Transfer Students Find a Home at W&J

Created: May 23, 2017  |  Last Updated: August 5, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged:


Sometimes the path to higher education veers in unexpected directions, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the program that’s right for you.

Ashton Grimm ’18 and Olyvia Adkins ’18 started their college careers at different institutions, but were attracted to Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) and made the decision to transfer.

A Great Decision

When looking for a college to fit her needs, Grimm wanted to find a school that balanced athletics and academics while preparing her for graduate programs. Adkins was in search of an institution that had both theatre and law programs in which she could thrive, and that was close to home.

Both found what they were looking for in W&J.

“As a student athlete, [I’ve found] my coach is willing to work around my rigorous schedule of evening labs. Not only am I able to play soccer, but I also am a student ambassador on campus, and have an internship off campus through Washington Health System,” Grimm said of W&J. “My professors also are always guiding me in the correct direction as well, whether it be applying to grad schools, or just on everyday assignments.”

After a year at another institution, Adkins was better able to understand what she needed from her college experience.

“The main reasons I decided to transfer were, one, because I didn’t feel comfortable at the college I was going to, mostly because of cultural differences and, two, once I decided to change majors, my current college didn’t satisfy my needs,” Adkins said. “Since W&J is closer to where I grew up, it was much closer to the culture I was used to, and W&J’s political science and pre-law programs are amazing. Since I have come to W&J I have felt much more comfortable, and I feel like it was definitely the right choice for me.”

Ongoing Support

Grimm was initially unsure about how to start the transfer process, but soon found that the best way to get the most out of your education is to ask questions.

“As soon as I contacted W&J, it made a world of difference, because I got to talk to somebody who really knew what they were talking about,” Grimm said.

She noted that the Admission staff at W&J, and in particular Karen Gerardi, senior assistant director for transfer students & operations, were incredibly helpful in making the transition. After being in contact with Gerardi for a week, she was moving into her dorm for soccer preseason.

Adkins agrees that Gerardi was an integral part of making the transition to W&J smooth and simple.

“The transfer process was so easy for me. Partly because I had applied to W&J previously, but also because of Karen Gerardi, who just made the entire thing easy. Once I decided I wanted to transfer, I made an official visit to W&J’s campus and that basically made my decision for me,” Adkins said.

The students have found that the faculty has been supportive of them pursuing academic challenges in and out of the classroom. Grimm said a professor recommended her for her internship with Washington Health System and was vital in helping her land that role. With encouragement from professors, Adkins has traveled to London and Ireland and gained valuable insight from her trips.

With the opportunities afforded to them as W&J students, they feel well-prepared for life after college. Adkins plans to attend law school following graduation, and Grimm is looking to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy.

Final Advice

The students have some advice for others considering transferring to a new institution.

Grimm said start asking questions, and look for the place that will make you happy.

“Ask questions! Don’t hesitate to make a call to talk to one of us, but most importantly if you’re not happy at your current institution, don’t be afraid to make a change,” she said.

Adkins added that a campus visit could bring some clarity to the decision-making process.

“Visit! I really cannot emphasize this enough when considering transferring to any school. A school can look fantastic on paper, but it is nearly impossible to know if you will feel comfortable there without visiting,” Adkins said.

 Ready to transform your future? Find out more about transferring to W&J or schedule a visit to campus today!

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.