Personal and academic concerns motivate LC students to transfer

Illustration by Maddi Masterson

By Can Altunkaynak

Transferring colleges is not an abnormal phenomenon in the U.S. Many students who do not feel like they are in the right place transfer for a better education and life. According to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center in 2015, “The overall six year transfer and mobility rate for the 2011 first-time cohort of students was 38.0 percent. In other words, almost two in five of the students who began their postsecondary career in fall 2011 had enrolled in more than one institution within six years and before earning a bachelor’s degree.”

A common reason for transferring from Lewis & Clark is the lack of major options. Amelia Easley is a former LC student who is now a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College. Easley came to LC during the fall of 2017 knowing that she was going to major in Geology and Earth Sciences.

“After I accepted my offer of admission the previous February, I looked again on the college’s website and [didn’t see the courses I thought there were],” Easley said via email. “I had emailed with Dr. Safran back and forth and came to realize that even more courses [I thought I saw] had not existed.” Confusion seems to cause students to transfer in this specific case.   

Considering the size of the financial investment, students have high expectations of their college experience.

Amalia Ackerman ’21 has considered transferring. Ackerman realized LC didn’t have any majors that she was interested in. She could not design her own major since the available classes did not have much to do with her interests.

“I feel like the school does not offer very much for how expensive it is, which is really frustrating in terms of foods and programs,” Ackerman said. “There are lots of clubs but there are not many school organized activities that a lot of other colleges our size have.”

Ackerman also added that there was not much of a connection between LC and downtown Portland and that it was relatively hard to discover what the city had to offer if you lived on campus unless you made a special effort.

Additionally, some students experience personal issues which makes transferring more appealing to them.

Alex Barr is a former LC student who transferred to University of Oklahoma who is currently a letters major and pre-law.

“Ultimately, I decided to transfer because of family issues, missing home, and my long distance relationship— my boyfriend goes to school at Bowdoin in Maine and the cross country plane trips were starting to take up a lot of time,” Barr said via email. “The final deciding factor was that Lewis & Clark didn’t really have a major that jumped out to me.”

Both Easley and Barr said that they missed LC but that they did not regret transferring. For them, transferring seems to be mostly due to academic and personal concerns rather than social.

These students’ thoughts might also affect future enrollment.

“There are a couple kids from my high school that were considering coming here and one of the things I told them was you got to be really sure what you are interested in is offered here,” Ackerman said. “We are good in a lot of specific ways but if you are generally interested into a liberal arts education then probably is not the place for you.”

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