President’s Message: The Truth About Transfers

During the summer prior to any given school year at Mater Dei High School we process a number of students who transfer into our school from other high schools for the upcoming school year. For the 2010-11 school we have processed over 60 incoming transfers. Contrary to urban legend, blogosphere gossip or internet myth, these transfers are not all athletes. As a matter of fact approximately 1/3 of the incoming transfer students have indicated that they will be participating in a sport (at any level) at MDHS.

In reality, the process for a potential student-athlete wishing to transfer to Mater Dei High School is probably as rigorous as that at any school in the CIF-SS. When I became Principal of MDHS in 1994, Mater Dei High School implemented the following transfer policy and practice for all potential transfers (a policy and practice that has continued after I moved into the President’s Office in 2002):

● The file of every potential student transfer is reviewed and analyzed by an Academic Counselor and the Assistant Principal for Academic Services and Admissions to determine whether the student is on track, with the prerequisite courses, to graduate from MDHS

● If the initial analysis indicates that the student is on track, then every potential transfer student whose paperwork is in order, is interviewed by an administrative panel (NO, there are no coaches on the panel). If, during the course of the interview, it is determined that the student is a potential student-athlete at MD, then the student and their parents are asked a series of questions pertaining to pre-enrollment contact, undue influence, ability to pay tuition, etc.

● For every student who indicates during the interview process that they are a potential student-athlete, a phone call is made from the MDHS Assistant Principal or Principal to the Principal of that student’s previous school. If the Principal or Athletic Administrator of the previous school provides Mater Dei High School with clear criteria as to why we should not accept that student then Mater Dei does not accept that student for admission.

You may be surprised to hear that, over the past 10 years, Mater Dei has denied admission to a number of “high profile” athletic transfers, transfers who have ended up playing against Mater Dei in either a pre-season or Trinity League game during that year.

At Mater Dei High School we welcome any and all students, who wish to attend our great school, to apply to MDHS. However, please know that each and every one of those prospective students, who currently attend another high school, will be required to go through same admissions transfer process and that no special treatment will be afforded to potential transfer student-athletes. That is the real truth about transfers at MDHS.

Patrick Murphy, President


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6 Responses to President’s Message: The Truth About Transfers

  1. KR131 says:

    How does a transfer student make up the Religion courses that all students are required to take? And if they are not expected to take those courses are they expected to take other courses in place of Religion classes?

    • pmurphy21 says:

      Dear KR131,

      Transfer students are “pro-rated” in terms of both service hour requirements and Religion course requirements ( unless they transfer in from another Catholic school ). For example, a sophomore transferring in to MDHS is required to complete 60 Christian service hours and 3 years of Religious Studies courses ( unless they transfer in from another Catholic school ). All transfer students must complete the full course load of required academic credits. Thank you for the great question.

      Patrick Murphy

      • michele says:

        how about those students who are transfers and who are leaving at semester to play with a college team….how do they fulfill their religion requirement to graduate.

      • pmurphy21 says:


        Any student petitioning to graduate early must complete all of their academic requirements for graduation ( including all Religion classes required ) prior to the date of their early graduation. Thank you for the question.

        Patrick Murphy
        President, MDHS

  2. Kerry Wurzelbacher says:

    Thank you for providing us all with this summary and the facts. I am constantly challenged by friends whose children attend CDM high school who assure me that Mater Dei recruits its athletes and its primary focus is on athletes over academics. Our family chose to send our daughter to Mater Dei for many reasons, none of them athletic related. It has been the best high school experience we could have wanted for our daughter.

  3. Sylvia Saliba says:

    Thank you Mr Patrick Murphy for this new protocol. This will benefit so many young future transfer students succeed tremendously. When a good protocol is adapted there is no room for mistakes. The main focus of the schools should be the well being of the student. I am happy to see that happening. It is sad to see how many good innocent kids are denied to do what they love to do because someone drop the ball. It is very, very sad to see them suffer. Unfortunately, for those students without luck we as united Catholics community have to pray for a fast healing in their hearts.
    Thank you and God bless,

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