Transfer student shares encouraging words for nontraditional students

Shari Burnett's journey from Eastern Arizona College to ASU at The Gila Valley

Portrait of Eastern Arizona College transfer student Shari Burnett.

Returning to school at the age of 46, nontraditional transfer student Shari Burnett encourages anyone who is interested in continuing their academic journey to find the courage and “go for it.”

First returning to school to complete her associate of arts degree in 2020 at Eastern Arizona College, Burnett continued pursuing her bachelor's degree at Eastern Arizona College through Arizona State University’s ASU at The Gila Valley’s off-site location.

Studying organizational leadership in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, Burnett relays her initial feelings of trepidation and fear, which turned into an absolutely positive and enjoyable experience.

“Let me tell you, I was scared to death to go back to school! In fact, I was terrified that I couldn't learn anymore and that I would fail. But it has turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life,” she said.

Here, Burnett shares some tips and advice that made her transition to ASU easier, and offers advice as a recent graduate with her bachelor’s degree.

Question: What are some insights you have for transfer students transitioning into ASU?

Answer: One thing that really helped, because I'm on a satellite campus, was getting very familiar with the online resources that ASU offers. They have wonderful access to an incredible library that works for any classes that you are taking. Getting comfortable with using that library, searching it and getting it all set up to use really has helped my experience.

Also, following the path that is outlined for my degree was very helpful, especially in college. Starting early to find out what courses were needed, and having that mapped out pretty precisely for my degree, meant that I spent time doing courses that mattered and would transfer, and I didn't waste money on things that didn't apply to my degree.

I would also encourage you to get familiar with your academic adviser, emailing and using the advising services, and the job-seeking services online are wonderful. I've created my job-seeking account and am enjoying getting interesting updates on internships and positions that are available as I look forward to starting my career.

Q: Any advice for someone who might be thinking about returning to college to complete a degree?

A: I would encourage anybody that is thinking about going back to school or is nervous about transferring to a university from a small college to go for it. You do not know what you can do until you try, and the teachers are there to help you, and the counselors are there to help you, and you will find that it is a highlight of your life.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: Ultimately, I would love to work in human resources, where my interest lies. I have a passion for helping people and organizations reach their potential and goals. I currently work full time at Big 5 Sporting Goods as the assistant store manager and also interned at Eastern Arizona College in the research department.

More Sun Devil community


People sit at desks full of several monitors displaying footage of activity taking place around a college campus.

Real Time Analysis Center enhances protection of community, resources

It’s a nightmare scenario: A report of an active shooter at a building on a bustling university campus.But instead of panic, the…

ASU swimmer Ilya Kharun swimming in a pool.

From the high wire to the pool

Arizona State University swimming and diving coach Herbie Behm didn’t truly know how well-known Ilya Kharun’s family is until he…

Sun Devils mingle around a table at the ASU Alumni Association's 2023 Young Alumni summer mixer.

ASU Alumni Association ranks as No. 1 largest Phoenix-area networking association

With more than 640,000 members, the ASU Alumni Association was recently ranked the No. 1 largest Phoenix-area networking…