Transfer Rates Anticipated to be Steady

Drew Kaplan ’20, Associate Opinion Editor

According to the college, transfer rates at Dickinson have remained stable this year.

Although statistics for this year are not yet available, previous years have shown a first-year retention rate of 90 to 92 percent, and Angela Barone, director of Admissions Communications, says this year appears follows that trend.

However, she maintains that rates are only one part of the story.

“I don’t know that we have a typical year [for transfers]. So much of what we do with transfers is based off the incoming first year class, that’s one reason the deadlines and notifications are a little bit later,” said Michael Montgomery, associate director of admissions.

Montgomery explained that transfer students are generally admitted to help balance class sizes, majors, geographical regions and genders within classes. “We’re still doing our reviews [for current transfer applications]. But we need to be conscious [of class size]. Universities will enroll hundreds of transfer students; we enrolled one [two years ago]. We realized we had to put the brakes on transfers because there’s no room for them. When we’re a little lower in overall enrollment, we can be more flexible.”

As to why students tend to transfer to Dickinson, Montgomery said, “Students are wanting more than what their current institution provides. Coming in, I see students for whom it is no longer a fit. I see size being an issue. Some want to go farther away from home, some are looking to come back closer to home.”

Data maintained by the Office of Institutional Research shows 1st year retention rates ranging from 90 to 92 percent over the last five years. The Dickinson website reports 660 students currently in the sophomore class, out of the 733 who started, which comes out to 90 percent retention. Similar rates were reported for the first year, junior and senior classes.

“That’s about as typical as it gets,” said Montgomery.

Some students offered their reasons for transferring. David Gerstenfeld ‘20, a student transferring out of Dickinson, said that next year “Mostly [because of] location. In [Drexel University,] Philadelphia, there are the options to travel around the whole city and all the outlying areas, mostly without a car. In Carlisle, you go one or two miles out and you need a car. Liberal arts are fun and all, but I’d rather take more classes that are situated towards my major.”

Kearstyn Cook ’19 is transferring as a second shot at her top choice, Penn State University.  “When it comes down to it, Penn [State] was my first choice,” she explained. “So, when I got the chance to apply to transfer, I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been exposed to at Dickinson, but I ultimately feel that Penn [State] is the next step for me, and I’m ready to take it.”

Jacob Bouchard ’19, felt that Dickinson’s size was confining.  “Dickinson, for me, was a good starter school to get used to college lifestyle with good academics.  However, I realized that it’s small community was limiting my ability to network, form alumni relations, find internships and get involved with a variety of clubs and other opportunities.”  Bouchard will be attending University of Georgia in the fall.