Rollins Named Among Nation’s Best Colleges for Transfer Students

August 07, 2023

By Laura J. Cole ’04 ’08MLS

Rollins students in caps and gowns walking past Knowles Chapel after their commencement.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Phi Theta Kappa has once again recognized Rollins as a leader in providing the support and resources that set up transfer students for success.

For the sixth consecutive year, Rollins’ College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and Professional Advancement (PA) programs were listed among Phi Theta Kappa’s 2023 Transfer Honor Roll. Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievements of students at associate-degree-granting colleges and fostering their success as scholars and leaders.

Rollins joins 208 colleges and universities across the nation named to the prestigious list, which recognizes the top 25 percent highest-rated colleges that best support two-year college transfers by providing dynamic and innovative pathways that bolster their success. Colleges are chosen based on their Transfer Friendliness Rating on PTK Connect, an online tool that helps connect students with transfer opportunities, including scholarships and careers. The ratings are based on 40 metrics related to the support and success of transfer students, including college cost and financial aid, campus life, admission practices, and bachelor’s degree completion.

“The goal of most students attending community college is a bachelor’s degree, but few do because of financial barriers and the complexities of the transfer process,” says Lynn Tincher-Ladner, president and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa. “We are proud to recognize the exceptional colleges and universities that go above and beyond to create accessible pathways to bachelor’s degree completion for community college transfer students.”

When Mileena Perry ’20 was looking to transfer after earning an AA from Valencia College, she knew she wanted two things: to pursue a career in computer science and to be in classes where she wasn’t just a number. In addition to majoring in computer science as a CLA student, she completed an internship in assistive technology at Walt Disney World and is now a software engineer for Humana, where she manages software developers and other teams as a certified product owner.

“My professors truly cared about me not only succeeding in my courses but also setting me up for a lifelong career after college,” says Perry. “They ensured my transition was smooth and easy, went into depth about what previous courses counted toward my major, and helped me get real work experience and build up a strong resume by the time I was a senior, which allowed me to have a position lined up as a software engineer when I graduated.”

At Rollins, all transfer students are automatically considered for merit scholarships in addition to need-based aid. All applicants undergo a needs-blind, holistic application review process and do not need to submit test scores, a personal statement, or letters for recommendation. Guaranteed admission is provided for all transfer students from participating colleges who have a 3.2 GPA and are applying to CLA or 2.8 GPA for those applying to PA.

Once admitted, transfer students are enrolled in a first-year course specifically for transfer students that includes peer mentors who have experienced transferring to Rollins and thus can provide guidance, and every student is assigned to a dedicated advisor, who provides individualized support.

“Rollins is unique in our pool of applicants,” says Brian Barilone, Rollins’ director of transfer and graduate admission. “Out of 100 transfer students enrolled in CLA for fall 2022, we had 69 institutions represented across the nation. Rollins offers a range of support to ensure that transfer students are successful in their first semester, get connected and engaged with the Rollins community, and complete a course that introduces them to our mission, values, and Rollins Gateway, our signature approach to a liberal arts education.”

Jack Ramon Rodriguez ’23 joined the military knowing he wanted a college degree but couldn’t afford to pay for it on his own. After attending Valencia College, where he received an associate’s degree in business administration, he paused his education to serve as an aviation boatswain’s mate in the Navy. He took advantage of the GI Bill to pursue a bachelor’s degree in economics through Rollins’ PA program, a move that he says aligned perfectly with his career goals of earning a law degree and serving as a U.S. Marine Corps JAG.

“One thing I loved about the military was the sense of community,” says Rodriguez, who served as finance chair of the Pre-Law Society at Rollins and is currently working as a litigation assistant while preparing for law school. “Rollins offered a similar feeling with smaller class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio, which allowed me to build relationships with students in my cohort. My faculty mentors facilitated a seamless transition, helping me develop the soft and technical skills necessary for success after spending a decade away from academia.”

Students walk in cap and gown to a commencement ceremony.

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