Newsletter Article

Psychology Transfer Students: "We are the Twenty-five Percent!"

"Before my TrIG class, I did not know about the vast amount of research and internship opportunities available for psych students, how to apply to graduate school, or how to read a degree audit. Now that I have this knowledge, I feel less stressed and more prepared."
McKenna Princing, TrIG student

Transfer and Returning Student Interest Group
Photo: Psychology TrIG students

McKenna, along with 44 other new UW students, is part of the Psychology Transfer and Returning Student Interest Group. The Psych TrIG brings together pre-psychology majors in weekly class meetings that aim to provide the students with an in depth orientation to the Psychology Department and the major. Fall quarter transfer students from community colleges and other four-year institutions arrive at UW with junior class standing, needing to really hit the ground running. One of several TrIGs organized by the UW First Year Programs Office, the Psych TrIG offers new UW students the opportunity to take the academic classes that they need to prepare for application to the psychology major, while at the same time learning about a wide range of resources, and getting to know fellow pre-majors.

“The Psych TrIG really does become your own little community,” says student Liz Dizon, adding that “it is so easy to form study groups and make friends because we are all experiencing the same things and there’s a camaraderie that forms.” Over half of the students in the TrIG are also taking the Department’s Biopsychology and Research Methods classes, while others may have taken one or both of these prerequisite courses at their transfer institution. The psychology offering differs from other TrIGs in that it brings together a group of students who all aspire to enter the same major. And, this year, the Psych TrIG is unique in another way. While the stand-alone weekly meetings of other TrIGs are led by undergraduate students, this fall’s Psych TrIG has doubled in size from past years’ offerings and this year is following the lecture/quiz section model. All 45 students meet each Wednesday afternoon with Psychology Advising Office director Carrie Perrin and then break out into two groups led by psychology seniors Rachel Odegaard and Vanessa Yuan. “It’s kind of like offering students ten weeks of group advising sessions,” says Carrie.

During the TrIG class sessions, students are introduced to the resources and opportunities available for UW psychology majors, including how to get involved in undergraduate research, fieldwork, study abroad, and student leadership. Guest speakers from the UW Counseling Center, Odegaard Library, the Career Center, the Office of International Programs and Exchanges, and others help welcome the students to campus and highlight the services they offer. Psychology advisors stop by to talk with the class about everything from winter quarter registration and long term academic planning to thinking about graduate school options. “I love all of the resources that the Psych TrIG has offered me,” says student Stephen Frontauria, “coming to UW was a little intimidating and the Psych TrIG has helped me find the resources I need without feeling lost.”

“With student tuition on the rise, it feels good to be able to offer students a resource like this that hopefully adds value to their UW experience right from the start,” says Carrie Perrin. As this new super-TrIG culminates with the end of fall quarter, it is interesting to note that the Psychology Department was a pioneer, having supported the very first offering in the UW TrIG Program, in the fall of 1995. “All new students should take an intro course like this to get acquainted with how everything at UW works and maybe get a start on a friend group,” says student Melissa Pittman Fischer. Doing what it can toward that goal, the Psychology Department will continue step up for the transfer students who make up 25% of its undergraduate majors and whose varied backgrounds and interests enrich the diversity of the Department.