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SUNY Cortland Recognized Again for Transfer Success

SUNY Cortland Recognized Again for Transfer Success


For the second year in a row, SUNY Cortland was the only public college in New York state named to an international honor society’s Transfer Honor Roll.

Phi Theta Kappa, an organization that inducts high-achieving students from two-year colleges, recognized 78 colleges and universities for their success in developing pathways and support services for transfer students. In addition to being the only SUNY institution on the 2019 list, the College was one of only five New York campuses to be recognized.


“Transfer students are a priority at Cortland,” said Greg Diller ’07, transfer mobility advisor in Advisement and Transition who completed the College’s profile with input from several offices. “They know that when they come here, they’re going to get help on the other end because we have resources available during their first semester, their first year and the entire time they’re on campus.”

SUNY Cortland received 3,102 applications from transfer students in 2018, with 922 enrolling at the College. Additionally, 18 Phi Theta Kappa members from SUNY Cortland each earned a $1,000 scholarship from the honor society.

The application for the Transfer Honor Roll relied on a new application in 2019. College representatives completed a profile using an online tool called PTK Connect, then institutions were assigned a transfer friendliness rating based on responses. The top 25 percent highest-rated campuses were recognized.

“There were a lot of expectations and we checked almost all of them off, especially the most important criteria,” said Diller, who works primarily on a transfer partnership program with SUNY Broome and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Highlights for SUNY Cortland transfer students include:

  • Advisement and Transition: Housed on the first floor of Memorial Library, this 12-person team is well-prepared in meeting the academic advising needs of all students, especially transfers. Carol Costell Corbin serves as associate director for transfer credit and degree completion, Emily Quinlan serves as coordinator of transfer student services and Gregory Ketcham serves as transfer credit evaluator.

  • Transfer Planning Sheets and Transfer Equivalency Charts: These online tools help students map out a clear path to SUNY Cortland. The planning sheets outline recommended coursework prior to transferring and the equivalency charts show how credits from various institutions will count at the College.

  • Transfer Network Team: This program looks to connect new students with classmates who previously transferred to SUNY Cortland. The goal is to provide social support and authentic student insight on campus opportunities.

  • National Transfer Student Week: This week of activities in the fall aims to raise awareness of SUNY Cortland transfer students and celebrate their many contributions to campus. Students enjoy events such as “Transfer Trivia” and faculty and staff members can treat transfer students to lunch.

  • COR 201: Modeled after COR 101 for first-year students, this one-credit course introduces new transfer students to academic life and the many ways to create a successful SUNY Cortland experience.

  • Honors societies and awards: Phi Theta Kappa members from two-year institutions who carry a minimum 3.5 grade point average can earn a $1,000 scholarship upon entering SUNY Cortland. Most transfer students also may join SUNY Cortland’s chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society, which offers additional scholarship opportunities and recently inducted 60 new members.

  • Reverse transfer degrees: Transfer students who come from community colleges without completing their associate’s degree may earn it while working towards their bachelor’s degree at SUNY Cortland. This opportunity is particularly useful when pursuing part-time work during college that requires an associate’s degree.

The College’s honor roll application also included student input. 

Danielle Emilio, a senior speech and hearing science major from Oneonta, N.Y., attended two different four-year institutions prior to SUNY Cortland. She said the attention and support she received early on made her Cortland experience far different.

“The services offered here — the transfer housing options, credit evaluation and events — changed the dynamic for me,” said Emilio, who plans to attend SUNY Plattsburgh for her master’s work. 

She pursued an internship in Advisement and Transition, worked as an orientation assistant and now serves as a member of the Transfer Network Team. Emilio credited Quinlan, the coordinator of transfer student services, with helping her adjustment and ultimately allowing her to do the same for others. 

“The key is getting involved,” she said. “I feel like it’s intimidating to try things alone, but you shouldn’t be shy about it at Cortland.” 

Diller said the key to transfer student success is collaboration between campus partners. Those offices and departments include Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP), Advisement and Transition, Campus Activities and Corey Union, Student Registration and Record Services, and the Admissions and Residence Life and Housing offices.

“Cortland is a very collaborative campus, especially when it comes to helping transfer students,” he said. “Everything shows (transfer students) that we’re here and we’re ready for them.”

Visit the Phi Theta Kappa website for more information on the SUNY Cortland’s recent recognition, including a full list of all 2019 Transfer Honor Roll members.