Which classes should he take at his community college?
How many credit hours could he transfer?
Which major should he choose at Missouri State? How would he fit in?
“Being a transfer student can be intimidating,” Rexroad said. “There’s so much you don’t know at first.”
Through resources and helpful people at Missouri State, Rexroad found the answers he needed.
Shaping his path to Missouri State
As a high school student, Rexroad visited Missouri State in person.
He was sold.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this campus looks amazing and the people here are so welcoming,’” Rexroad said. “I felt it was a place I could be at.”
After graduating high school, Rexroad attended Metropolitan Community College-Longview in Kansas City for a year.
Working with his advisor at Longview and David Johnson, academic advisor and retention specialist in the McQueary College of Health and Human Services, Rexroad developed a plan.
“Before I even got done at Longview, I came to Missouri State and met (David),” Rexroad said. “He goes, ‘Okay, here’s what you need to go do at Longview before you come here, to make sure everything transfers.’”
“When I transferred here, there were no concerns about my courses fitting.”
Rexroad transferred 30 credit hours – one year’s worth of classes – to MSU.
“MSU had really good equivalencies and transfer (power),” Rexroad said. “You knew that your credits would transfer and would actually apply to the classes you needed them to, which is great for transfer students.
“There wasn’t a problem bringing any of that credit down here.”
‘If you love science, it’s the best major possible’
Rexroad, who will graduate after the spring 2022 semester, wants to become a genetic counselor.
“It’s a one-on-one clinical experience where you talk to people about their risk for genetic diseases, like cancer,” Rexroad said. “You figure out what their genes are and try to figure out if there’s something they have that’s (abnormal).”
Genetic counseling requires you to have a master’s degree.
To earn a master’s degree, Rexroad first needed a bachelor’s degree (major) that had a strong base in science.
“When I met with David Johnson, we looked over prerequisites for genetic counseling programs and he said, ‘You would fit really well as a cell and molecular biology (CMB) major,’” Rexroad said.
For most students, the CMB major is a “stepping stone” toward medical school or other professional health care programs (like genetic counseling).
“You get this holistic view of science itself. If you’re someone who has a love for science, it’s the best major possible,” he said. “With how heavy the course load is in your undergrad, whenever you go to graduate or medical programs, it’s like nothing changed. You’ve already worked so hard for four years.”
Rexroad loves everything about his major.
He’s learned so much in classes like BMS 231 (Human Genetics), BMS 307 (Human Anatomy) and BMS 521 (Molecular Cell Biology).
“My courses are not only enjoyable, but the amount of I’ve application I’ve gotten from them has been outstanding.”
In BMS 490 (Peer Instruction in Biomedical Sciences), Rexroad assisted with a lab class and even got to teach it on occasion.
Rexroad even job shadows under Robin Troxell, a current genetic counselor at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
“I get to sit in with Robin and she does most of the talking with the patient,” Rexroad said. “We talk about their family history and potential risks for diseases and mutations.”
Advice for transfer students
Ask Rexroad for advice or support and he’ll do everything he can to help.
It’s one reason why he became a peer counselor.
Rexroad shared three keys to success for transfer students.
- Don’t be nervous: “There’s still this huge stigma where community college is easier than a university and you’re going to struggle so much more. Don’t be nervous. You should be comfortable with what you’ve learned so far.”
- Get to know people: “You hear students say, ‘I had this tight-knit group of friends at my community college and I was able to talk to my professors so much. You can do the same things here. You can walk to (your professors’) office and they’ll talk with you, whether it’s school related or not.”
- Integrate yourself: “Wherever you go, you can always make an impact and be part of something. That takes stepping out of your comfort zone and figuring out what you want to do.”
He added: “Don’t come to MSU and think you’re just a student. You can do a lot more.”