Spring on the York College campus

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Taking the Final Step

Sam Estrada stands in front of Pennsylvania State Capitol Building.

The question of which college to attend was answered while visiting his mentor in the service, who retired to York. Estrada decided that YCP had the affordability, size, location, and quality of education he was seeking. The College’s Transfer Resource Center took care of the rest. “It was a one-stop shop for all my needs, especially because I had been out of school for so long. They answered all my questions, especially ‘Where do I start?’”

While the process of transitioning back to college was seamless, thanks to YCP, Estrada wasn’t prepared for how intimidated he felt reentering the educational world. “The longer you are out of school, you doubt your ability to succeed, especially with the technology,” admits Estrada. “But YCP has such a great, small feel with so much attention. At the University of Texas, I felt like a number. I didn’t feel that at all at York.”

One of his most memorable achievements was creating a month-long independent study abroad program in Nicaragua during the summer of 2017 with Professor Jennifer Pomeroy, PhD, who teaches Geography in the History and Political Science Department. “We researched the rural livelihood of sustainable coffee farmers,” he explains. “It was eye-opening for me to learn about the impact of commodity.”

After applying to intern with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office, Estrada was instead offered a job as a Constituent Affairs Specialist. Recently, he was promoted to Special Assistant to the Governor’s Secretary of Policy and Planning. “I was really fortunate to have faculty that allowed me to direct my own path while providing a formal structure to turn theory into practice. They all helped to complement my previous international experience in the U.S. Army.”

Finding the right fit can be challenging. Whether transferring from a traditional four-year institution or taking the next step after community college, trying to figure out which credits and where to get answers are daunting tasks.

That’s where the Transfer Team at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) steps in. Five years ago, to meet transfer students’ unique admission, enrollment, and financial aid needs, YCP created a collaborative approach to transfer enrollment. Team members Sueann Robbins, Director of Graduate and Transfer Admissions; Erica Schieler ’06, Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions; Katie Schwienteck, Associate Registrar; and Ed Lane, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, assist every transfer student every step of the way.

“From inquiry all the way through enrollment and beyond, our students get hands-on, individualized attention,” explains Robbins of the Transfer Team, which is a collaborative effort between Admissions/Enrollment Management, Registrar, and Financial Aid. A 30-year veteran of college admissions, Robbins also offers advice from another YCP perspective: as the parent of Dani Robbins ’16.

The Transfer Team guides prospective students in-person and online through the process. “If you’re a transfer student ready to make the move, we have the resources available to make it a good one,” adds Schwienteck. “I’ve worked at four institutions, and we are by far the easiest for transfer students. We don’t pass them around for questions.” This is proof of the kind of student-focused attention that helped YCP earn a coveted spot on the national Phi Theta Kappa Excellence in Community College Transfer Honor Roll.

Schwienteck underscores YCP’s personal approach. As a college student, Schwienteck transferred from Clarion University to Millersville University: “I put my personal transfer experience at the forefront of my students for service and policy development to let them know that YCP is a good place to land to finish their education.”

The robust Transfer Resource Center provides 24/7 answers to numerous transfer concerns, along with handy tables listing the YCP equivalent class for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test and score and YCP’s own Transfer Course Equivalencies listing.

Knowing which credits will (and won’t) transfer is a huge source of anxiety for transfers, explains Erica Schieler. “Our Transfer Course Equivalencies page lists our 100 most-popular schools that students transfer from with the course equivalency of classes at those schools and how they transfer in to YCP,” she says of the purposeful course-by-course comparison she and her colleagues undertake to determine credit transfers.