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Transfer students find what they are looking for at Connecticut College

Connecticut College's 2009 fall transfer students pose for a group picture at orientation.
Connecticut College's 2009 fall transfer students pose for a group picture at orientation.

Brock Manheim '12 wanted a small campus environment where he could take classes in all different subjects. Jennifer Hyslip '12 was looking for a school where she wouldn't have to introduce herself to her professors at office hours. And Sarah Knowles '12 sought a co-educational liberal arts college in close proximity to major cities. All three found what they were looking for at Connecticut College.

Selected from an applicant pool of 233, Manheim, Hyslip and Knowles are just three of the 32 transfer students who joined the Connecticut College community this fall as members of the College's largest ever transfer class.

"This is an extremely talented group of students selected from a very strong applicant pool," Dean of Admission Martha Merrill said. "That so many students want to transfer to Connecticut College speaks to our reputation as a welcoming campus for students who want a leading liberal arts education."

Connecticut College's strong art programs were a draw for Knowles, who transferred from Smith College. She has decided to double major in art history and architectural studies.

"I knew I wanted a great education from top-notch professors. I wanted to be engaged in class discussions with my professors and other students who were passionate about the subject matter. Students here are very serious about their school work and are determined to do well," she said.

Manheim, who attended the University of Southern California as a freshman, said he applied to 10 different schools before deciding to transfer to Connecticut College.

"I didn´t want to make the wrong choice again," he said. "I did a lot of research. I read everything there was to read on the Web site. I looked at guide books. I looked at independent Web sites. By the time I got here, I knew everything there was to know about the school and the social life."

For Hyslip, it was about instinct. After attending a small New England boarding school for high school, she decided she wanted to try something completely different, and enrolled at George Washington University as a freshman.

"I like to say I took too big a jump," Hyslip said. "Transferring, in general, is probably one of the hardest things to do, but once it's over, you have something to be proud about. It's a huge risk, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut, which is what I did."

Dean Philip Ray, who advises transfer students, says this year's class has been especially impressive and is already making an impact on campus.

"The transfer students who entered this fall are terrific students who brought the best of all possible attitudes to their new school," he said. "They are already pursuing many of the opportunities available to them on this residential learning campus."

Manheim is taking full advantage of Connecticut College's liberal arts curriculum. He recently declared a major in government, but is also enjoying classes in other disciplines.

"I´m taking a German class, which I never thought I'd do," he said. "And I really like my logic class with Derek Turner. He's such a good professor that I'm thinking about a minor in philosophy."

Transfer students say that in many ways, the key to an easy transition is getting involved. Hyslip has joined the women's squash team and is starting a club with a fellow sophomore to support an organization that provides shoes to needy children. Manheim is a member of several intramural sports teams and volunteers with the campus group KBA (Kids Books and Athletics), playing sports with local eighth graders on Fridays.

For Knowles, joining the field hockey team was an easy way to make friends. "There was another sophomore transfer trying out with me, and we could relate in so many ways," she said. "The team was really welcoming and became my family."

Hyslip says her advice to future transfers would be to get involved in the campus social scene right away. "Don't hibernate in your room. Go to Sunday Sundaes in Harris and all of the Cro dances. Don't miss out on anything!"

Manheim says Connecticut College's housing system made the transition easier for him. "Here, students in all grades live in every dorm, so I have had the opportunity to meet not only other sophomores, but also juniors and freshman."

Knowles says the most important thing for transfers to remember is that they need to be comfortable where they are.

"Conn is a perfect match for anyone who is looking for a strong, competitive liberal arts college with a great location and a friendly and outgoing community," she said. "I love it here and I know I made the right choice about transferring."

-Amy Martin

December 9, 2009