Choosing where to go to college is one of the more important decisions a young person can make. But it isn’t always a decision that happens only once. For any variety of reasons, the first college you choose may not be the one you graduate from. In those cases, having confidence in the transfer process is key.
As a secondary school student in Ghana, Pagnaa Attah Nantogmah began to look at colleges in the United States and chose one that many alumni from her school had attended. But when she got there, she found that it wasn’t for her.
“It’s a very good school, but I wasn’t finding myself fitting into the community easily,” Nantogmah recalls. “I have family and friends on the east coast, and some friends who had specifically come to Drexel, so I started looking into it.”
Nantogmah says that Drexel’s reputation for experiential learning is what ultimately tipped the scales for her.
“I knew I wanted to study chemical engineering, and that’s a field where hands-on experience is really important,” she says. “With Drexel’s program, I knew that it would be incorporated into my studies and my co-ops, so that was a big factor for me.”
Because she was switching majors from chemistry to chemical engineering, Nantogmah had to catch up on several core engineering courses. But she says that the process was anything but daunting.
“Drexel made transferring easy and transparent,” she says. “I knew which of my math and technology and general education courses carried over, and which classes I needed to take to get on board with engineering.”
Nantogmah transferred at the beginning of her pre-junior year, when many students are out on co-op. She says that the chance to work at a company that did chemical engineering helped her familiarize herself with the major themes of the field.
“This past summer, I worked as a materials and process engineer at Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, a science-based toy company,” she says. “I was responsible for production process improvement initiatives, so I did some lab scale tests to develop new colors for their ‘play’ doughs to see if they’d stand up to heat and age. It was really interesting to see the kinds of jobs that chemical engineers can do.”
More than anything, Nantogmah is grateful that she found the community she was looking for in Philadelphia.
“There’s so much to do here, and I never feel alone, because Philadelphia has a large and very diverse community,” she says. “I’m always able to find places or communities to fit inside whenever I need to.”