Online Student Support Services: How Online Colleges Make Transferring Easy

online student support services

While learning online may seem impersonal, online student support services actually work hard to make earning your degree quite the opposite. Online colleges don’t often have a structured approach to learning. Instead, they offer maximum flexibility to cater to busy students. Unlike on-campus classes, online classes often don’t have set log in times and structured classes.

Because of its flexibility, many think navigating online learning is a walk in the park. Wrong.

Its flexibility can pose many challenges. For one, students can easily stray away from their studies or struggle to understand course materials. This is especially true for students navigating a new academic environment remotely. Fortunately, several online colleges offer online student support services to address the challenges of online learning.

Featured Programs

Some of the most valuable student services include academic advising, orientation, and credit transfer assistance. These resources are necessary for new online students to succeed in the transition.

When it comes to online learning, smooth transitions for transfer students are crucial. The support you receive from the start can significantly improve your academic performance. And not just that, it also boosts the institution’s reputation, leading to increased student retention and graduation rates.

Understanding Transfer Student Challenges

It’s not uncommon for college students to transfer from university to university. In fact, about one-third of students transfer because they don’t feel they belong at their current school. Others transfer for academic advancement or financial reasons.

But regardless of their reasons, all of them face certain challenges. These challenges include

  • non-matching program articulation
  • struggle with feeling socially and academically involved
  • difficulties with academics
  • cultural differences between two- and four-year institutions
  • heavy study workload
  • lack of administration arrangement and support from the university

These challenges show why universities must offer the right support and resources. They should always aim to help transfer students adjust and fit into their new academic environment smoothly.

The transition struggles may be more intense for online transfer students. Traditional students can rely on in-person interactions and on-campus resources. Online students, on the other hand, are often left to fend for themselves. This can affect their academic performance and experience.

Without physical classrooms or campus events, online transfer students might miss out on crucial opportunities for networking, mentorship, and engagement in student organizations. Additionally, navigating the intricacies of credit transfers and course equivalencies in an online environment can be daunting without proper guidance. 

Also, the asynchronous nature of online classes requires students to have a different level of time management. Some students like this freedom, but others find it tough without a fixed schedule.

Because of this, online colleges need to make sure they have good support for transfer students. They should offer the following student services online:

  • Personalized academic advising
  • Orientation programs
  • Transfer credit services

These online student support services are critical in bridging the gap for online transfer students. 

Academic Advising for Transfer Students

Switching schools or academic programs comes with big challenges. Many students don’t realize how important it is to get help from academic advisors during this time. They think planning their classes and schedules in college will be easy.

Also, new students transferring schools often see advisors as just a box to check off on their way to graduating. Surprisingly, almost half of students in a survey by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse said they didn’t get the essential help they needed from advisors. Not using physical/online academic help can cause several problems:

  1. Trouble Signing Up for Classes

Transfer students often struggle to get into the classes they need because the classes are full or the times don’t work with their schedule. Without advisors helping them ahead of time, they might not handle these problems well.

  1. Taking Longer to Graduate

If students don’t plan their courses well, it can take longer to finish their degrees. This delay affects not only when they finish school but also how much money they spend on their education.

  1. Issues with Transferring Credits

Moving credits between schools can be tricky. This might mean students take classes they’ve already completed, or it could take them longer to get their degree. Advisors are important for checking which credits count and ensuring students don’t repeat coursework unnecessarily.

On top of these challenges, students who don’t use academic advising services also have difficulty adjusting to their new school. Starting at a new place without guidance can make it tough for students to fit in and do well in their classes.

The right online college will offer a variety of online student services, especially academic advising. Online students can typically access advising support through virtual platforms, email, or phone calls, eliminating the need for in-person visits that traditional students might rely on.

Student support services examples they provide to online students:

  • navigating online learning platforms
  • grasping course requirements
  • effectively managing time in a virtual setting
  • accessing remote student support program/resource
  • monitoring each student’s academic progress

Transfer Student Orientation Programs

Transfer students come from various backgrounds and often encounter specific challenges when moving to a different college or university. They have lower retention and graduation rates than students who begin and finish their degree in the same institution. This is especially true when transitioning from a two-year to a four-year academic environment.

Transfer student orientation programs are important for many reasons:

  1. Reducing Transfer Shock

When transfer students move to a new college, they often struggle to adjust to the new environment. This adjustment can often hurt their grades and sense of fitting in. Orientation programs made just for transfer students can ease this adjustment. These programs typically include an introduction to online learning platforms, resources, and support networks.

  1. Helping Students Navigate the College

Moving to a new college means transfer students must figure out how everything works, from classes to institutional rules. Orientation programs give them major important advice on academic rules. These include what classes they must take, where to get help on campus, and other services. This knowledge helps transfer students make smart choices and manage their college experience well.

  1. Building Friendships and a Sense of Belonging

Many transfer students experience feelings of isolation, impacting their involvement and persistence. Orientation programs help transfer students interact with other peers and faculty. Students who engage in these interactions are more likely to be engaged in their studies and complete them.

  1. Preparing for College Academics

Each college and university will have different academic standards. Transfer students are often used to their previous school’s standards and have difficulty adjusting to the new competition. These student support programs incorporate workshops, advising sessions, and examinations to help students prepare.

  1. Improving Graduation Rates

Transfer students often don’t finish their degrees as often as students who start and finish at the same college. Orientation programs can boost these graduation rates. These programs give them the right student support system and online class assistance to do well in their classes and feel connected to their school.

Transfer student support services like orientation programs ensure that students receive the assistance and guidance to navigate their new academic environment successfully. Without these programs, transfer students may not fully integrate into the online community and may struggle academically. 

Specialized Resources to Ease the Transition

Online college transfer programs go beyond academic advising and transfer student orientation programs. They also include include: 

  1. Tutoring services

The nature of on-campus classes vastly differs from online learning. By offering personalized academic support, tutoring services help transfer students adjust to their new learning environment.

However, this service is different from academic advising for transfer students. Tutoring services focus specifically on individual academic needs. These include understanding course material and refining study strategies. They provide targeted assistance tailored to each student’s learning style and pace. 

  1. Library access

Library access is also important in helping students transition to online college. This service helps online students access research materials and resources remotely. It ensures that students can utilize scholarly databases. These include e-books, academic journals, and other digital resources. 

  1. Study groups

This support for transfer students allows them to work with classmates in an organized setting. They provide a place for students to ask questions, explain ideas, and look at different views on school subjects. Also, study groups create a community among transfer students, helping them form bonds with peers.


Transitioning to new environments is never easy. You’ll face a lot of challenges and uncertainties along the way. As an online transfer student, you need to have all the help you can get from the university. You’ll need a variety of support services, but mostly academic advising, orientation, and specialized online student support services like tutoring and library access.

Online college resources for transfer students promote a smooth and successful transition to a new academic environment. These are resources that are designed to address the unique challenges that transfer students face, particularly in online learning.