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COLUMBUS, Miss.-- Mississippi University for Women will recognize its recent No. 1 ranking in The Chronicle of Higher Education during a celebration of National Transfer Student Week Oct. 18-22.

Among public, Master’s universities, The W leads the country in the percentage of its student population that is transfer students (33.2%). The W also leads the country among all classifications of public, baccalaureate, Master’s and doctoral institutions.

The W President Nora Miller credits Dr. Scott Tollison, the provost/vice president for academic affairs, and the academic deans for helping to make The W a diverse and inclusive institution that welcomes students from all backgrounds.

“There’s no wonder that community college graduates choose to continue their education at The W,” Miller said. “We were pioneers in the development of the Bachelor of Applied Science program, accepting up to 90 credit hours from a community college. Our largest academic program, the RN to BSN Nursing program is specifically designed for currently registered nurses to complete their baccalaureate degree.  

“Transfer students have the opportunity to be as active as they would like to be on campus, with many students in leadership positions, such as our current SGA President. We are also very affordable for Mississippi residents and non-residents alike. For community college athletes who wish to continue to play sports at an NCAA Division III level, we are very affordable.”

Tollison said The W typically has 75-80% transfer students in each new class. In the fall of 2019, he said 741 of 916 new students were transfers for a total of 80.9%. Miller said that percentage reflects the relationships Tollison and the deans have built with Mississippi community colleges and other institutions. She said The W has been innovative in its efforts to help transfer students forge clear pathways so they know what courses they need to take and what courses will transfer. Miller pointed to the recent unveiling of Anchor Points, a collaborative program between The W and Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Itawamba C.C. and Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.

Hatton, dean of The W’s School of Education, worked to develop Anchor Points, which supports a smooth transition for students who have earned an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science or an Associate of Applied Science degree from one of the participating institutions and are transferring to The W. The program, which launched earlier this year, allows students to work with a transfer advisor at The W and with a counselor at their school so they can develop a sound academic plan, find resources to support academic success and become familiar with The W while they work toward their associate degree.

“We have a really good working relationship with our community college partners,” Hatton said. “We stay in constant contact with our partners, checking to make sure we are working together in mutual support of students who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree. Many of us were undergraduate transfer students and remember how disorienting that transition can be. We really do have a common goal across our academic programs to remove, or at least reduce as much as possible, any barriers for all of our students.”

Hatton said Tollison has led the way for The W in building partnerships with other schools to make it easier for students to come to The W. He said it is crucial to show concern and to support transfer students through a careful, collective, synergistic effort across all academic areas. Hatton said The W’s success in attracting transfer students is a testament to its great academic team and its commitment to building innovative pathways designed to support student academic goals.

“One of the keys to making this process as smooth as possible centers around communication both with students who are either interested or in the process of transferring to The W and with our colleagues at our partner community colleges,” Hatton said. “We understand that our partnership colleagues are committed to their students and have developed really good working relationships with them; they want to see their students succeed. Our sincere goal is to be the logical next step extension of the strong programs of our partnership community colleges and always to be working in tandem with our partners for each student’s successful transition and completion in one of The W’s bachelor’s programs."

Oct. 18, 2021
Contact: Adam Minichino
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