Rotha Ksa felt stuck.
He had a good job at a manufacturing plant, but he soon realized that without a degree, there were few opportunities for upward mobility.
Having gone to community college on and off for several years, he decided to transfer to UNC Greensboro. The transition was difficult, he says, but with the help of his fiancée and the staff at UNCG, he’s found success. Now, he feels compelled to help other new transfer students.
Ksa is one of 300 upper-level transfer students serving as mentors to first-year transfer students as part of UNCG’s new Transfer2Transfer Mentors program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Mentors participated in training from Mentor Collective last fall, and were then matched with new transfers. More than 400 students signed up as mentees.
Ksa and his two mentees communicate via texts, phone calls, and Zoom. Often, the conversations focus on course registration, key dates in the academic calendar, and the other logistical aspects of being a student.
“I’ve helped my mentees, and they have helped me,” says Ksa, now a junior in the Bryan School of Business and Economics. “I wanted to be a cheerleader for anyone who is going back to school and help them with the process. Being a mentor has helped me to be more organized, because I’ve had to find answers and information for somebody else. Navigating college isn’t scary anymore, which is really cool.”
Transfer2Transfer Mentors is part of a wider effort to improve experiences and services for transfer students while building on collaborations with community college partners. Approximately 36% of UNCG undergraduates are transfer students.
“Transfer students experience the same kind of transition challenges that our first-time-in-college students experience, but often receive much less support. One way we can improve the transition support to our transfer students is through programs like Transfer2Transfer Mentors,” said Dr. Samantha L. Raynor, assistant vice provost for strategic student success initiatives. “Through mentorship, new students are exposed to experiences and resources available to help support them during their time at UNC Greensboro. At the same time, mentors also benefit from the experience. Transfer students are such an important part of the UNCG community, and it is important that they feel their value and contribution. Transfer2Transfer is one way we can help students find their way here at UNCG.”
UNCG plans to continue the program this fall. To learn more, visit success.uncg.edu/departments/innovation-programs/transfer2transfer.
For more information about transferring to UNCG, click here.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Jiyoung Park, University Communications