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Transfer students join Notre Dame family

Mel Flanagan | Friday, August 17, 2012

Sophomore transfer student Allie Gerspach felt her freshman year at the University of Miami was missing something.

“I wanted to be at a school with more school spirit,” she said. “It wasn’t really a close-knit community.”

The promise of Notre Dame’s lively spirit, along with its stellar academics, prompted Gerspach to apply to transfer.

This year, Notre Dame welcomes 141 transfer students, the largest class in recent years. While the majority of the transfer class consists of sophomores, a number of juniors will be arriving as well.

Office of Undergraduate Admissions Assistant Director Erin Camilleri, who oversees transfer admissions, said this year’s class comes from a variety of backgrounds.

“They’re coming from top-tier research institutions, they’re coming from flagship state schools and they’re coming from small liberal arts schools,” she said.

The students’ intended majors are just as varied. Camilleri said the University admitted transfer students to the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering and the School of Architecture.

Transfer students are not admitted to Mendoza College of Business because the college is already overenrolled, Camilleri said.

One challenge transfer students often face is finding housing. If they apply for on-campus housing, transfer students are placed on a waitlist along with readmitted students and those who previously lived off campus and are trying to move back into a dorm.

Jeffrey Shoup, director of Residence Life and Housing, said the office housed all 80 men on this year’s waitlist, but only 42 of the 79 women.

“We typically have more males cancel their housing every year than female cancels,” he said. “We also changed a few rooms around in Morissey, Zahm and Dillon [residence halls]. We added a few beds in hopes to make some more space.”

Shoup said the University assigns students lottery numbers to decide who will be given on-campus housing. Administrators also try to assist the students they are not able to provide housing for by directing them to a Facebook page and a resource site.

“With the Facebook page they talk to each other about looking for roommates,” he said. “Then they use the resource page to figure out who to call to find different apartments or complexes that are taking students.”

Gerspach said she was nervous about finding housing before she found out she would be living in Welsh Family Hall this year.

“I was told it was really rare that people would get on campus as transfers,” she said. “But I lucked out, I got number three in the lottery.”

Although she has cousins and a few friends who attend Notre Dame, Gerspach said she has mixed emotions about starting at a new school as a sophomore.

“I’m excited definitely, but I’m nervous too,” she said. “It’s kind of starting all over again in a way, meeting new people and everything.”