Transfer Roundtable: “The Beginning” - An Open Conversation with Yale Transfer Students

When I look back on my transfer application process, the one thing I wish I had more of was communication with current or past transfer students of the universities I was applying to. Not only were such students very difficult to find - let alone contact - but even Googling or Youtubing “I transferred to [insert school name]” yielded very minimal results. You see, unlike traditional students who apply directly out of high school, there aren’t many websites, blogs, or Youtube videos detailing the transfer process and sharing transfer experiences. And so, I’ve decided to create a blog series -  “Transfer Roundtable” - where I’ll be interviewing transfer students at the different stages of their Yale experience: the beginning, the middle, and the end.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Meet Kayla (she/her) and Laura (she/her/ella). Kayla is from Brooklyn, New York majoring in Neuroscience and calls Davenport College her Yale home. Laura, a Miami, Florida native is a Political Science major and lives at Pierson College. Despite coming from different parts of the country, majoring in different subjects and residing in different residential colleges, a similarity between these two Yalies have brought them together: they are both new transfer students at Yale. 

Kayla transferred from Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York. She participates in Yale EMS, Club Lacrosse, STEM & Health Equity Advocates (SHEA), Research at the Bordey Lab, and the Hypertension Awareness & Prevention Program at Yale (HAPPY).

Laura transferred from Miami Dade College. She participates in YULAA, CLAIS, Club Venezuela, the Political Science Honor Society, the Yale Interpretation Network, and in her non-profit organization, Corazon Contento, Happy Heart Foundation.

Laura: My first [Yale] memory was when I visited campus in June of 2022. I had already gotten in and I just instantly felt comfortable. People around New Haven were so nice and I just felt happy because I was in a place I had always dreamed about being in and worked so hard to get to. Campus was beautiful and I look back at how I walked around places I go to everyday now and [they are] familiar, rather than new, and I love that because I know I am now a part of Yale.

Me: It’s this feeling of belonging that comes when you realize that places you once explored as a new student are now places you’re a regular at. I think it’s a feeling everyone - transfer student or not - experiences. Kayla, reflecting even earlier than your first Yale memory, do you remember the day you got accepted?

Kayla: I remember having gotten many, many rejections before Yale’s decision release date. I had no expectations of getting in and was mentally prepared to stay at my previous college. So when I received a FedEx notification saying that I was getting a package from New Haven, CT, and when the housing tab popped up on my portal, I, for the first time, imagined what my life would be like at Yale. Opening up the acceptance video was one of the happiest moments of my life, because I felt like a world of endless possibilities had just become accessible to me.

Me: What many don’t know is that you and I were in contact (via Instagram DM) throughout all of this and I remember you telling me you were getting a package and immediately having butterflies in my stomach because I knew you had gotten in.

Kayla: My hard work, I felt, was finally beginning to be recognized. It wasn’t just months of crafting essays, though. It was years of going to school at 7am every day, going to sports practice until 6pm, practicing piano until 9pm, and somehow managing to fit in homework. It was years of training myself how to stay disciplined, focused, and enthusiastic. This was the first time in my life that I felt like those years were being recognized.

Me: Laura, can you tell me how the transfer experience has been like for you? Was the application process easy to navigate?

Laura: The transfer process is very difficult and all-consuming.  Luckily, the honors program at MDC had classes where thinking about your essays and [application components] were your assignments so the application was not the first time I was seeing these things, but it was still difficult nonetheless. I applied to a lot of schools and organization was key for me. I ordered transcripts, sent college reports, acquired letters of recommendation early on so that I could ensure those documents were received and so I could focus on my writing.

Me: What about the interview process? I remember being so incredibly nervous about speaking with an admissions officer, who coincidentally ended up being my wonderful boss here at Bulldog Blogs (shoutout to you Mark).

Laura: I found the interview process pretty easy. I had been interviewed before by schools, so I was less nervous, but never by admissions officers. The questions they asked were different than what I was expecting, but the conversations flowed nicely and I felt so comfortable. 

Me: Something I was also a bit nervous about once I accepted my spot at Yale was the transition. I like for a lot of transfer students, the idea of this transition is quite daunting. Kayla, can you speak about how settling into campus life has been like for you? 

Kayla: Coming from a campus with mostly commuters and no dining hall, I love living in the dorms. I was placed into a random suite in my college, and ended up getting extremely lucky because my suitemates were super welcoming and we quickly became friends (we’re living together again next year!). For the first few weeks, it was tough finding where I fit in because I was too old for the first-years, and too new to Yale for the upperclassmen. After a couple of months of settling in, joining clubs, and meeting new people in my classes, however, Yale quickly felt like home. 

Me: The transition - the transfer - can definitely be tough in the beginning. We’ve all had and will continue to have rough moments throughout but I completely agree with you that things take time and eventually you’ll find your home here at Yale. Considering that the two of you will soon no longer be the newest transfers on campus, what advice do you have for the incoming cohort of transfer students?

Laura: Come in with an open-mind and an open-heart. I have definitely strived to do things differently here (experience new things, get out of my comfort zone more) and I feel like it has paid off so much. I have also learned how to be “me” in a much more unapologetic way. I would say that you should face this new chapter through whatever lens you want, not through other’s expectations or experiences and surely you will find your place here because there is room and support for everyone!

Kayla: Say “yes.” Say “no.” Say “I don’t know.” Ask questions. Send that email. Show up. Go outside. Get meals with people. Join that club. Branch out. Make friends. Hug people. Tell people they make you happy. Be brave. Be patient with yourself. Be kind. Your time at Yale is short, so make the most out of it.

Me: Thank you both so much for talking with me and sharing snippets of the beginning of your Yale journey. Simply because I think this is a fun question to ask, what song describes your first year at Yale?

Laura: “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All)” by Lorde.

Kayla: “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.

Me: “Mantra” by Sam Fender.