Santa Monica College transfer student overcomes hurdles to reach sports medicine path

Portrait of ASU transfer student Kyle Efole and student recruitment coordinator Sara Mcfarland.

Sara Mcfarland, student recruitment coordinator, assisted Kyle Efole, a transfer student from Santa Monica College, with securing housing, along with other members of the College of Health Solutions Student Success team.

National Transfer Student Week celebrates transfer students and the professionals who support them on their journeys. This week offers the perfect opportunity to build awareness of common transfer barriers and the diverse needs of students.

Kyle Efole, a junior majoring in sports science and performance programming, overcame various obstacles ranging from transferring coursework to housing as a transfer student in pursuit of his dream and passion for sports medicine.

Efole suffered "countless injuries,” including a torn meniscus and rib fracture, while playing sports growing up. As a result, he became intrigued by the recovery and rehabilitation processes, which inspired him to pursue sports science and performance programming at Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions.

“Everything from the sports medicine doctor diagnosing my injuries after looking at my MRI, to working out with the physical therapist to help rehabilitate my knee, all the way to relearning how to breathe and walk correctly was so intriguing,” Efole said. “I loved studying injuries and learning about how simple exercises that we typically ignore on a daily basis can actually strengthen us and potentially decrease the chances of getting injured in the near future.”

He aims to educate athletes about their injuries and encourage them to view physical rehabilitation as a positive experience.

"I want to be able to help future athletes who suffer from injuries and have them look at recovery as an interesting process rather than a grudge, and I know that College of Health Solutions will provide me the best opportunity to do so," Efole said. 

After graduating with an associate degree from Santa Monica College and getting admitted into ASU earlier this year, Efole’s main objectives were finding on-campus housing and transferring his course credits to get enrolled in fall classes.

“The initial issues that Kyle faced, like having questions about his coursework, transferring and figuring out which major is the best fit for him, are very common challenges for transfer students,” said Sara Mcfarland, a student recruitment coordinator on the College of Health Solutions Student Success team.

Mcfarland acts as a first point of contact for students like Efole in helping them understand how to transfer their course credits, what degrees are a good fit for them and what resources are available to them at ASU. 

Efole took advantage of tools like MyPath2ASU to make his transfer to the College of Health Solutions easier. The set of customized online tools showed him what coursework he could take at his community college and transfer for credit into his specific degree program at the College of Health Solutions. These tools not only ensure students a smooth transfer experience to ASU but can also shorten the time needed to complete their four-year degree and help minimize credit loss.

Transfer students can use MyPath2ASU tools to ease their transition

The MyPath2ASU partnership with Santa Monica College provides a seamless transfer experience for students starting their college journey at Santa Monica College (SMC). The agreement, forged by the ASU Academic Alliances team, encourages student progression toward degree achievement and their career goals. The partnership creates a joint transfer experience between SMC and ASU to assist with students’ mobility between institutions. MyPath2ASU includes over 400 courses by course pathways that provide course planning insights so students can be prepared for classes that are both transferable and applicable to their ASU bachelor’s degree.

“It is a fantastic way for students to save money and time because it takes the guesswork out of the transfer process,” Mcfarland said.

MyPath2ASU can be found under ASU’s Transfer Guide, which acts as a resource hub for students interested in knowing exactly how their course credits transfer to ASU, helping facilitate students in their transfer planning process.

Another challenge Efole faced was finding on-campus housing in time for the fall semester. When he was admitted to ASU in February, Efole was placed on the waitlist for Upper Division Housing on the Downtown Phoenix campus.

Efole believed that since he applied early, he wouldn’t have to wait too long. However, after five months, he was still on the waitlist as housing continued to rapidly fill up.

Mcfarland mentioned Efole’s situation to some of her co-workers on the College of Health Solutions Student Success team and asked for suggestions.

Kevin Morris, a student support specialist on the team, was able to help find housing for Efole.

“I reached out to a colleague from University Housing and asked if there was anything as a college we can do to help support the placement of Kyle in a Fusion on First housing unit,” Morris said. “Because of this valued partnership, University Housing was instrumental in placing Kyle almost immediately.” 

Mcfarland shared the news with Efole who was ecstatic to hear they found a place for him.

“There are literally not enough words that I could use to sum up how big Sara’s and Kevin’s roles were in helping me find a home,” Efole said. “If it wasn’t for Kevin’s and Sara’s assistance, I wouldn’t be at this school.”

Efole understands the challenges that transfer students face and shared some advice for others who want to transfer to ASU.

"My biggest piece of advice to anyone who is looking to transfer is focus on your journey. It is way too easy to compare your journey with someone else's journey and, quite frankly, that is the worst thing that one can do,” Efole said.

“With social media, it's very easy for one to become discouraged because they see their friends and family members having fun, but everyone's path is different. If you just keep your head down and put in the work, your time will come.”

Getting involved and invested for the future

After moving in and starting the semester, Efole could not wait to get involved on campus and is now in two student-led organizations — the Sports Medical Society and Black Student Union. He also plans to participate in intramural coed basketball and apply for a job at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex.

ASU transfer student Kyle Efole

Efole is motivated to make the most of his time here at ASU and not take any moment for granted. 

"Due to the pandemic, I've been unable to have an actual college experience such as going to games, making personal connections, attend social gatherings; so me being able to go back on campus gives me a second opportunity to make up for the time that I had lost while being online," Efole said.

After he graduates with a degree in sports science and performance programming, Efole said he plans on earning a master’s degree in sports science while minoring in sports psychology.

“My ultimate goal would be to become a professional sports medicine physician — whether that's for a professional or collegiate team — and at the same time, be a sports psychologist,” Efole said. “Treating people both on a psychological and physical aspect really intrigues me, so if my profession can center around doing both of these things, then it’ll be a dream come true.”

Story by Mindy Lok, digital content producer, College of Health Solutions

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