Transfer student organization will hold its inaugural event Thursday
Go and Do
6 to 8 p.m.
Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center
Joyce Allman, associate provost for Academic Advising Oversight
Lisa Portman, director of the Center for Student Advancement
Zac Stevens, director of Camp Crimson
Kyle Butcher, OATS adviser
College was nothing new for Brandon Tomlin. When Tomlin transferred to OU from Tulsa Community College at the beginning of this semester, he felt confident in his ability to adjust.
“I thought I was a know-it-all,” Tomlin said.
But the intensity of the courses at OU and the amount of independence proved to be more challenging than he expected, Tomlin said.
Months later, Tomlin, a biology sophomore, now helps OU’s first student organization geared toward guiding transfer students like himself into their first year on campus.
The Oklahoma Association of Transfer Students, or OATS, will hold its first event tonight at Jim Thorpe Multicultural Center to introduce transfer students to the new organization and how it can help them find an outlet at OU, said Danielle Barker, chairwoman of the association.
Kyle Butcher, the organization’s adviser, founded the group near the end of last semester after he and his wife, Kacee, realized transfer students had no way to introduce themselves to each other, Barker said.
“We really want to put them on a level playing field, especially with freshmen,” she said.
An average of 1,800 students have transferred to OU each academic year since fall 2009, according to Institutional Research and Reporting’s enrollment analyses.
Tomlin’s journey to becoming a transfer student began with a last-minute decision to drop out of Oklahoma State University and Tulsa University’s enrollment process, thus leaving him to attend Tulsa Community College for a year before choosing another school, he said.
“I was just going to go to OSU and follow some friends, but I came to the realization that I can’t go to school based off where my friends are going,” Tomlin said. “I needed to wait.”
Tomlin attended the Camp Crimson session for transfer students during the summer and received a mass email directed to all transfer students explaining OATS and how it planned to help transfer students.
“I was thinking, ‘I’m going to jump into this; I’ve got to get plugged in somewhere,’” Tomlin said. “And I love it.”
As an ambassador in the organization, Tomlin speaks to transfer students, assists with campus tours and visits other universities in the area.
Barker, a geography senior, said the organization is in the process of building its executive team and increasing its presence. So far, about 15 students serve on the executive team, and the group’s Facebook page has received at least 60 likes.
Programs made to guide freshmen always have existed at OU, but transfer students have not found specialized help until recently, Barker said.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Barker said. “They are not freshmen and may feel excluded. While they are sophomores, they are almost freshmen in a sense.”
Barker transferred to OU from Crowder College in Neosho, Mo., during the fall semester of 2010 and said the most significant difference is the overall size and difference in teaching.
“[Crowder] was so tight-knit, and OU is so much bigger,” Barker said. “It was easy to kind of feel a little lost.”
The average class size at the two-year community college ranged from 15 to 20 students, with the largest classes topping off at 30 students, Barker said. The professor-to-student interaction changed from one-on-one to one-to-many when Barker transferred to OU.
For Tomlin, certain aspects of OU such as D2L and oZONE required that he take the initiative to discover things himself, he said.
“You’re kind of expected to know certain things, and if you don’t know, you’re expected to find out,” Tomlin said. “It was your own job to figure out about OU. It was upon the individual.“
The group’s event titled OATStoberfest, a fall festival playing off of Oktoberfest, will feature various activities, including a “kissing booth” in which students may guess how many Hershey’s kisses are in a jar, Barker said.
Guest speakers from the Provost’s office, Student Life and other departments will give advice to transfer students about how the advisement process works, how they can get involved on campus and what OATS has planned for transfer students.
The organization currently is looking to see what it can do for transfer students as it grows, Tomlin said.
“Next semester is supposed to be very, very proactive,” he said. “This [semester] was just kind of getting our feet wet.”