Illinois State University demonstrated again why it has become the number one destination for transfer students in Illinois. In order to help connect transfer students with careers and resources, the Career Center held its first Transfer Student Career Conference on June 30 in the Alumni Center.
This event was created to provide transfer students—who make up 34 percent of Illinois State’s enrollment—with an array of career sessions and the opportunity to network with each other, Career Center staff, and employers.
The conference welcomed 63 Redbirds eager to find success at Illinois State. University President Larry Dietz spoke to the crowd, encouraging students to connect what they are good at with what they enjoy doing, in order to discover their passions.
“I studied ‘I’m not sure’ for about two years,” Dietz said. “And believe me, if you’re not sure, that’s OK, you will figure it out. Events like this add exposure to opportunity and to staff who know about those opportunities that will help you figure those things out.”
Members of an alumni panel also shared their experiences as transfers and answered questions from transfer students.
“I really appreciate the students who are asking questions because they have curious minds,” Michael Delzoppo ’16, who sat on the panel, said. “They’re here to find out information that you wouldn’t find in a pamphlet or in a guide in order to be a successful transfer student.
“In allowing us to share our stories with them, hopefully they find little gems that will allow them to be more successful.”
The conference’s afternoon sessions gave transfers the option to conduct career research, learn about tools like LinkedIn, and pick up valuable networking tips.
Junior Lydia Douglas attended a session aimed at helping transfer students learn the ins and outs of internships.
“I want to learn how to sell myself, essentially,” Douglas said. “Since I have to do so many hours of an internship for my major, this session was great. I got to learn what makes me stand out to get an internship, which will support my search to find a job after graduation.”
Earlier this year, Illinois State made the College Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes the four-year colleges and universities across the nation that offer exemplary support for community college transfers. Mike Minton, the Career Center’s associate director for Student Relations, believes this conference is going one step further in helping transfer students find a career at Illinois State.
“A lot of the programs we do are focused on getting students ready for career fairs and connecting with employers. But the one thing that really stood out about today is that if you’re a transfer student, regardless if you already knew what you wanted to do or if you were still exploring your options, we had things here that were very valuable for you to participate in,” Minton said.
Over 45 percent of transfer students at Illinois State utilized Career Center services in 2015–2016. Junior Catalina Melgar appreciated the conference for the opportunities it gave her to connect with others who are ready to start a new chapter at Illinois State.
“We have similar experiences. We’ve all went to community college or went to a previous institution before transferring, so it already puts us on a solid equilibrium, where our next step is going on to form relationships and explore careers.”
Overall the day was a success with 98 percent of conference attendees agreeing or strongly agreeing that the conference was helpful and that they would recommend it to other transfer students.
The next step for many transfer students is returning to Illinois State’s campus in August to start classes and begin the fall semester. Applications for fall 2016 and spring 2017 are being accepted now. Plan ahead and schedule your visit to Illinois State today.
Andrea Casali can be reached at alcasal@IllinoisState.edu.