By Kari Lutes, Contributing Writers

There’s more than one way to come to Asbury, but for sophomores Danielle Cottrell and Bryan Abner and junior Kristen Stacy, making the decision to transfer to Asbury this spring had one common element—calling.

Cottrell knew from the time she was 13 that she was called to equine assisted psychotherapy, with the desire to help kids with trauma backgrounds. “There are not many schools out there that have an equine major and psych major that are paired together,” said Cottrell. “When I stumbled on Asbury’s web page, I knew this was the only school for me.”

She was planning to attend the community college in her hometown to gain her associates degree before pursuing a bachelor’s degree, but after finding Asbury, she transferred this spring. “I couldn’t wait any longer,” said Cottrell. “[Asbury] is the journey to my calling.”

Bryan Abner is a non-traditional transfer who is coming back to school after taking a two-year break. Though Abner’s story varies from the traditional transfer path of Cottrell’s, he too found that Asbury is a place of calling. “Not to sound cliché, but God called me to Asbury,” said Abner.

Abner, who is studying theology, came to Asbury after hearing about the school from two close friends and alumni of Asbury and Asbury Theological Seminary. “I heard only high praise for the community and staff here at Asbury,” said Abner. After looking into Asbury and going through the admission process, Abner said, “I was treated like a person of value instead of a number. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.”

For Kristen Stacy, coming to Asbury is definitely an out-of-the-box decision. Stacy graduated eight years ago and had been in the work-force for eight years before making the decision to come to Asbury to study social work. “I knew I wanted to return to school,” said Stacy. “After I turned my attention to Asbury, I found my calling.”

Taking the road less traveled poses some unique challenges for transfer students. Some are coming to Asbury after a break from school, like Stacy and Abner, and find that it is a challenge to transition back into the routine of school. “Coming off of a two year break…it’s been a bit of a challenge to get back into swing of things, especially with the heavy reading load,” said Abner. Not only that, but spring transfer students are coming to Asbury in the middle of the school year.

Jenna Filipiak is a TAG leader for incoming students this spring. “Transfer students have to find a way to find their place while most everyone else already has,” said Filipiak, pointing out the biggest fear for most transfer students.

Cottrell agreed, “I didn’t want to be viewed as the ‘new girl.’” However, Cottrell didn’t worry for long. “That fear was short-lived. I was welcomed by every equine student I met. I felt like I was just adopted into a family.”

Along with the community spirit of Asbury, the small number of new students in the spring has helped new transfers to feel connected. “TAG is much more personal. In the fall there are hundreds of students that are a part of TAG, but in the spring it’s only about 13,” said Filipiak.

“It’s nice,” Stacy agreed. “It makes it easier to be known by name.”

Each new student is coming into Asbury with a story and calling of their own, and Asbury gives them a place for those stories to be known. Whether traditionally in the fall or as a transfer, Filipiak described it as “an exciting kind of scary,” how every new student feels when coming home to Asbury.