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Appalachian starts national honors society chapter for transfer students

BOONE-This fall, Appalachian State University is starting a chapter of Tau Sigma National Honor Society, a society that recognizes academic excellence of transfer students.

The Transfer Services Committee began the effort to start a Tau Sigma chapter at Appalachian two years ago.  Ten students are needed to start the chapter and four officers are needed to complete the paperwork necessary to make the society official.  The faculty advisor for the new chapter is Robert J. Charlebois.

“I think it is important to recognize the accomplishments of hardworking transfer students and do all we can here on campus to help them acclimate and succeed,” said Charlebois.  “I was a transfer student in my undergraduate years and never remember anyone reaching a hand out in any way.  I think Tau Sigma helps legitimize transfers’ past hard work and empower them as members of an honor society.”

Appalachian has about 3,500 transfer students and enrolls about 1,000 new transfers each school year.  Since fall of 2007, there have been 1,375 eligible students for Tau Sigma.

To become a member of Tau Sigma, a student must have completed one full year of academic credit from the institution he or she transferred from and earned a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or be in the top 20 percent of their class during the first semester at the institution he or she transferred to.

“Transfer students face unique challenges that other students don’t have to face,” said Kendal McDevitt, coordinator for the Office of Off-Campus Community Relations, about why Tau Sigma is an important addition to campus.  “There are fewer ready-made opportunities for socializing and involvement on campus to transfers.  Additionally, transfers don’t get to participate in honors societies already on campus.  We have created the Transfer Student Service Committee and Tau Sigma to address the needs of these students.”

An induction ceremony is being planned for the spring 2011 semester for those eligible students that transferred in the fall of 2010 or earlier.

Tau Sigma will provide new and continuing transfer students with opportunities to get involved with Appalachian, a chance to assume leadership positions and a more welcoming environment.

The objectives of Tau Sigma include enhancing the reputation of transfer students, increasing attention to transfer students who excel academically, providing a support system for incoming transfer students and providing a strong connection among transfer students.

In its effort to further enhance the experience of transfers, Appalachian offers the Office of Transfer Articulation, an entire department dedicated to helping transfer students incorporate their academic credentials into their Appalachian coursework as seamlessly as possible, and the Transfer Student Services Committee, which addresses the unique needs and challenges of transfers.  Those transfer students majoring in education also have the option to participate in the Transfer Teacher Education Residential Learning Community.

“I find it really exciting to be involved from the start, to see the organization form and develop.  My intention is to let the founding members make it what they think it should be.  It is all for them after all,” said Charlebois.

For more information about how to get involved with Tau Sigma, contact McDevitt by phone at 828-262-8284 or by email at mcdevittkb@appstate.edu.

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