Seattle University Demystifies Transfer Application

Transferring to Seattle University just got easier thanks to a new policy introduced by Undergraduate Admissions. The Redhawk Transfer Admissions Guarantee automatically accepts transfer students from Washington community colleges upon completion of an associate degree if they meet the policy’s 3.0 GPA minimum and application deadline.

Kari Berkas, assistant director of admissions and transfer recruitment, helped create some of the language in the policy. While former Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Melore Nielsen spearheaded the project, Berkas and others in admissions developed the Redhawk Transfer Admissions Guarantee over several months leading up to its announcement.

“Admissions values the perspectives and experiences that transfer students contribute to Seattle University, and in our efforts to recruit transfer students, this initiative allows us to be clear about their pathway to Seattle University, which we hope will make more students aware that Seattle U is an option for them,” Berkas wrote to The Spectator.

Berkas sees the new policy as a way to demystify the transfer application process for prospective students and create certainty that they will find community at Seattle U. In addition to this reassurance, the policy also relieves the stress of finding merit scholarships, which accepted transfers will be automatically considered for with their completed application.

For current transfer students, completing some of their higher education at a community college is a way to take education at their own pace, reduce the cost of going to college or graduate early. Hayden Werdal, a third-year psychology major and Student Government of Seattle U transfer senator, hopes that the policy will alleviate some concerns, both financial and academic, of community college students while they weigh the costs and benefits of transferring.

Werdal chose community college as a way to break into higher education while managing acute flaccid myelitis, a condition that requires intense rehabilitation. He received his General Education Development (GED) certificate from Olympic Community College and simultaneously obtained an Associate in Arts that prepared him for a transfer to Seattle U. Werdal fulfilled many of the core requirements for his major, but the transition still was not easy.

“I think that people should know that being a transfer student is more difficult than the traditional path. Even with orientation, I feel it is difficult to connect with other students on campus,” Werdal wrote to The Spectator.

Another student, Anna Trudo, a second-year environmental studies major, also found it difficult to connect with classmates. Trudo skipped her University Core (UCOR) language and math requirements with transfer credits that placed her in upper-level classes for her major.

“I didn’t know a lot of freshmen because I was already taking my major classes with juniors and seniors… major requirement classes don’t give you the same opportunities to make groups and socially interact that UCORs do,” Trudo said.

Trudo found community through orientation and chatting with other residents on her floor. However, due to the many course requirements for her program, she felt like she was not able to branch out or explore as much in the humanities, which UCORs would have allowed her to do. Trudo is graduating early thanks to her transferred credits, which is one way many transfer students reduce the cost of higher education.

James Carmody, a second-year computer science major, utilized the Running Start program to take courses at Walla Walla Community College. Running Start allows high school students to complete college-level coursework ahead of their higher education that can qualify for college credit, and Carmody noted that the program made him feel well-prepared for Seattle U.

“I think a lot of people underestimate how good community college can be in terms of quality… I went to Walla Walla Community College and met some of the best professors I’ve ever had there, particularly in math and science,” Carmody said.

Carmody was able to get an associate degree that qualified for the Direct Transfer Agreement, which ensures a certain number of credits will be transferred for the student. Running Start provides tuition for community and technical colleges, which leaves the less-expensive class fees to be paid by the student. This is a more affordable option for many students and families, as opposed to completing a four-year education at one school. Due to these factors, Carmody is an advocate for any student to consider making community college at least part of their educational path.

“It’s often worth it to save the money, especially if you can avoid debt. It doesn’t matter how many connections or how cool of an experience you had if you leave college saddled with debt you can’t pay back,” Carmody said.

There are a plethora of reasons that students arrive at Seattle U as transfer students. As the Redhawk Transfer Admissions Guarantee goes into effect for the next group of incoming transfer students, it will take away one of their many logistical considerations so they can focus on fitting into a new environment at Seattle U.