There are plenty of new faces on campus as more students are transferring to Bradley than ever before. The largest transfer class size to date came to the Hilltop in 2016, with 293 students throughout the year, 202 of those from the fall semester alone.
Students are coming from many different colleges and universities throughout Illinois and the Midwest.
“Many students transfer from [Illinois Central College] and from the Chicagoland community colleges,” Justin Ball, vice president of Enrollment Management, said. “We are also seeing an increase in freshmen transferring into Bradley during their spring semester after attending other four-year colleges and not liking their experiences.”
Ball said while 2016’s numbers are consistent with past years, there may be difficulty in the future.
“The landscape is growing more and more challenging to recruit in,” Ball said. “There are fewer students within our state’s community college system seeking the traditional 2 + 2 route to earn a bachelor’s degree, and they have more online, accelerated and hybrid options than ever before.”
According to Ball, recruiting in the next few years will be difficult, but Bradley will take steps to keep transfer enrollment strong, especially from Illinois Central College.
“We are continuing to establish strong relationships with help from faculty and staff by engaging ICC’s faculty and staff members in making it as efficient as possible for students to transfer,” Ball said. “We are also helping to build greater awareness in transfer students in the admission and financial aid process.”
The next step in this process, according to Ball, is making sure students who transfer from their various institutions to Bradley are happy with their decision.
“The Office for Transfer Student Assistance (OTSA) is an excellent resource for these students,” Nathan Thomas, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “This area was developed a couple of years ago as we saw a need from incoming transfer students. They have created their own student organization and are an excellent resource for each other.”
The OTSA has multiple programs and workshops to help these students become accustomed to Bradley.
“[Transfer students] become important to our campus, and efforts such as transfer orientation and the activities fair at the January Late Night BU are important pieces in the acclamation to what Bradley has to offer,” Thomas said.
Rick Rolbiecki, a sophomore transfer student, said he feels Bradley’s transfer resources eased his transition.
“I’d say it was a pretty smooth transition just for the fact that they had the all-transfer dorm … so a lot of people were all going through the same transition phase as each other,” Rolbiecki, a marketing major, said. “It makes kind of a nice, tight-knit community that makes it easier to transition.”
Rolbiecki also said he was grateful to have a transfer aid help walk him through the transfer process.
“When I was at my old school, and I had no idea what Bradley looked like in person, it was nice for someone to give me more of a concrete visual of what it actually is and how it actually feels,” Rolbiecki said. “I had no idea where I wanted to stay, but after talking to the transfer aid, it made me realize that [I should go] through the transfer dorm … and if I hadn’t gone through the transfer dorm, I don’t think I would have had the same experience.”