CU Denver students on campus

Although Olivia Snyder grew up in Los Alamos, N.M., and is used to small-town life, she doesn’t shy from jumping into the urban bustle. She immerses herself in the Mile High City by attending CU Denver, living downtown and, whenever possible, enjoying coffee shops and art galleries. Recently, Snyder strolled into a sea of orange to join half of Denver (seemingly) for a pre-playoff-game rally in Larimer Square.

Just a few months before embracing Broncomania, Snyder transferred to CU Denver from the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA, a two-year institution). During the festive rally, the New Mexico native was asked if she enjoys her new university, city and state. “Oh, definitely,” Snyder said with a smile. “I have too many friends right now. Actually, it’s hard to organize it all.”

Transfer students like Snyder currently make up half of the incoming class at CU Denver. As a transfer student, new campus surroundings are just one thing to ponder. Other questions that arise: Will my credits transfer? What will the culture of this university be like? How can I fit in?

‘Very smooth’

Thanks to CU Denver’s welcoming atmosphere – as well as the new Transfer Admissions Center – all of those pieces came together nicely for Snyder, who enrolled at CU Denver in fall 2015. “It was very smooth,” she says of transferring from UNM-LA. “I know that at some (universities) it gets a bit rough to transfer, it gets a little complicated, but not here. CU Denver made it clear what credits counted, what didn’t and what I might need to do to get others counted, so it was really nice.”

The new Transfer Admission Center is a helpful one-stop resource for transfer students.
The new Transfer Admission Center is a helpful one-stop resource for transfer students.

Snyder is representative of CU Denver students in general: They have a strong desire to learn with purpose. Raul Cardenas, PhD, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, notes that our transfer students are – similar to CU Denver’s overall student body – diverse, often non-traditional and goal-oriented. “Our transfer students are an important part of the university,” he says. “They’re really focused, they have experience and they’re looking for somewhere to help them close the deal – meaning finish their bachelor’s degree.”

Like Snyder, many students start in a community college to develop a technical skill, or get a better idea of the career they’d like to pursue. “At CU Denver, we provide an important service by really helping fulfill many of these students’ dreams,” Cardenas says. “We opened the one-stop Transfer Admission Center last fall, and students are going to see more services being continually offered to transfer students.”

New Transfer Admission Center

Find more information about how our new Transfer Admissions Center is here to make sure your transfer process to CU Denver goes smoothly.

Salina Evans, assistant director of transfer recruitment, notes that the Transfer Admission Center is conveniently located on the first floor of the new Student Commons Building. The center ensures that each transfer student is assisted with admission, credit transfer (including a transfer credit evaluation, in partnership with the Transfer Articulation Team), degree planning, financial support and scholarship opportunities. The center is also a one-stop resource for:

  • Tour of the campus, and learning about transportation and/or housing;
  • Introductions to students, professors and staff in all areas of study;
  • Information about campus life, events and activities; and
  • Information about internship and employment resources on campus.

“We act as a front-line service for prospective students,” Evans says. “Basically, we offer prospective transfer students more support – a holistic service.”

Here are stories of a few transfer students who chose CU Denver to complete their degrees. Most of them have received at least one, if not several, scholarships:

Olivia Snyder

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Olivia Snyder is double major in painting and drawing as well as business at CU Denver.

Olivia Snyder clarified her goals while at UNM-LA: She wanted to go to college to develop her art skills, but she also wanted to work on her business and networking skills. Now she is a double-major, studying painting-drawing in the College of Arts & Media and marketing in the CU Denver Business School.

“I like how major cities provide more opportunities than other places, so I started to look in that direction,” she says. “I felt like Denver was a little different (from where she grew up), but I was familiar with it because we visited often.”

CU Denver fit the bill on yet another front. Because CU Denver is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) – and New Mexico is also in the 16-state WUE network – Snyder saves on tuition costs every year by virtue of being a WUE student. “I was looking at Western colleges (that are part of WUE),” she says. “Otherwise, I probably would have gone to an art institute back East.”

Transferring to CU Denver was “super smooth,” Snyder says. About half of her credits from UNM-LA transferred, but Snyder expects more will be accepted. “I’m talking with advisors about getting more credits transferred over,” she says. “Most colleges don’t do that – they’re black-and-white with it, either yes or no – but here at CU Denver they’ve been lenient and worked with me. So I like that.”

In addition to her school work, Snyder is a member of the Life Drawing Club and she landed a part-time marketing internship in University Communications. She’s in her sophomore year, but Snyder already has a clear idea of what she wants to do: “I want to open a coffee shop/art gallery,” she says. “I want to be my own boss and pursue the fine arts.”

Ana Ibanez

In January 2015, Ana Ibanez faced a situation common to many students who transfer to CU Denver. She was close to earning an associate’s degree (psychology) from Front Range Community College and pondered her next step. “I was like, ‘What am I going to do after I graduate?’” she says. So, after consulting with a friend who attends CU Denver, Ibanez had an answer.

She decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education in the School of Education & Human Development. Long term, Ibanez has her sights on a master’s degree in family counseling and a doctorate in human development and families.

CU Denver student Ana Ibanez
Ana Ibanez enjoys being a Lynx.

“It was easy to transfer my credits to CU Denver,” she says. “Once I got my transcripts in, it was an easy process – the application and paperwork were simple.”

She is currently taking 15 credit hours in addition to working 24 hours a week in the Office of Admissions.

“CU Denver was the only school that had the education program I liked,” says Ibanez, a junior. “Once I get my bachelor’s degree I hope to get a full-time job here at CU Denver, like possibly an advisor position. I plan to do that while I work toward my master’s degree here.”

In her Admissions Office job, Ibanez enjoys telling prospective students about her personal experience transferring to CU Denver. She’s also participated on panels where she answers students’ questions about the university.

“There are so many advantages to coming to CU Denver,” she says while sipping a latte in the Tivoli Starbucks. “You’re not only learning, you’re also equipping yourself by getting practical experience. For example, in my grant class I have to propose a grant and I’m going to be working on that, like an intern, soon.”

Ibanez has embraced CU Denver’s relatively new mascot, Milo the Lynx, and the spirit our new identity conveys. “I like the Lynx,” she says. “I like my professors. I love it here.”

Ben Thao

Ben Thao transferred to CU Denver from Front Range Community College in fall 2014. Having previously studied engineering, Thao is now majoring in accounting in the CU Denver Business School.

CU Denver student Ben Thao
When he’s not busy with his studies at CU Denver, Ben Thao performs in hip-hop dance crew Machinez Remainz.

He says an exceptional advisor at CU Denver, who has since retired, helped him in many ways when he looked into the transfer process. “She made transferring here really smooth,” Thao says. “She helped with the paperwork, how to log in to the CU Denver portal, what counselors to talk to, what scholarship people to talk to, what clubs would benefit me as a student, and she recommended people to network with.”

Outside of school, Thao works part time in the CU Denver Admissions Office and performs in a hip-hop dance crew. The crew, Machinez Remainz, performs around Denver, including at Nuggets games, and in international competitions, placing 17th in the U.S. adult division last year. Thao also participates in the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan’s Lake Park.

Thao, a junior who expects to graduate in spring 2017, plans to work at a start-up company, possibly combining his passions for business and entertainment.

As a person with artistic talent and athletic moves on the dance floor, Thao appreciates movement. That’s why he likes the no-nonsense, purposeful ethos of CU Denver. “It’s been a good experience,” he says. “I think this college is more about getting things done. Get things done and move on.”

Travis McGovern

Much like a musician fine tunes a song to perfection, Travis McGovern has honed his college career. With each stop, he’s polished the chords, sharpened the notes.

CU Denver student Travis McGovern
Travis McGovern, who transferred to CU Denver from Arizona State University, hopes to run his own full-service music management company.

McGovern started at Arapahoe Community College as a film major. At the time he was playing in a heavy metal band as well as managing gig dates and other details of performance work. McGovern then expanded his artistic palette by enrolling in an interdisciplinary arts program at Arizona State University. The program combined music, graphic design and film study, but McGovern realized that his passion centered on the business world of music.

So, the Castle Rock native looked around for a new program and discovered the Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Department, in the College of Arts & Media, where he could earn a bachelor of science in music with an emphasis in Music Business.

“I liked not only the school, but the location of CU Denver,” he says. “Denver is a great city for music, and the Music Business program in CAM is one of the better nationally. There are a lot of cool professors in the department and a lot of them have real-world experience. It’s not just a lot of book work.”

McGovern says the transfer process to CU Denver was relatively simple. Some classes in Arizona were specifically tailored to ASU’s interdisciplinary arts program, so in a couple cases McGovern showed his CAM professors the work he’d done. “When they saw how much of the material I took at ASU overlapped here, they gave me the credits,” he says. “Other core classes like English transferred over easily.”

He arrived at CU Denver with about 20 credits already applied toward his degree. McGovern is a sophomore and a double major; he’s studying marketing in the CU Denver Business School as well as Music Business.

He enjoys the city-life vibe of CU Denver and lives at the Auraria Lofts, a perfect location for a musician. “I can walk to everything, concert-wise,” he says.

McGovern feels like he’s hit on the right note with his college career, and feels CU Denver, where he works part time in the Office of Student Life, will help him reach his goal of ultimately owning a music management company.

“I’d like to have a 360-degree business that does management, promotion, event planning and label work,” McGovern says.

For now, he loves the 360-degree view of life and education in the center of a thriving and culturally rich city. “I like being in the city,” he says, “because you not only have the campus events, but you have the community events, too. I was able to walk down to the Broncos’ Super Bowl parade on the 16th Street Mall after class.

“Here, you get the city life and the college atmosphere all rolled into one.”