The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.
The School of Literature, Science and the Arts announced last week that students who transfer into the college at the University from another college or university will have the option to defer enrollment for up to one year.
This decision came after Reid Klootwyk, an LSA junior, pushed for change in Michigan’s transfer student policy after he was forced to make the decision between immediately transferring to Michigan or taking a gap year during which he planned to spend time working for AmericCorps, a government organization through which people can serve at nonprofits, schools, community and faith-based organizations across the country.
Klootwyk made the decision to come to Michigan, but he was also determined to change the University’s transfer student policy.
Once enrolled as a student in LSA, Klootwyk joined the LSA Student Government. Shortly after, he wrote a letter to LSA Dean Andrew Martin requesting that he make the decision to allow transfer students the ability to defer their enrollment to the University for up to one year.
In his first year at the University, Dean Martin has stressed the importance of communication between students and administrators, and has made an impact through hosting a series of informal town hall meetings at which students could raise topics of concern or propose ideas.
In his letter to Martin, Klootwyk said that transfer students should not have to decide between attending the University immediately or taking a gap year.
“The policy in place forces admitted transfer students to make immediate impactful decisions about their future,” Klootwyk wrote. “If a student is worthy of acceptance to the University, the conditional acceptance should still be available after the culmination of each students’ unique gap year experience.”
Klootwyk also said that giving admitted freshman the chance to defer their enrollment to pursue unique experiences by taking a gap year, but not offering that same opportunity to transfer students was unfair.
“Gap year experiences are incredibly valuable, and often make a real difference in students’ lives,” Klootwyk wrote. “Transfer students are an important population at the University of Michigan, and they deserve the ability to take on the unique opportunities they are granted without the fear of losing their dreams.”
After receiving Klootwyk’s letter, Martin wrote a formal request to the Office of University Admissions asking them to allow transfer students to defer their enrollment.
“Mr. Klootwyk wants to make sure that future transfer students will not be put in this challenging position,” Martin wrote. “We were persuaded by his argument that while few transfer students may elect to do a gap year the University should not foreclose the option.”
As a result of Klootwyk and Martin’s combined efforts, transfer students are now able to defer their enrollment to the University for up to one year.
Angela Dillard, associate dean of undergraduate education for the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and a professor of Afroamerican and African Studies in the Residential College, wrote that the University’s decision to offer transfer students the opportunity to defer admission for a year is a prideful moment.
“Education happens in many ways, in many settings, and under many different conditions,” Dillard wrote in an e-mail interview. “We want to make sure all LSA students pursue their passions both inside and beyond classroom walls. We see this relatively small but important change as part of that larger effort.”