By Kenneth Wenger
College students are getting the short end of the stick in Ryerson transfers.
Ryerson takes between 250 and 300 direct entry college students each year, primarily from Toronto area colleges. Students say they are encouraged to come to Ryerson by staff at their colleges. But, many soon need help coordinating course selection and transfer credits — help they say isn’t readily available.
“It was actually a pretty tedious process. I’m surprised that it was as difficult as it was,” said Kevin Callahan, a fourth-year Business Management student, who transferred from Seneca College. Jackie McLennan, a third-year Business Management student coming from George Brown College, agreed. “At George Brown, it seemed like there was a relationship with Ryerson. Here, they don’t even seem to recognize that relationship,” she said.
Transfer students are assigned three to five “reach back” courses to catch them up to the continuing students.
But it’s not enough. Many Ryerson courses, such as Finance 401: Managerial Finance, can be overwhelming for college students. The course, which about a third of students are said to have failed last year, builds on Finance 300, a course that college transfer students haven’t taken. McLennan and Callahan, a financial consultant at TD Canada Trust, both had to hire a tutor for FIN 401.
Maurice Mazerolle, director of student affairs at the School of Business Management, said FIN 300 will be a required reach back next year. “They were given credit for FIN 300, and if they haven’t taken it, or taken some sort of equivalent credit at a community college, they really had no way of passing 401,” Mazerolle said.
A help centre is available to students — transfer or otherwise — in Business 312, and Ryerson has offered a free 10-week FIN 300 review for direct entry students.
Ryerson learning strategist Lurana Kruchten said the difficulty of new courses is compounded by miscommunication. “They’re typically difficult courses for students. It’s even harder if you don’t know the rules of the game,” she said. Ken Jones, the dean of the Faculty of Business Management, admits there are problems in the system.
His department has met with colleges to streamline the process, but he said Ryerson won’t drop its standards to give college students an easier ride. “We are trying to work with (colleges) in order to make them change their programs to meet our more rigorous demands… We are not going to sacrifice the quality of our program. It wouldn’t be right,” he said. Peter Luk, director of the Faculty of Business Management, said some students come to Ryerson unsure of which career they wish to pursue.
“When they transfer, some of them want to switch into other programs, like marketing or the more rigorous finance, and they are not prepared for it,” he said.
Jones agreed. Transfer students make up nearly half of Ryerson’s senior-year Business Management students. Websites such as CollegeUniversityConsortium.com have popped up to help students with the transition, one they say should be made easier by the institutions.
“It’s definitely an asset to Ryerson. It’s just a matter of maybe streamlining the process a little bit better,” Callahan said.