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Connecting Applicants in New Ways at Iowa State University

Navigating the Transfer Maze

Iowa State University's Tim Hauber is the Assistant Director of Transfer Recruitment. He knows the Iowa State transfer process inside and out - including the pain points that some students experience. Navigating the transfer process - credits, requirements, programs, and non-academic logistics - can be a daunting task for individual students often working in isolation. These barriers result in lost enrollment and bumpy transfers into Iowa State programs where additional courses might be needed.

Hauber shares:

It [the transfer process] is not always easy for students to understand. We know that creating smoother transfer pathways will not only increase our transfer enrollment, but truly help more of our students once they arrive at Iowa State in successfully attaining their degree.

Building Connection and Community Around Shared Goals

To help solve the problem, Tim and his Admissions Graduate Assistant Claire Waletzki are partnering with their largest transfer partner, Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) to create a Huddle Up online experience specifically for DMACC students interested in transferring to Iowa State.

DMACC's Director of Student Development, Wade Robinson, is excited by the opportunity it provides his students. "Iowa State has always been a great partner with DMACC. It has been our students' number one destination for years." But even with the past success, it has been difficult to support each student's transfer journey. It's is a large institution, and each Iowa State program has unique requirements for a successful transfer and graduation. It can be confusing for some students to individually navigate this pathway.  Robinson notes just how this experience will help DMACC students:

With Huddle Up, we now have a really unique, structured platform that builds natural student connections, with each other and with staff at both institutions.  We see students sharing their own pathway ideas and questions they have.  They learn from others' ideas as well. Ultimately, it just makes us more of a community navigating the process together and supporting one another.

From Waletzki's perspective, she's been through the transfer process as an undergrad. She personally knows both the technical and personal aspects of successfully navigating the process.  It's more than simply helping students understand the transfer steps and credit requirements. 

I'm most excited for the opportunity for students to connect and work with one another within Huddle Up outside of school.  Especially for transfer students, a big part [of first-year success] is making connections before they get here.  They benefit from a network of other transfer students and also current students to really help them integrate and be successful.

She notes that transferring into a bigger school, some students worry about getting lost in the numbers. 

Connections Come From Shared Experiences

Robinson, Waletzki, and Hauber created an online project for DMACC students interested in transferring to Iowa State. Waltetzki appreciates the ability to customize it to fit her needs, so she can target the types of interactions she feels will be most valuable.

I find this [Huddle Up] really simplistic to use. Creating my own experience for students is really nice; I can just think about 'what engages them?'

In designing the project, the team aimed to build an online community by focusing on topics that would engage those who join and give them a shared experience.  The project starts with a few community-building introductions and short ice-breakers, but then quickly transitions into some small tasks that each student will complete and share. The shared ideas provide opportunities for students to compare, ask questions, and open up dialogue.  Each Huddle Up is completely customized.  The details are below.

  • Target audience: DMACC students interested in transferring to Iowa State
  • Duration: 3-4 weeks
  • Student expectations: About 1 hour per week
  • Topics:  
    1. Understanding credit requirements
    2. Developing an individual 4-Year Pathway Plan
    3. Housing choices
    4. Event days and additional support options

Robinson notes that the project isn't for everyone, but that's not the point. 

We're trying to provide a valuable experience for those that want it. I know that we have students who will really find this helpful. It's an email invite, one click to join. But if they don't join, that's fine too. Our shared goal is to support students in the process - and towards attaining their degree. We believe there's a lot of potential to really engage with students in ways we couldn't do before, and these experiences are going to make a difference. 

You can learn more about the unique interactive model of Huddle Up Learning through the videos below.

Huddle Up Overview: (0:40)

Project Homepage Navigation (2:12)


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