Book Reviews

Book by Thomas J. Grites & Susan Rondeau
Review by Susan Bates
Career Advisor
Centura College (VA)


The Transfer Student Companion is intended to help transfer students adjust to the unique challenges they face. Transfer students are a group often overlooked. Because these students already have some college under their belts, it is often assumed (by both the institution and the students) that the transition to a new school will be easier than it is for students transitioning from high school. In some ways, however, the transition is even more difficult. The authors call this unexpected difficulty “transfer shock.” The difficulties arise in part because these students are not given the same attention and information typically given to first-year students. The difficulty of the transition can also in part be attributed to the students’ inaccurate assumptions of the ease of the shift to a new school, which results in lack of preparation.

Although the book is written for pre- and post-transfer students, it also provides a great deal of useful information for advisors who work with these students. It is a must read for any advisor who wishes to learn more about the concerns and difficulties faced by transfer students. Its easy-to-read format makes it a quick way for advisors to learn more about how the transition affects students.

Possibly the most valuable lesson transfer students can learn to calm their transition fears is that they are not alone. The authors successfully convey that, in general, transfer students are experiencing many of the same challenges and concerns. The authors make it clear that the transition can be eased by the use of various campus resources. A description of potentially helpful, common campus resources is provided in related chapters.

Each chapter gives an account of how an individual student overcame the difficulties involved in transferring schools and became successful. In addition, each chapter provides advice from fellow transfer students, pre- and post-transfer tips, critical thinking points, and assignments. The book is ideally suited to serve as a text for students taking a course designed to prepare them for transferring to a new school or a course at the new school developed to ease the transition of transfer. The design of the book has the feel of the “… For Dummies” book series, making it a more fun read than the average textbook.

The authors cover a variety of topics including making academic plans, time management, becoming involved in campus, financial planning, learning school policies, getting to know professors, utilizing resources, major selection, and much more. While many of these topics apply to both transfer students and continuing students, the topics are covered with transfer students’ specific concerns in mind.

Most topics are covered with sufficient depth. However, the topic of transferring coursework to a new institution is only briefly mentioned, despite the authors’ admission that it is a major concern for transfer students. This is disappointing considering that the authors state in that the book was developed not only for students who have transferred, but for students who intend to transfer. Despite this one disappointment, the book is a welcome addition to the material designed to facilitate adjustment to college. The unique focus of the book and the thorough covering of most topics will help many students as they make the adjustment of changing colleges.


Transfer Student Companion (2009). Book by Thomas J. Grites & Susan Rondeau. Review by Susan Bates. Florence, KY: Cengage Learning, Inc. 186 pp., $34.95 (spiral bound). ISBN # 978-0-618-92486-8
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