Humber College's transfer pathways recognize prior learning, and it comes in all shapes and sizes, including lived experience, diplomas and degrees and time spent in the workforce.
Conor Brown just started his fifth year at Humber. He spent his first two years working towards his Media Communications diploma. When he graduated, he transferred into the Bachelor of Creative Advertising degree program. Since he qualified for a pathway, Brown skipped the first two semesters and started in the degree program's second year.
"Since Humber's pathways have been set up to ease the transfer process, my transition was relatively quick and easy. There was not much to worry about after applying, other than paying for tuition, of course," said Brown.
He recommends the transfer process to other students often. This week, he'll be representing Humber as a student ambassador, talking about his experience and celebrating other transfer students. Transfer Student Week runs from October 18 to October 22 and includes student and alumni Q&A panels, games and a talk by one of Humber's Transfer Champions, faculty member Erin Mandel-Shorser.
Humber's new strategic plan, Humber Tomorrow, renewed the college's commitment to being a receiving institution. Approximately 50 per cent of Humber students are transfer students, even though it may not be immediately apparent.
There are three ways to transfer:
-Students from other colleges and universities can transfer their credits to Humber. Transfer Services reviews their applications and faculty assessors determine if their learning outcomes match. If they do, the department approves the credit transfer. There are also a number of pre-approved credits that students can look up on their own using the transfer credit database at transferoptions.ca
-Humber has prescribed pathways that incorporate a block transfer of credits, like diploma to degree pathways. If the diploma curriculum satisfies the lower-level requirements for the degree program, students may be allowed to skip a year or two, like Conor Brown.
-Prior learning reaches far beyond academics, so students can apply to transfer with their work or volunteer experience and informal learning.
Transferring into a Humber program can be cost-effective and make the academic journey more accessible.
"It really helps students lighten their workload while they're studying at Humber and gives them value in terms of what they've done before. Having it recognized really validates that student coming in with prior knowledge. They're not starting over from scratch," said Judy Tavares, manager of Student Transfer Services
Transfer Student Week is an online event this year, which reflects recent changes in the department.
"Prior to the pandemic, we did everything through paper," said Tavares.
The application process required students to fill out a paper application and bring it to the Registrar's Office. A transition to online application was already underway in early 2020, but the pandemic "propelled it forward," she said.
Advising also moved online, and once the department launched Microsoft booking, there was a significant uptake in appointments and attendance rates.
"With the move online, we were also able to see international students, some of whom hadn't come into the country yet. In the past, we couldn't accommodate that," said recruitment coordinator Risha Toney.
Transfer Services also created three how-to videos that guide students through the transfer process from within Ontario, out of province or another country.
Humber also recognizes faculty who support transfer students and recognize the depth and breadth of knowledge students with prior learning bring to the classroom.
"We have that transfer culture at Humber, and we wanted to increase that and also bring people together to celebrate that," said recruitment coordinator Toney.
That culture helps create community among both students and faculty.
"If you're a transfer student, we want you here, and it's going to be a supportive environment for you," she said.
Students can get involved in Transfer Student Week by registering for events on the Transfer Student Week website, engaging on social media or attending a game night where they could win one of five $25 Amazon gift cards. They can also submit their Humber Transfer Story on social media using the hashtag #HumberIsHome, and tagging @HumberCollege to enter a draw to win a Humber swag pack. The competition finishes on November 30.