Matt Thrift

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University has an office designated for nontraditional students, in order to make their transition to college as seamless as possible.

The Military, Adult and Transfer Student (MATS) office was founded in August 2012 and works with students who have served in the armed forces, are over the age of 25 or have transferred from another college or university.

“Military, Adult and Transfer Services is designed to provide support and resources for any student who enters the university in a manner that isn’t straight out of high school,” said Katie Sardelli, director of MATS, who has been with the office since it was founded.

The MATS office pairs incoming nontraditional students with a peer mentor to help guide them after enrolling at Winthrop.

“We have a group of transfer orientation leaders and mentors, and they are current undergraduate students who are all military, adult and/or transfer students themselves,” Sardelli said.

“They work with students during orientation sessions and then during their first semester on campus to make sure that they’re getting adjusted through outreach.”

The mentors also help students adapt to Winthrop’s advising and registration system, said Sardelli.

However, Sarah Perkins, an integrated marketing communication major who describes herself as a post-traditional student, said her experience at Winthrop has been a “mixed bag” so far.

“I feel that while my student type (as a nontraditional student) might be a minority. There is little to no effort or attention given to making my type of student status seem valuable,” Perkins said.

She said she has had some interaction with the MATS office, but it wasn’t helpful.

“(I don’t) really feel like there was much that they had to offer that could benefit me in my current academic trajectory.”