By Austin Gatacomb, Staff Writer
Miscommunication between UMF admissions staff and advisors with transfer students have led to some problems and misunderstandings about students’ credit situation in classes prior and present.
Courses at UMF are worth four credits a piece. At some colleges, such as Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) and Central Maine Community College (CMCC), courses are only worth three credits each. Nathan Carey, a senior and transfer student from CMCC, learned this the hard way earlier this year. “I found out this summer that I would be needing an extra semester or extra two semesters this year,” said Carey, a psychology major at UMF. Some of his classes at CMCC counted as classes towards his degree. “I took ‘Intro to Counseling’ at CMCC, and ‘Intro to Counseling’ here at UMF is a required course for my major,” said Carey, his voice tinged with irritation. “So they essentially said that their class was equivalent to the UMF class, so I didn’t have to take intro to counseling again. But the credits weren’t equivalent [credit wise] so the class transferred over from CMCC as a three credit course and not a four credit course.” This deficit has caused Carey to fall behind some of his classmates at UMF, unaware that this problem would exist. “Not once did they mention that my credits didn’t transfer over equivalently,” said Casey, irritated.
Carey is not alone when it comes to this communication problem. Darine Gnidehoue, a recent transfer from CMCC, was also unaware of how credit transfers worked when going to Farmington. “I guess they transferred up [to] four credit classes here, I’m not really sure how it worked here, honestly.” Gnidehoue transferred to UMF this past fall. He had 63 credits coming into UMF, one credit short of what a student who had spent two years at UMF would have had. The interview was the first time that Gnidehoue had actually heard that his three credit courses would not become four credit courses. “I always thought it was that the three would become a four due to equivalence,” said Gnidehoue, a look of surprise and revelation on his face, “It wasn’t that clear at all.”
A standard year at UMF gets students 32 credits; For the students unaware of the credit difference, this means either overloading on a semester or taking an extra spring, summer, or winter term. Assistant Provost Jonathan Cohen stated: “Sometimes it doesn’t get through to students, so we need to do better with that.” Cohen has already started taking steps to alert advisors that some of their transfer students may not understand that they have a credit deficit. “If that’s one of the places where information is falling through the cracks,” said Cohen. “Then that’s a good place to act.” Cohen isn’t just hoping to improve communication here at UMF, but is also going to communicate with high schools and other colleges in order to bring awareness to this. “The people I would really love to have know all this better are advisors on the outside,” said Cohen. “That’s the other spot where there should be more information and more communication”