that I wanted to transfer early on in my freshman year, I registered for classes in such a way that I was able to fulfill requirements for the SFS while still technically being in the College,” said Alden Leclair (SFS ’15), a student who transferred from the College to the SFS at the end of his freshman year to study international politics.
Janine Duffy (SFS ’14), who transferred to the SFS from the College at the end of her sophomore year, said it was a positive experience because it was easier to pursue her interests.
“The College just didn’t have what I wanted because I felt pretty limited once I picked a certain major,” Duffy said. “But I felt the SFS, on the whole, was a lot more open, and I could tailor my concentration to what I was most interested in.”
On the flip side, Lenahan chose to transfer because the business school provided more structured courses for her interest.
“I started taking [College] requirements, and I felt lost. I was too practical for the College. Then I took a Stats 040 course and realized that I missed math and numbers,” she said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but in the MSB, networking is built in, and it seemed like getting you a job was the focus.”
Leclair also said that job concerns played a role in his decision to transfer.
“If I was going to study international relations, why wouldn’t I study at one of the best and well known [schools] in the world? Some of the classes that are important to international relations … I don’t know if I would have taken,” he said. “Employers will know that all these [courses] are a part of my degree.”
Howard said he hopes that transfer students are not completely overlooking their interests to secure a more practical future in hard economic times.
“I’d like to think that once they’re here, we can help them see the many different ways to understand practicality, and that school-hopping for those reasons is unnecessary,” he said.
However, Howard also lauded the university for creating an environment in which students have the freedom to change their minds until they find the path that best suits them.
“Students room with students from other schools, take classes with each other, watch the debates, throw footballs, eat meals with each other,” Howard said. “Outside of the dean’s offices and the majors, there’s great fluidity socially, culturally and even academically, so it’s easy to get a sniff of what’s happening over there and to want to explore the possibilities.”
Students rarely transfer back to their original schools, according to both Howard and Scheeler.
“In my nearly five years at Georgetown, I can recollect no instance of a student transferring out and then back in to the MSB, or vice versa,” Scheeler said.
Howard sees transferring as a way for students to remain academically active.
“Some just feel the need to stay in constant motion,” he said.