Becoming a Golden Grizzly: Emma McWilliams details her transfer to OU

McWilliams+received+her+associate%E2%80%99s+degree+in+paralegal+studies+from+OCC+and+is+now+working+towards+getting+her+bachelor%E2%80%99s+degree+in+criminal+justice+at+OU.+She+plans+on+going+to+law+school+after+graduating.

Photo courtesy of Emma McWilliams.

McWilliams received her associate’s degree in paralegal studies from OCC and is now working towards getting her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at OU. She plans on going to law school after graduating.

Autumn Okuszka, Features Reporter

The Fall 2022 semester marked a new beginning for junior Emma McWilliams’s educational journey.

McWilliams is a transfer student from Oakland Community College (OCC), where nearly 50% of students who attend end up transferring to a four-year institution such as OU. OU welcomes more than 1,000 transfer students every year.

McWilliams’s experience at OCC wasn’t what a new college student would expect. She began her college career in January 2020, two months before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most of it was online,” McWilliams said. “March of 2020 came, and we went online. So a majority of [getting] my degree was doing Zoom classes. We kind of worked with what we had, but I liked it. For what it was, it was [a] pretty good [experience].”

McWilliams received her associate’s degree in paralegal studies from OCC and is now working towards getting her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at OU. She plans on going to law school after graduating.

“It was really easy to transfer,” she said. “I feel like [OU is] a really good foundation for law school.”

McWilliams’s primary reason for wanting to transfer to OU was because it was close to where she lives, making it easy for her to commute to the university. Nearly 87% of students choose to commute to OU rather than live on campus.

“It’s super close,” McWilliams said. “I live in Clarkson, [and] it was the best school for me to transfer to. [OU] took a lot of credits, and I initially thought about [OU] when I graduated high school, [but] I just kind of took a different path.”

Having been a virtual student for most of her college career, McWilliams likes that her time at OU feels more like the college experience she first expected as a freshman in 2020.

“I’m in [in-]person classes — I have bigger classes,” she said. “I have people who are a little bit closer [to me] in age, [people who are] a little bit more focused on the same goal. My classes are really major-specific, so we’re learning the same thing. We kind of, more or less, have the same end goal to get our bachelor’s, mainly [in] criminal justice. I like how focused it is on specifically my degree I’m getting.”

When McWilliams isn’t attending classes on campus, she is reading, listening to music or simply relaxing at home. She also works at a place where she can enjoy her favorite hobby — at the front desk of a tennis club.

“I’ve joined a few tennis classes since working there and met some great people who enjoy the sport as much as I do,” McWilliams said.

McWilliams is excited to attend OU for the next two years of her college career while finishing her bachelor’s degree. She looks forward to experiencing college now that her classes are in-person.

“I am looking forward to all [of] my in-person, major-specific classes,” she said.

OU was listed on Phi Theta Kappa’s 2022 Transfer Honor Roll for recognizing the needs of and properly supporting transfer students. For more information regarding the transfer process, click here.