Taylor Mall, students, Arizona State University

Online coaching program to help SPA transfer students adjust to new campus environment starting this spring


Mark J. Scarp

Incoming freshmen are offered many opportunities to become acquainted with their new educational, social and residential environments, all designed to prepare them to have the best possible collegiate experience and identify a rewarding and satisfying career path.

But according to Donald Siegel, Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management and director of the Arizona State University School of Public Affairs (SPA), the transition process is typically much more difficult for transfer students, who often encounter unique challenges in adjusting to a university. The ongoing pandemic has likely exacerbated such challenges. 

Transfer students enter a university at any number of points between their very first semester and their last and need to be oriented in a way that is more attuned to them, Siegel said.

That’s why SPA will offer in spring 2021 an online coaching course for 150 transfer students called Inner.U STUDENT. Provided at no cost to the student, it is the creation of the Handel Group, a corporate consulting and life coaching company whose method has been taught in over 50 educational programs and institutions of higher learning including Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Stanford universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to the Handel Group website, “Inner.U STUDENT is the cheat sheet to your life as a student” that “gives you the tools to rock out your academic life.” Audio coaching sessions and a private coaching call with a certified coach are among its features.

“Traditional orientation programs for transfer students do not sufficiently address personal growth and career development,” Siegel said. “We hope that this program helps to fill that gap for this growing, diverse student population.”

Donations from SPA faculty have already paid for half the cost of offering the program to 150 transfer students, said Siegel, who said he hopes more faculty members will contribute, so it will be fully funded by the time the special student coaching is introduced in March.

According to ASU statistics, 57% of current Watts College students are transfer students.