Both transfer students and the transfer process are close to the heart of Rachael Capua, the new assistant director of the sophomore and junior year experience.
After all, Capua was a transfer student herself, coming to TCU as a junior majoring in advertising and public relations.
“Because I was a transfer student myself, I can help shine a light on that particular need,” Capua said.
According to Amanda Nickerson, an admission counselor for transfer students, 19.6 percent of students enrolling for the first time in the fall of 2014 were transfer students. Capua said transfer students make up approximately 25 percent of TCU’s population.
Keri Cyr, the director of the sophomore and junior year experience, spoke highly of Capua.
“She’s super motivated and just full-steam ahead,” Cyr said. “So that’s really exciting—just to have someone so excited and passionate, especially about transfers.”
Capua said she hopes this community would help with “how we can support these students on campus and how we can build, really, a platform for them.”
“One of my goals is to help build a community of transfer ‘champions,’ if you will, across campus,” Capua said.
Capua said she hopes to build this community through a revamp of the transfer center within Student Development Services. She said she wants it to be a place that can best meet the needs of transfer students.
“That’s probably one of my biggest goals: to provide a resource for them,” Capua said. “And to be able to give them the opportunity to connect with other students if they haven’t been here since day one.”
Capua said transfer students come from a variety of backgrounds.
“It’s so diverse,” she said. “No transfer is the same, and I think that’s what makes it so difficult.”
But Capua has never shied away from a challenge.
After graduating from TCU, Capua earned a master’s degree in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma. She started a career in risk management, working in corporate marketing and business development.
She quickly became one of the few young women to score a top contract in the state, Capua said.
“I think things like that are important. It gives you confidence; it gives you the drive that you need,” Capua said. “It gives you the experience that you need to take with you other places.”
But for Capua, she said it was about more than scoring a top contract. Working in the corporate world helped her define her character.
“It really gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself and how I work,” Capua said. It also helped her learn how she can “make change and affect the greater good,” she said.
Most people didn’t expect Capua to go the corporate route after she received her master’s degree, Capua said. But she wanted to gain another viewpoint.
“It’s a good perspective to have,” Capua said. “Because any business, any industry you’re in is about people, and it’s about relationships and it’s about building upon your past experiences.”
Capua said she hopes to use her unique perspective to help students find the path for their future.
“Because I have that experience outside of higher education, I can help better, maybe steer them, direct them, guide them to what that life outside of higher education looks like,” Capua said. “I can build upon that experience, just to give a different perspective.”
Helping students to reach their potential is something Capua feels strongly about, she said. Capua said she wants to help them “get closer to where they need to be, and where they want to be personally, spiritually, professionally—all of the above.”
“I feel like that’s our role in student affairs and student development: to help students get closer to their goals and their dreams,” Capua said.
Capua said she believes in the power of conversation. It’s a part of why she loves her career.
“I think that the power of conversation is so intentional; it’s so purposeful,” Capua said. “My reason for doing this particular job is for that one conversation; it’s to show, even if it’s one student, that there’s so much more than worrying about the small stuff.”
She said her belief is that you can’t plan for the unexpected and that it’s the little things in life that make life grand.
“That’s what I would say if I could share with students, or with anybody I interact with for that matter, is that we’re here for a particular reason,” Capua said. “Every step is ordered in the way that it should.”