Transfer students find academic, spiritual opportunities at BYU

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Cameron Page is preparing for his senior year at BYU after transferring in 2016. (Kylee Lapeyrouse)

Cameron Page began his college career as a Wolverine but intends to finish it as a Cougar. Page transferred from UVU in 2016 and came to BYU looking for a high quality education backed with religious teachings.

According to BYU’s enrollment website, BYU accepted 55.2 percent of transfer student applicants in 2018. Applications should demonstrate preparation in four different areas: spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building and lifelong learning and service, the website reads.

After being rejected from BYU, Page said it was down to choosing between BYU—Hawaii and UVU. Page said he started at UVU after having a strong feeling he needed to be in Utah.

“Turning down BYU—Hawaii was such a hard decision, but I met my best friends freshman year, which wouldn’t have been possible without first going to UVU and living in Provo,” Page said.

Page was accepted to BYU while on his mission in Brazil, and he began attending Fall 2016. Page said studying at BYU should serve as a reminder for everyone that, though challenging, a BYU education is about more than accomplishments and grade point averages.

I’m very open and honest about my academic success because people need to be aware that not everyone is making straight A’s, and that’s OK as long as they’re trying their best,” Page said.

Like Page, BYU student Mariah Lybbert originally began her college career on a different campus. Lybbert started at Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Arizona before transferring to BYU in 2015. Lybbert said one benefit of starting at Chandler-Gilbert Community College was the fact that she was able to live at home and complete her general education for free because of a scholarship. However, Lybbert said she knew she wanted to come to BYU.

BYU offered a lot compared to (Chandler-Gilbert Community College). There are tons of classes here with the option of getting degrees in various studies,” Lybbert said. 

BYU differs from other universities because it combines academics with spiritual learning. Though BYU students are required to complete credit hours of “cornerstone” religion courses, BYU’s enrollment website states the “founding charge is to teach every subject with the Spirit.”

Page said the most important thing BYU offers that UVU does not is religion courses.

“Being able to incorporate my spiritual growth alongside my studies has been a huge blessing,” Page said.

Lybbert said nobody really liked members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at her old school and being at BYU gives her the chance to express her beliefs while also incorporating them into her education.

“I love how my environment has similar beliefs and standards as I do, and that I don’t get ridiculed for my religion like at my previous school,” Lybbert said. 

Amid the pros of coming to BYU, transfer students find cons, too. Both Page and Lybbert said a con they each encountered at BYU was the culture shock.

“I love BYU, but I wish the high standard, perfectionist culture wasn’t so extreme,” Lybbert said. “Suddenly, people made me feel as if I wasn’t a faithful enough member of the LDS Church, even though I was doing my best.”

Lybbert said a big challenge she has encountered is people judging her for not serving a mission, even though she was not able to do so due to medical reasons.

“It was hard not being able to go on a mission. But now people look down on me for not serving, even though they don’t know why, which really makes me depressed,” Lybbert said. 

Like Lybbert, Page said he also noticed cultural differences when he came to BYU. Page said he noticed students were quick to talk about their accomplishments and good grades, which caused him to constantly compare himself to others during his first two years.

“So many students say things like, ‘Oh, that test was so easy,’ or, ‘That class was so easy to get an A,’ when I may be working really hard to get B’s or even C’s in the class or on tests,” Page said. “It was really stressful not feeling like I fit in and constantly feeling the weight of a competitive environment.”

Despite the difficulties, Page said there are definitely more pros than cons when transferring to BYU, especially because of professors and academics.

The professors at BYU are so qualified and the university itself is nationally well-recognized,” Page said. “I think coming to BYU was one of the best things I could do to help me grow personally, spiritually and further my future career goals.”

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