for the love of the ‘fers

On Wednesday, I encouraged you to consider reaching the “imported ignored” this Spring: Seek out Transfer Students, open your ministry to them, and offer them all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

(Rights and privileges? Like… opportunities to know and to be known, the chance to join a small group, places to serve, maybe even a fast-track to leadership for those who are clearly qualified…)

Friday means the weekly College Ministry Fridea, so I’m spending this post pondering HOW we could start reaching Transfer Students all year long. What steps would I take to begin developing this special ministry effort?

1. Discover the stats. How many Transfer Students enter our campus each semester? What’s the breakdown of age, major, hometown (closeby vs. far away), ethnicity, and anything else?

2. Find out what the school offers. Transfer Students likely have their own special advisors, office, or even Orientation. I’d want to find out what is offered and consider how our ministry might connect with, serve through, and/or recruit through those activities. (In fact, the school might just appreciate the extra attention given to Transfer Students, which can lead to all sorts of cooperation and access.)

3. Discover the dif-‘FER-ences. What unique needs do Transfer Students have? How does their campus experience differ from those who enter as freshmen? Are they more or less likely to have a Christian background, or to have walked well with Christ in recent years? Are they harder or easier to get plugged in to anything, including ministries?

4. Get students working on it. This is a great ministry to get students (particularly former Transfer Students themselves) serving in. They might come up with some ways to love on ‘Fers that I never would.

5. Audit the “Transfer”-ability of my ministry. Step-by-step, activity-by-activity, it would be important to think through my entire ministry. What roadblocks exist for Transfer Students? What little tweaks could I make to smooth their path here? Is my ministry truly welcoming and impactful for first-timers who aren’t Freshmen, for students who only stick around for a year or two, for those who come to our campus mid-year, or for those with a 2-year-school background? Would they even have the chance to find out about our ministry? These and other questions (guided by what I learned in Steps 1, 2, and 3) would be really important to ask about our ministry.

Finally, if you need a push to consider loving on Transfer Students, Steve wrote a great comment on Wednesday’s post:

Campus ministries struggle to connect with transfer students even during the Fall. This isn’t just a mid-year issue.

I’m really wrestling with this … not just because I think transfer students are great, but because shifting economic forces mean that more and more students are needing to do a year or two at a community college in order to afford school. The pool of freshmen seems to be smaller, wealthier and whiter and we’re missing more and more students during our freshmen-oriented new student welcome.

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  1. Pingback: recruiting grab bag! « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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