Over winter break, students were faced with the decision to transfer or remain at Cabrini.
Many students are heavily involved on campus, through athletics, clubs, or other campus organizations and don’t want to abandon those commitments.
Dominic Petruzzelli, a sophomore math and secondary education major, transferred to Neumann University during winter break. Several important factors played into his decision to leave Cabrini. Petruzzelli said he wanted to continue playing soccer as he had at Cabrini, and also wanted a school similar in size and financial aid.
However, finding that school wasn’t easy. “When I was applying to schools, some of them weren’t taking my full financial aid package,” Petruzzelli said. “When I was looking I had 45 credits completed, and some schools would only take 30, which would be an entire semester lost.”
Petruzzelli looked to the four official partner schools, but none of them panned out either. “Gwynedd [Mercy University] doesn’t have a math major, so they were already out of the question. Holy Family is a Division II soccer school, but I wasn’t looking in the Division II realm,” Petruzzelli said. “So that left Eastern. I applied there, but they said I would have to stay at Cabrini for the entire year, and that they would only match tuition for a year. That led me to go search elsewhere.”
After facing setbacks at other schools, Petruzzelli finally settled on Neumann. “I knew Neumann was a very similar school to Cabrini,” he said. “They were able to give me a good credit evaluation and match my net costs. Playing against them four times, I knew some of the soccer guys, so I was able to make the connection.”
Being a student athlete was also a major factor. “I was in contact with [head men’s soccer coach Rob Dallas] over the summer. My full intent was to stay at Cabrini for the fall semester. I needed to say goodbye one last time,” Petruzzelli said. “After each game throughout the soccer season, I’d go up to the opposing coach and talk to them. Cabrini athletes could be in the transfer portal throughout the season and talk to coaches.”
On top of being an athlete at Cabrini, Petruzzelli was an NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative, vice president of Student Government Association, an admissions ambassador, and a tutor in the math center.
“I knew I would have to start over with some of the stuff,” Petruzzelli said. “I’ve already made connections with the Neumann campus SAAC. With non-athletic things, I had to go back to square one.”
Logan DeConti, a junior education major, chose to stay at Cabrini for the spring semester. The motivation behind his decision was mostly academic. “I felt as though staying at Cabrini would allow me to reach academic goals I may need to go to my next school,” he said. “A question I asked myself was, ‘How am I going to do if I leave and go to a brand new school with only a month in between?’”
DeConti said there were no schools he considered transferring to, and that he made his decision early on.
DeConti also said the campus experience now is almost the same as it was in the fall. “Most of my friends transferred over the summer break, so I feel the same and have the same experience, except for my classes being even smaller.”
Many Cabrini students, not just seniors, chose to stay at the school for the final year. “I think familiarity is what brings people back here,” DeConti said. “There’s something comforting about knowing people and schedules.”
Petruzzelli shared that sentiment. “I was talking to Coach Dallas and he asked ‘What are you going to miss about Cabrini?’ The simple answer is everything. You’re going to miss walking down the paths and seeing people you know. Because we’re such a small community, you know everyone’s name,” Petruzzelli said. “Also, the support system between the professors, administrators, and the students. We created a family. I spoke to [associate director of athletics] Laura Patton and we said, ‘Nothing will ever compare to Cabrini.’”
“I think many students just like [Cabrini],” said Dr. Jim Hedtke, professor of history and political science. “They feel comfortable here, they feel safe here, their parents went here, they developed friendships here. I think students like, if not love, Cabrini and wanted to see it through for as long as they could.”
Jana Tidwell, an adjunct professor in Cabrini’s communications department, said, “I’m not surprised students want to be a part of Cabrini’s last semester. Cabrini is a place where learning transcends textbooks, experiences develop character, and relationships shape lives for the better. When Cabrini’s gates are closed, those relationships don’t go away. They are bonded for life. That’s what makes Cabrini so special.”
Though DeConti, much like everyone still on campus, tries to make the best of his situation, he admits it hasn’t been easy. “I just hope everyone has a great life after this year, no matter where they’re going or what they’re doing. They’ve been through a lot over the last four years and they deserve a lot of good things to come.”