Fifty-four transfer students, out of an applicant pool of 416, enrolled at the University of Richmond during 2010, Gil Villanueva, assistant vice president and dean of admission, said.

Applications were up 9 percent as compared to 2009, while enrollment decreased by 21 percent.

The transfer acceptance rates for 2008, 2009 and 2010 were 43 percent, 34 percent and 30 percent respectively, and students hailed from Ivy League institutions, such as Dartmouth College, state universities, such as the University of Virginia and Virginia community colleges, such as John Tyler Community College.

Villanueva, however, said that the Office of Admissions did not have statistics on students who transferred out.

Ben Cavin, an incoming transfer student and biology major from Virginia Tech, said that Richmond's pre-med program was "better."

"It's much more personal here, and much more hands-on," said Cavin, whose grandmother attended and met her husband at Westhampton College in the 1940s. "At my old school, it was one guy who had a thousand students and worked part time.

"Here I have never been deferred to the website," he said.

He said that he felt much happier at Richmond, because "socially ... the mind process of an engineer is different from that of a person interested in biology."

Of Virginia Tech, Cavin said he missed his best friend, the school spirit that he thought surpassed Richmond's and dining locations that stayed open until 2 a.m.

He did not, however, miss his old college town of Blacksburg, Va.

"In Blacksburg, it's cows, cows and more cows," Cavin, who volunteers as an emergency medical technician, said. "There was very little opportunity to get off campus and be involved in things."

Ashley Overholser, a transfer from Randolph-Macon College, lauded the abundance of volunteering opportunities at Richmond.

"At the Immigration and Refugee Coalition, I had an incredible time teaching to a couple from Egypt, a couple from Brazil and an Afghan woman," Overholser, a peace and conflict resolution studies major, said.

Though she acknowledged that her first semester at Richmond was difficult, she said she felt happier here.

"[At Randolph-Macon], it was really hard to make friends because there wasn't a lot to relate to. A lot of them ... kind of the Southern rich kid thing, and everyone was in a sorority or fraternity. It was a really big party school and I didn't fit into that. I had an incredible roommate. Without her, I wouldn't have gone past the first month. We were both freshmen, and we were both Latina."

At Richmond, Overholser also participates in class cabinet and a student-led ballroom dance club named Eight Left Feet.

Another transfer, Jigna Solanki, said she retained cherished memories of her dance team from Drexel University.

"I still find ways to go to competitions," she said. "I don't ever feel like I missed out on anything by transferring here."

Solanki, a biology major, described Richmond's pre-med department as "really prominent," and said, "I love Gottwald and the amount of money, and work, and personalized attention they put into every student."

Before transferring, Solanki said that she had read all "the stereotypes about Richmond ... the J.Crew stereotypes and what not.

"But I was surprised that you can definitely live your life outside of that here," she said. "None of my friends fit that stereotype, and whenever we go downtown and people are like, 'Oh, you're from Richmond,' and we're like, 'We're not "that," we're not what you think we are.'

"I was able to find such a good niche."

This version CORRECTS the name of the ballroom dance club to "Eight Left Feet," instead of "Two Left Feet."

Contact staff writer Tanveer Ahmed at