Every August, first-year students come from all over the world to join a pool of thousands of intelligent, motivated and competitive students, an experience that can be both exhilarating and incredibly intimidating. Among the flocks of first-year students are transfer students, who often have an equally challenging transition to the Hilltop yet are commonly overlooked when discussing the struggles of adjusting to Georgetown University. And even among transfers, there are disparities in their transitions to the university.
While some transfer students matriculate directly to Georgetown’s main campus, others enroll in The Capitol Applied Learning Labs (CALL) program, designed for students interested in living and working in downtown Washington, D.C. Students can take classes at the Capitol Hill and main campuses, but they live at Georgetown’s 55 H St. NW campus, an almost four-mile walk from campus, or a 30-minute bus ride.
Although it is a worthwhile initiative, many students have reported dissatisfaction with The CALL, noting its social disconnection from the university and its lack of support for finding internships, a key piece of the program. Thus, the Editorial Board, which includes two members of the transfer community, calls on the university to support its transfer students by reforming the structure of The CALL program in a way that better connects them to the Georgetown community.
The CALL program, which is open to all undergraduates, offers a valuable experience for students looking to pursue professional opportunities. Transfers, when applying to Georgetown, are also given the option to be considered for one semester in The CALL program before a planned transition to the main Georgetown campus.
But for transfer students, like Henry Crawford (CAS ’25), participating in The CALL program is not always their first choice.
“For reference, I and many other transfers didn’t choose the CALL over main campus, it was built into our decision letter,” Crawford wrote to The Hoya.
Many students have also expressed dissatisfaction with The CALL, particularly because of the university’s lack of support in finding internships.
“In my opinion, having to transfer directly into the CALL program was a less than ideal situation,” transfer student Julie Meneses (CAS ’25) wrote to The Hoya.
“The turnaround from when I found out I got accepted to Georgetown to moving into my apartment was extremely short,” Meneses added. “During this time period, it was almost impossible for me to obtain an internship, the focal point of the program.”
Beginning next summer, the window for transfer students to receive support in their internship endeavors will be extended, a university spokesperson told The Hoya.
“The vast majority of transfer students participating in the CALL have reported positive experiences. We know that a few students had difficulties finding a fulfilling internship in the late summer,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.
While the Editorial Board commends Georgetown’s plan to respond to student difficulties, there are still steps that must be taken to address another central issue for many transfers in The CALL: cultural isolation.
The gap between the main and downtown campuses is not only geographical, but social as well. For students who just transferred to a new environment and are looking to find a “home on the Hilltop,” The CALL program places a massive burden on their ability to do so.
“I was unfamiliar with the club culture here and felt an immense amount of stress that I was not ‘getting involved on campus’ as much as I should have been,” Meneses wrote. “If there were more avenues for CALL and Spring transfers to more easily commit to extracurricular activities, I think it would be beneficial to their adjustment to Georgetown.”
Crawford said living off campus has made the already challenging process of adjusting to Georgetown as a transfer even more difficult.
“There have been new problems since moving onto the main campus,” he wrote. “Being a transfer already makes you an asterisk in every aspect of academia, but coming onto campus after the CALL made us a weird hybrid of first semester freshmen and second semester sophomores.”
The CALL is not inherently problematic. The experiential learning opportunities that it offers are extensive, and, particularly for students who have a specific career goal in mind, it could be an invaluable experience. Yet, for transfer students trying to adjust to a new environment, it often proves more difficult to do so when they are so dramatically severed from the main campus community.
The university often depicts the program as an easy way to adjust to Georgetown culture.
“The CALL transfer program is designed to help transfer students acclimate to Georgetown, through particular classes, experiences and wraparound services,” a university spokesperson wrote.
Yet, this is not the experience of many transfers who have participated in the program, and unless significant adjustments are made, nothing will improve.
Georgetown must reform The CALL program and prioritize the needs of transfer students who are entering the Georgetown community but often feel disconnected from it.
By improving its services for finding internships and offering more opportunities for The CALL students to experience main-campus life, the administration can better support transfers in their journey to find a “home on the Hilltop.”
Otherwise, transfer students may feel as if they were never accepted in the first place.
The Hoya’s Editorial Board is composed of six students and is chaired by the opinion editors. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.