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Transfer Student Success


“Success” is going to look different for each of you, and you’ll travel different roads to find it. There will be a few transfer-specific resources that can help along the way, as well as many other resources available to every student. “Success”, for most of you, begins with grades. There are plenty of fantastic resources designed to help you with specific subject areas (even specific classes, with our Peer Tutors), but there are also other resources that can help you find success in other ways. You might find your success in research, travel, or service. Success, to some, is simply being able to look back on their college experience with a smile, which is something UNC hopes for all of you. Whatever success you seek, we hope you’ll lean into your resources and let them help you along the way. Luke, the academic coach dedicated to transfer students, tells each and every student at orientation this: “UNC is designed to make you resourceful.” The sooner you trust that and lean into your resources, the sooner you’ll begin to find your success. The most successful Tar Heels ask for help and use their resources. One thing we hear painfully often when working with transfer students is “I wish I’d asked for help earlier.” It is never too early, but “too late” comes fast.

We often mistake the vulnerability shown in asking for help as a weakness. Wisdom would say that asking for help is not only a sign of strength, in the confidence required, but that it provides a consistent opportunity for growth. You’re not here to prove yourself. You’ve done that. You’re here to grow!

Below you’ll find a list of scenarios that many transfer students find themselves in, as well as the resources to help you navigate them. We put this together after speaking with thousands of transfer students. They might just save you during your time in Chapel Hill, as they have many of your predecessors!

Resources fro Transfer Students

If you’re looking for transfer-specific resources:

  • Transfer Student Mentors (Updates and more info to come)
  • Tau Sigma National Honor Society. Transfer students who earn a 3.5 gpa in their first term (and complete at least 12 credit hours) are eligible to join the national honor society. These invitations come from the Transfer Student Coordinator each spring.
  • Personal Librarian Program – Undergraduate Library: Each transfer students is assigned a librarian, based on your major, who will reach out early in your first fall to offer help with researching papers. This can save students hours of searching, and can be a powerful resource during your time in Chapel Hill.
  • Transfers at UNC. This is a new student group, and you can find them on Heel Life. As with many student groups, activity varies from term to term. But, their events can be a great way to build community on campus with some folks who have a shared experience.
  • Transfer United – Residential Learning Program for transfer students. This is a great way to quickly build community on campus! This RLP is in Carmichael Residence Hall, which is in the heart of campus, right by Kenan Stadium.
  • Carolina Veterans Resource Center: If you are a veteran, keep the CVRC – and its fantastic director, Rob Palermo – in mind! Luke, Rob, and many others appreciate you and will be happy to help you out, however we can.

If you’re looking into building community:

All the research will tell you that students who find community on their college campus have much better odds of success. The joy and sense of belonging we all feel when part of a community can go a long way in helping you succeed and enjoy your time in Chapel Hill. It is never too early or too late to try to find your community. Start looking early, because you may find your community in the least likely of places. If you’re struggling to find community, aim bigger and try new things. Sometimes, all it takes is one meeting to find one friend who helps you find others. There are numerous ways to build community here at UNC, and here are a few of them.

  • Service: UNC is very dedicated to service. It is one of the three pillars our university was founded upon. So, there are countless ways to get involved and it is a great way to build community, because you’ll be with like-minded people who share your passion for giving back.
  • Research: The Office of Undergraduate Research can help you get started. This is a great way to connect, but it can be valuable in many direction! Speak to UR, speak to your professors and classmates, speak to someone in your dept, etc. There are lots of ways to get started. If you want to, just start asking questions!
  • Greek Life: This can be one of the most powerful ways to build community. These communities support each other and hold each other accountable. We hear of many great experiences with Fraternity and Sorority life.
  • Student Orgs and Events: Heel Life can help you find students groups that share your interests and experiences, as well as events that you may enjoy.
  • Study Abroad / Travel: If you’d like to travel while you’re here, which is a great way to get involved and meet people, start asking the questions now! Study Abroad Advising and Info Sessions.

If you don’t know who to ask or where to begin:

The Transfer Student Coordinator, Luke Fayard. Luke is an academic coach / counselor dedicated to transfer students, who always says that his favorite part of the job is meeting with his transfer friends, and he is happy to speak with you about anything you might need help with. You can ask him anything, but here is a list of things about which he often meets with students:

  • Academic Struggles
    • He is an academic coach who can directly help with your approach to your education, but he can also plug you into countless resources around campus.
  • Personal struggles
    • Everything that makes you you goes into you succeeding here in Chapel Hill, and he is comfortable meeting about anything you’d like.
  • Deciding on your major / career goals
    • He has been a career advisor and continues to love to help students design and find their path.
  • Planning what you want to do with your time at UNC / how to balance your time
    • How to get involved in research
    • Travel
    • Internships
    • Service Learning
    • Volunteering
    • Social justice initiatives (Student groups)
  • How much time you have left to finish your degree (“8 semester rule”)
    • 9/10 transfer students believe they have less time than they do. He can clarify this.
      • He cannot help with advising / your requirements. He can tell you how many terms you have left to fill with classes, but not which classes to fill them with.
  • How to make friends and build community
  • What other students are feeling / have said in the past
  • Most importantly: When you don’t know where to go, come to me!

*Luke is not an advisor and does not work in Admissions, despite his misleading title. So, if you have questions about majors/minors/requirements, you’ll need to speak with Advising. If you have questions specific to the Admissions application, you’ll need to reach out to Undergraduate Admissions.

You can email him with questions at and you’ll see how to make an appointment with him in the “Contact Us” section to the right.

If you are struggling with Bio / Chem / Calc / Physics: (So are countless other students)

If you are struggling with Economics / ECON410:

Many students struggle with Econ, at any institution. If you are struggling, you’re far from alone.

  • The EconAid Center on the ground floor of Gardner can help! Click here to visit the EconAid Center website. There is a contact email at the bottom of the page, if you’d like to reach out about the schedule.
  • ECON410: From what most student say, this is the top of the mountain as far as Econ classes go. This is just a heads-up to keep an eye on it and to know that you will hit the ground running. There are Peer Tutors, along with the EconAid center, ready to help.

If you’re thinking, “I can’t possibly read this much!”

If you’re struggling to wrap your head around how much reading is being assigned, you’re not alone. We hear this every fall from new students, both transfer and first year alike.

  • First, the academic coaches can help with your approach to your reading, and they have great online materials. Click here to visit the Tips and Tools section of The Learning Center website.
  • Direct quote from a professor, in an intro to Poli Sci course: “Some of you are thinking, as you look at the syllabus, that you can’t possibly read this much… and you’re exactly right. You can’t read everything perfectly carefully. You have to learn to prioritize and, at times, skim. We need you to cover too much ground for you to be able to do so perfectly.”

The personalities that get you here don’t often feel comfortable with this. But, this is reality at UNC. It’s not always easy to know what to focus on. But, it’s vital that you try (and maybe our friends in the Learning Center help).

If you’re thinking, “My time management and study skills aren’t where I thought they were.”

They may not be. In our experience, most students – after their first month or so on campus – would tell you theirs are not. Remember, you’re here to grow, and in many ways. This will most likely be one of them.

  • Luke and his friends in the Learning Center will be more than happy to help here. They don’t treat you like every other student. They will help you refine your habits based on what works for you, specifically.

If you have ADHD and want support from trained professionals and fellow students:

One more time… The Learning Center! We have some overly intelligent, well-trained (Specific to learning differences), and caring individuals who love what they do and want you to let them do it for you. They also have student meet ups, where you can learn about others’ experiences.

If you’re struggling with your mental health:

You’re far from alone. Many students need help their mental health, at one point or another. If that’s you, talk to someone. CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services): Click here to visit the CAPS website.

If you’re unsure of your major / career goal / grad school:

You’re not alone here, either, and we’ve got folks to help.

If you need help getting started on research for a paper:

Personal Librarians!

  • You are each assigned a “Transfer Student Personal Librarian” – that is a librarian assigned specifically to you, to help you with research. If you haven’t heard from them a few weeks into your first fall term, or want to go ahead and get started (wisdom), reach out to the Undergrad Library: Visit the Undergrad Library website and ask a question.  (They have a chat and an email dedicated to just this)

If you’re not confident in your writing, or just want help to improve / get that A:

Writing Center! Click here to visit The Writing Center website.

  • Our fantastic Writing Center is full of amazing, professional writing tutors that will help you with any type of writing – academic or personal.
  • If you can’t meet with them, you can also submit your papers online for review!
  • If you’re over-confident in your writing, keep in mind… they may know your specific professor and what they are looking for.

If your courses didn’t transfer in as you’d hoped they would:

  • Transfer Credit Reevaluations
    • When you do this, you are not trying to prove how “good” another course or institution was – you’re trying to show that the course you took is close enough in content to our course that you should get credit for that particular course. You’ll do that using syllabi, course descriptions, etc. You’ll find directions at the link above.

If you’re wondering how long you have at UNC:

Your advisor can help here, but the gist…

  • Everyone gets 8 Semesters. You’ll hear “The 8 Semester Rule”. That’s 4 Falls, 4 Springs, including the work you transferred in.
  • If you transferred in 30 or more post-HS college credits, you are automatically granted a 9th and 10th semester, to allow you to take advantage of all that you want to in Chapel Hill.
  • Summers don’t count.

If you’re wondering, “How do I get an advisor?”

We get this question a lot every fall.

  • If it hasn’t happened yet, one will be assigned to you soon. You’ll see their name in your Connect Carolina.
  • If you need one quickly, you’ll find drop-in hours on the Advising site.
  • Headed for a health profession? Health Professions Advising 

If you need help with getting excused absences:

The Office of the Dean of Students helps to communicate with your professors here: Click here to visit the ODOS website. (Contact email at the bottom)

If you’re looking for a community of folks with similar experiences / identities:

The Office for Diversity and Inclusion: Click here to visit the Office of Diversity website.

Finally, here’s a list of resources Advising has compiled for all students, just in case it comes in handy: Advising Website Resources

We appreciate you visiting our transfer resources page and hope that you learned something here that may help you enjoy your time in Chapel Hill a little more! Keep in mind that there are passionate folks all over campus who want to see you succeed and who are excited to get a chance to help you do so. Good luck and go Heels!