By Katie Kramon
Stanford’s admission rate for transfer students is even lower than it is for the regular class, coming in at just 2 percent. Only 33 transfer students were admitted for the fall of 2014.
As part of our “Transfer Profile” series, The Daily interviewed Melissa Eidman ’17, a “non-traditional” 25-year-old student who transferred from community college.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): Where did you begin college and transfer from?
Melissa Eidman (ME): I transferred from Sacramento, where I was attending Sacramento City College and American River College — two community colleges in the Sacramento area.
TSD: How do you look back at that experience now that you’re at Stanford? What do you miss? What are you grateful for that is different about Stanford?
ME: Community college was a great experience for me. I’m majoring in biology, and both Sacramento City College and American River College have amazing science departments. So far, it seems my schools have prepared me well for my time here. The only thing I miss from home is people: my friends and my teachers.
One thing I was missing out on while at community college is the college community. I can’t speak for all community colleges, but my experience was: go to class, go home, repeat. There is no student body, everyone is there to get in and get out. Stanford has such a welcoming atmosphere. Already, I have found a home in the transfer community and in an a cappella group.
TSD: How has Stanford surprised you?
ME: The biggest surprise for me was NSO week. It is clear that Stanford works hard to help all its new students integrate into “life on the Farm.” In that first week here, I learned how to navigate this enormous campus and found an amazing group of friends. Many of my friends from home who transferred to other colleges and my friends who started at university right out of high school were not given that amazing opportunity.
TSD: Describe what it’s like to be a transfer student. Have you found the transfer community to be welcoming and strong? Have you found the Stanford community as a whole to be welcoming?
ME: I am what Stanford calls a “non-traditional” student. I am 25. Coming here, I was really nervous that I would not fit in with people because of my age. Thanks to NSO, I was given the opportunity to meet other transfers and found the transfer community to be extraordinarily welcoming. Transfer students from this year and the previous two years are all crazy awesome. All of us come from different backgrounds and have great stories about what we did before we got here. Non-transfers and professors have also been very welcoming!
TSD: What advice would you give to future transfer students?
ME: As this is only my second week, I am not sure I can give transfers very seasoned advice, but my best advice is: Find something you like and get involved. If that something is working in a lab, singing a cappella, playing a sport or just hanging out with other transfers, DO IT. As transfers, we don’t have the benefit of knowing our entire class, or a freshman dorm since freshman year. If you aren’t willing to put in the work to find a home, it is likely you won’t find one. Stanford has so much to offer, anyone is bound to find their niche, if they are willing to look.
TSD: What makes your Stanford experience unique as a transfer? Did you come in with experiences most people here don’t have?
ME: I think what makes the transfer experience so different is that many of us already started our lives outside of academia. Some of the transfers have started companies, been recording artists, served in the military or traveled the world. I inadvertently started a career in IT procurement (not quite as attractive as being a recording artist). I spent three years working for a grocery chain where I could have stayed for the rest of my career, but I knew that wasn’t the path for me. What is consistent with each of us is an insane desire to learn and contribute to a better future.
Every week, The Stanford Daily will be spotlighting one of this year’s transfer students in a series called Transfer Profile.
Contact Katie Kramon at ckramon ‘at’ stanford.edu.