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Students Who Transfer into Immaculata’s Fashion Program Thrive

Mannequin with dress

Choosing a college or university is a big decision, and sometimes students feel their choices could have been different and ultimately want to transfer to new institutions. Immaculata University has always been a great landing spot for students who want to transfer. In fact, for over a decade, Immaculata has averaged over 50 transfer students each year. With an overall retention rate for traditional undergraduate students at 85.4%, most students find their “forever school” at Immaculata.

Alexis Lessley ’21 was a transfer student who came to Immaculata after her sophomore year at a larger local university. During her first year as a fashion merchandising major at Immaculata, she commented that she had learned more in one semester than she did in her first two years at her original university.

“Transferring to Immaculata my junior year was the best decision I could have made for my future,” Lessley stated. “At Immaculata, I was exposed to a variety of different courses that provided me with a great education in not only the design aspect of the fashion industry, but also the business side.” After graduating, Lessley was hired as an assistant buyer for a major fashion retailer.

The faculty members of Immaculata’s Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising program are dedicated to helping transfer students acclimate to the University. Lina Castro, director of the Fashion Merchandising program, understands that academic advising is key for transfer students. She meets with each new student to go over every class, credit and requirement needed to complete their bachelor’s degree.

“The time spent is crucial because it helps transfer students graduate on time–keeping them on track with their original graduation goals,” Castro noted. Beyond advising, Castro also ensures that her new students feel welcome and are getting the personalized attention that is a hallmark of an Immaculata education.

Similarly, it didn’t take Alison Furman ’24 long before she realized that she didn’t want to major in education at another local institution. When she began to consider attending another college, she discovered Immaculata’s fashion program and transferred before beginning her second semester of her freshman year.

“I had never considered doing anything in the fashion industry in the past. It was something I was interested in, but I never considered majoring in it,” she admitted. “I ended up loving it,” she stated.

Her first fashion class was Product Development, taught by Castro. Although the lessons and assignments in fashion were new to her, Castro supported her throughout the transition to Immaculata and the fashion program. “The material was really interesting to me. It was probably one of the first classes that I took that didn’t really feel like a class; it was actually fun.”

Excelling in her classes and making friends on campus, Furman found the right fit. She was inducted into the Kappa Omicron Nu national honor society and next year, she will serve as the president of Immaculata’s Fashion Group. She also added three minors to complement her fashion major: Pre-law, Legal Studies and International Business.

For Furman, the student-faculty ratio of 10:1 is one of her favorite aspects of attending Immaculata because she receives a more personalized education.

“We have really good resources here for transfer students, so you never really feel like you’re lost in the mix,” Furman said. “All the teachers are going to know who you are, which I absolutely love. The teachers want you to succeed.”

In her first year at Immaculata, she has already succeeded. For example, her assignment for her visual merchandising class was to create a sustainable product using anything but fabric. She ended up designing a dress made from playing cards that she folded to replicate a skirt. To her surprise, she won first place among her classmates for her Queen of Hearts dress.

Castro recognizes the importance of gaining experience through Internships, so for Furman’s Fashion Marketing class, she gained practical experience by helping to organize the annual Immaculata Fashion Show. She also completed two other internships at local clothing boutiques in addition to continuing her work for a local law firm where she had been an intern during her junior year.

Although she is unsure of her career path, Furman plans to attend law school after graduating with a fashion merchandising degree. Castro helped advise Furman on how she could combine her fashion and law degrees into an interesting career.

“There is a whole area of law for the fashion industry…fashion companies all need attorneys, and they prefer people who have a background in fashion,” she added.

For Furman and Lessley, transferring to Immaculata was a great decision. To find more information about transferring to Immaculata or about the fashion merchandising program, email the admissions office at admiss@immaculata.edu.


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