Skip to main content

National Transfer Student Week: Q&A with Willamette students

by University Communications,

Willamette is celebrating National Transfer Student Week, which runs Oct. 16-20, by highlighting a few students and sharing their reasons for transferring here. 

We spoke to Alayna Hughes BA'26, Ceph Tronco BA'26, and Kendra Hutchinson BA'24 about their experiences as transfer students.

Why did you choose Willamette and where did you transfer from? 

Alayna Hughes
Alayna Hughes BA'26

Hughes: I transferred halfway through my first year from University of Providence in Great Falls, Montana. I transferred to Willamette for the high-quality academics, and for the sense of community and welcoming that I wasn’t feeling before. I’m also originally from Oregon, and I definitely think I’m an Oregon person, so it was a good match.

Tronco I almost went to Willamette first, but I also got accepted into John Cabot University in Rome and felt like I’d be cheating myself if I didn’t take the chance to try living abroad and getting out of my home state. I realized pretty quickly, though, that they just didn’t have the same kind of career-focused support I could get out of a school closer to home, and that the social scene didn’t have room for a nerd and an introvert.

Ceph Tronco
Ceph Tronco BA'26

Hutchinson: I transferred from Linfield University after the spring of my 2nd year. I chose Willamette because it was similar to Linfield — a small liberal arts university close to home — but the Environmental Science program is much stronger here. I was especially excited about the tree lab and working at Zena.

What has the transfer process been like for you? What’s been helpful as you made the transition? 

Hughes: It was definitely stressful, especially with the short timeline I had to get it done, but everyone I spoke to at Willamette made it much easier than I had anticipated. Having the opportunity to be a part of the WU volleyball team has been so important — they welcomed me and were so kind from the start. I think it’s really important to connect with the people around you, and take things one step at a time.

Kendra Hutchinson
Kendra Hutchinson BA'24

Tronco: It was a little bit stressful, only because I was trying to manage my normal college workload and assembling my transfer application, but the transfer application itself was just like the one I filled out originally. Everyone at Willamette was very good at answering my questions even when my first university was late on handling my transcripts. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my mother, though, who did her level best to keep me from panicking.

Hutchinson The transfer process has certainly had its ups and downs but I found a community pretty much straight away thanks to a wonderful Opening Days group. My Opening Days leaders were the most helpful part of my transfer, we were fast friends and I can't imagine my time at Willamette without them. With such a big life change, the transfer process is never going to be seamless but finding a community among other nontraditional students has been an essential part of the process for me.

What has been your most surprising or memorable experience at Willamette so far?

Hughes: I’d say the most surprising thing throughout my transfer has been seeing the vast amount of resources Willamette offers, both in academics and in personal wellness and health. I’m really happy to see the advocacy and resources for mental health and wellbeing — you don’t see that at many other places.

Tronco: Definitely participating in the 24 Hour Theatre Festival — Willamette's student-run event that challenges writers, directors, and actors to write and produce plays in 24 hours. I was awake until 4 in the morning writing a play, and then got to see it performed the next day. It was a bizarre but incredibly fun experience.

Hutchinson One surprising thing is how easy it is to find spaces for myself both on and off campus. On campus, I love going on trips with the outdoor program, as well as just hanging with my friends in the Bistro or library. Off campus, I’ve found a little spot in the Salem community with weekly trivia nights! This year, I’m part of the Webber Scholars science outreach program, teaching science over at Bush Elementary, which is definitely one of the most memorable things I’ve done with my time here. That program is always a highlight of my week, it's amazing being able to share my passion for science with the kids.

Willamette University

University Communications

Waller Hall, Fourth Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.