Scott Hoeckele ′11
Welcome to the world of a transfer student. Unlike traditional first-year students, transfers come to Messiah College with at least a year of college experience under their belts. They have an inkling of what to expect. Yet, they’re not like sophomores either. Transfers don’t know anyone, haven’t established themselves in clubs and student organizations, and are unfamiliar with the territory. “It’s like being new and not new at the same time,” says Scott Hoeckele ’11, a pre-med transfer student who gave up a free ride at a college closer to home to get into Messiah’s highly regarded science program (see sidebar).
Messiah College, recognizing these unique challenges, offers support through personalized events and programs that ensure a transfer student’s transition is successful. Here, Hoeckele cites just three of the many ways Messiah supported his transition.
Creating a plan. First, while enrolled at another college, Hoeckele used Messiah’s online course catalog to map out the general education courses he knew would transfer. “With careful planning and with ongoing guidance from Messiah’s Registrar’s office, all except one of my classes transferred over and that one was pretty minor,” he says.
Making connections. Secondly, says Hoeckele, transfer students are grouped together during Welcome Week, with activities created especially with them in mind. A transfer student picnic, a small group led by a junior or senior transfer student, and participation in a campus-wide service project are just a few ways new students make friends and become acclimated. Transfer students also attend a personalized orientation program in the fall and spring.
Living in community. Lastly, Messiah’s transfer students bunk together in the dorm, which strengthens their bond and facilitates familiarity. So much so, that when the time came to request roommates for the following year, Hoeckele chose a transfer student he met the previous year. “Many of us have become pretty good friends,” he said.
Academically, Hoeckele finds Messiah’s biochemistry major more than meets his expectations. “The program is compelling and competitive. I’ve got excellent relationships with my professors and, as a sophomore; I’m already participating in a research project.” This summer, Hoeckele is serving as a research assistant to associate professor of chemistry Anne Reeve. The team is developing a chemical synthesis of a compound called aspernigrin A that is a potential treatment for colon cancer. Reeve, Hoeckele, and the rest of the research team will present their findings to the School of Health and Natural Sciences this spring.
Posted on June 24th, 2009