By Brooke Morse
Senior Features Writer

A rise in the number of incoming transfers reminds us that the freshmen are not necessarily the only new kids on the block this year. In addition to the brand new Vindicated class, 65 other students have joined Asbury’s undergraduate program this year by way of transfer, according to Jackie Neal, Asbury’s transfer admissions counselor.

Neal says that these numbers have steadily increased over the course of the school’s history. “I’d say our numbers go up just a little bit each year in terms of transferring students,” she said.

As these numbers continue to rise, it is evident that there is something drawing these transfers to Asbury. Sophomore transfer Zachary Collinsworth said, “No other college compared to the way my transfer process was handled, and Asbury made me feel like family, even before I decided to make it my choice.”

Many transfers enter Asbury after completing their gen eds at a community college. Collinsworth transferred from Madisonville Community College after finishing general course requirements there. Abby Raetz, another one of this year’s transfers, made the switch to Asbury after attending Northern Virginia Community College, where she completed several of her core classes.

Although it was always her plan to transfer to Asbury, Raetz says that she was initially drawn by the quality media communication program that Asbury offers. “My sister went to Asbury, and when I came here for her graduation, I fell in love with the Media Comm building,” she said.

Aside from transferring from a community college, Neal touches on another reason for which she finds her students are transferring.

“I think a lot of transfer students go someplace seeking the Biblical teaching and the Christ-cen- tered atmosphere, and they just don’t find it at their current institution, so they end up transferring to Asbury,” Neal said.

Ionut Kuhls, another sophomore transfer, reflects what Neal highlights. Kuhls transferred from Concordia University in Wisconsin for several reasons, but spiritual vitality was the main issue.

“From the random staff on campus, to the students in the classrooms, to the professors, everyone encourages others to walk closer with God,” Kuhls said. “Unlike other places, [here] I found a sense of community. Most people on campus here are really genuine and do care for your best interest.”

Of course, being a transfer student is not always easy. Raetz comments that the transition to a new environment without the benefit of a year of connections can be very difficult. “It’s a little rough mak- ing friends with people who are not transfers because the freshmen are younger, and everyone in my class already has a group of friends,” she said. “The campus is great and classes are great though.”

Neal emphasizes that the change can also be academically difficult for transfer students because sometimes their credits will not transfer with them.

Each experience is different, but one thing is true for every transfer student; something drew them to Asbury. “Small classes, enriching chapel services, and a community like no other schools really played a big part into why I love Asbury University,” Kuhls said. “I am super thrilled to have a new beginning, and get the solid foundation I need to help other people.”

Asbury welcomes 65 new students who will begin their journey as an Eagle this semester. Each will bring a unique story to the Asbury family and will hopefully be warmly accepted into the community, as in the positive experience Collinsworth describes. “I have only been here a week, but the way I have been welcomed, I can truly say that I am home,” he said.