Transitioning to a new college is a big change. Everything is new: the people, the living spaces and the classes. Everything in between is all unfamiliar. All this can feel overwhelming at times to students transferring to colleges around the country. However, transfer students say Northwestern is different. NW has welcomed 39 transfers since the beginning of the fall semester, and many of them have begun to feel right at home.
NW’s campus is much smaller compared to other institutions in Iowa such as the state public schools in Cedar Falls, Ames and Iowa City. Because it is common for Iowa residents to grow up in or near a small town, it is not unusual for them to want a fresh start at a bigger university. However, some individuals begin to realize that the culture provided by a larger university is not what suits them best.
“I’d say one of the main reasons students transfer here is to be at a small, private Christian school that is well-known for its sense of community,” Sandy Van Kley said, who works in the registrar. “Some have been to large universities and weren’t comfortable with the secular environments there or didn’t like being ‘just a number.’”
Another advantage of NW’s small campus is that class sizes tend to be smaller as well. This makes it easier for professors to cater to their students’ needs, and they are more than willing to ensure their students’ success.
“The classroom experience has been great,” Trevor Reinke said, a biology major and transfer from University of Sioux Falls. “You can tell the teachers care about the well-being of each student. I enjoy how the teachers try and build a relationship with their students. It creates a better learning environment in the classroom and gives you something to look forward to every day.”
NW’s small, tight-knit atmosphere also creates a friendly community, and multiple transfers noticed and appreciated this almost immediately after arriving on campus.
“People are accepting and nice, and the culture here is different. You can say ‘hi’ to everyone, and they will say ‘hi’ back. It is the little things that matter,” criminal justice major Jose Sanchez said.
However, the most important aspect of the NW experience is for students to grow in their Christian faith. Several transfers say they chose NW because it would give them an opportunity to expand their knowledge and trust in God. Thanks to chapel opportunities, faith-centered curriculum and a healthy Christian environment, NW has been able to assist their transfers with strengthening their relationship with God.
“I knew NW was a school geared toward Christ,” Daniel Nordquist said, a biology-health professions major and transfer from Iowa Central Community College. “I enjoy how much my faith in Christ has grown over the past semester.”
The numerous great qualities of NW and the community offered by the students have helped new transfers feel like they belong. College can be a culture shock. Students do not truly know what college life is like until they experience it. However, NW puts their uncertainty at ease.
“I enjoy everyone on campus, from my classmates to the professors, as well as the faculty,” said Brett Segar, a business administration major and transfer from Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. “Everyone here really made me feel welcomed and at home.”