The Transfer Experience


“It’s definitely more welcoming,” Robert Longo ‘22 responded when asked about the transfer environment, “it’s something I was more used to personally having gone to Catholic school for most of my life”. Robert transferred sophomore year from St. John’s, and he describes all the opportunities St. Thomas offers for students to bond as a class. Jake Wright ‘22, who transferred this year from St. Mary’s in Pittsburgh, Kansas, concurred about the welcoming environment and the social ease of the school.

Cameron Price ‘22 transferred from Concordia Lutheran in Tomball his sophomore year. “I felt like there was a lot less pressure on you coming to school every day” Cameron Price said when asked about the social environment. He continued by describing the strong sense of brotherhood and community provided at St. Thomas.
Personally, having transferred from the bubble world that is California, I was able to meet my classmates the moment I stepped on campus for the first football practice during the summer. Even in the peak of the pandemic, I immediately knew a sizable portion of my class simply by going to practices. While the sophomore retreat was not possible, its absence did not hinder my social interaction.

Despite the welcoming scene, transferring has not been without its difficulties. “Even though I’m used to academic rigor, coming from St. John’s, it was a difficult transition over to the St. Thomas system in the way classes were set up, homework was given out. You know, I didn’t know about the LAPs until the second week of school” Longo said.
I agreed, as the significance of the LAPs is not stressed nearly enough at new-student orientations. Longo and I both experienced not knowing when tests or quizzes were going to be simply due to the structure of the portal. The difference between the transfer schools is not in the portal system, that remains the same. The true contrast is in the use. The other schools post assignments on the portal, while new students have to learn that you have to use the portal to go to other places to find your assignments.
It seemed to be a scavenger hunt just to find the homework. “When I went into sophomore year, I’m like ‘Wow! I only have two assignments due this week’ just to get blindsided by extra work due that day” Robert remarked. Transfer students, regardless of what they experienced at previous schools, have to realize truly what courses involve as soon as they begin school. Cameron Price addresses the importance of time-management and being aware of what you need to complete: “You’ve got to get your stuff done and you’ve got to get it done on time.”

Luckily, the LAPs are now discussed in the orientations, even from two years ago when Longo transferred. This is partly due to former transfers guiding the new ones as the people providing the information during these meetings. That being said, it seemed silly to have the LAPs as opposed to the Assignment Center and the scavenger hunt for homework. Furthermore, although the LAPs make sense in the grand scheme of things, the true scope of these documents need to be stressed better.
Overall, all transfers have had a good time at St. Thomas, thanks especially to the social ease in the welcoming environment presented to new students. The true challenge is not in the rigor of the content, but in the sheer workload and even finding the assignments. However, after a couple weeks, new students get used to the norms, begin to learn time management, and truly get into the rhythm as a student.