Alumni Profile

Amanda Nickerson

A professional journey came unpredictably full circle for Texas Christian University administrator Amanda Nickerson, who has served as the university’s director of transfer admissions since 2009. The Fort Worth mother of five is particularly well-suited for her job. Nickerson was a former transfer student herself, transitioning to The University of Texas at Arlington in 1998 after a year’s worth of studies at the TCC South and Southeast campuses.

“I felt a little overwhelmed,” she recalled of that time. “On the other hand, I was excited because I had a taken a big step in achieving my goals,” she went on. “I think many transfer students feel the same way.”

In retrospect, the opportunity for Nickerson to lead the TCU transfer program seems fated. Her bachelor’s degree was in business information systems, but she developed a passion for education while working part-time as a substitute teacher. While finishing her master’s degree in education at TCU, Nickerson worked on campus as an institutional researcher, which often required her to analyze the university’s transfer student data. A chance encounter with the then-outgoing transfer admissions director led to the interview that landed Nickerson the job.

Like many students at two-year colleges, the lure of affordable tuition was a factor in Nickerson’s decision to attend TCC in the 90s. “For me, a two-year college was an obvious choice,” she recalled. “In my family, I was a first-generation college student and I also had a baby daughter while I was a student. I had received some scholarships, but they weren’t going to pay for the whole four years at a university.

“I realized I could save so much money and check off the same requirements at a two-year college,” she said. “For anyone in a similar situation, who wants to get a foot in the door and figure out how to manage college, I highly recommend a two-year program. You can save a lot of money and learn a lot about being a college student.”

In her current role, Nickerson leads a team of admission officers who approve the entrance of around 600 transfer students each year. “We usually have about 150 transfer students from TCC each fall and about 50 each spring. Plus, many of our other transfer students start at TCC and then move to another college before coming to TCU.”

“We have a lot of veterans coming in through the transfer program and I love working with them,” she added. “I end up working with TCC a lot in this regard because I frequently advise vets without a lot of college classwork to start at TCC before applying to TCU.”

Besides staffing admissions, Nickerson and her colleagues also engage heavily in recruitment efforts, staffing booths at college fairs, sponsoring counselor breakfast and student information sessions and meeting one-on-one with prospective students. Nickerson also manages the awarding of transfer student scholarships, such as TCU’s full-ride scholarship offered to top competitors of TCC’s annual Jim Bolen Math Competition. Nickerson views scholarship opportunities as a critical element that blends work at both two- and four-year institutions.

“If you can go to a two-year college, do well, then receive grants and scholarships for a lot of the tuition at the school you transfer to, you can end up only having to finance or pay for a very small portion of your total education,” she said. “Dual credit programs can also help knock off some expense and graduate faster or get a double major.”

One project that particularly excites Nickerson is the work of some of her former students on Advise TX, a “near peer” college counseling program that places recent college graduates on high school campuses to advise lower-income and first-generation future college students. “I’m most proud of students who had some kind of turnaround or had to overcome a big challenge,” she said.