Nontraditional transfer student fell in love with UC

Political science graduate now has law school on his radar

In spring 2020 Richard Vaglienti graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, but it wasn’t a straight shot from high school diploma to bachelor’s degree for this native of West Virginia. 

Vaglienti, who graduated from high school in Morgantown, West Virginia, in 2009, says his first choice for college was to attend the University of Cincinnati and major in political science. But the high school senior was presented an offer he couldn’t turn down: a full scholarship to the state school of his choice, a state-sponsored benefit for West Virginia residents with a 3.5 GPA. Vaglienti stayed close to home and attended West Virginia University in Morgantown, where he earned 90 credits toward a political science major before deciding to take a break and enter the workforce.

He liked his jobs, in retail management and industrial equipment sales, he says, but the pursuit of a degree from UC was still on his mind.

“Those jobs allowed me to save some money, so I contacted the UC transfer office,” and by spring 2019 he was taking online courses to begin to fulfill the credits needed to earn his degree.

head shot of Richard Vaglienti on his front porch in Cincinnati. Vaglienti is wearing a Bearcat t-shirt.

Richard Vaglienti, a transfer student, is a 2020 graduate in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences. Photo/provided

Based on his experience as a transfer student, he says there was never a point where he was trying to figure it out on his own. “There was always someone to talk to me and tell me what I needed to do and what my options were,” he says. “They really understand the challenges of being a transfer student here,” adding, “They have a system of working with the students, so you’re not just a free agent.”

Vaglienti moved to Cincinnati in fall 2019 to finish the on-campus required coursework and says he knew immediately he made the right decision. His first semester on campus: “I found two or three professors in the political science department that I really liked and took multiple classes with them because I liked the classes and the way they were set up,” he says. 

While Vaglienti wasn’t in need of a social support system — he wasn’t fresh out of high school anymore and had hometown friends attending UC — he says the transfer office kept up with him and kept him informed of activities and social groups that might benefit a transfer student. Another benefit that he says he didn’t see coming was how much he enjoyed the Italian courses he took with Joyce Miller, an assistant professor in the Department of Romance and Arabic Languages and Literatures.

“The professors that I had here were probably the most positive experience I had at UC. Anywhere I went there were people I could count on to help me out.”

Vaglienti is currently preparing to take the Law School Admission Test and plans to apply to several law schools, including UC’s College of Law.

“I’ve loved Cincinnati in my time here. I can see myself living here for a long time.”

Featured image at top: Black and white headshot of Richard Vaglienti. Photo/Kelly/UC Creative + Brand

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