Huixingzi Tang / Courier Transfer Center in L building in PCC on September 13, 2017. A place to meet students who need help of transfering.
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We are currently in the season where students are finishing up their final set of classes in preparation to transfer to a four-year university. There’s some things students may have to do before they actually get to transfer, like filling out school applications, meeting up with counselors to make sure their academic record is on track, and so forth. Yet, there are some students who are possibly lost in the process and may not have figured out what is the next step once they’re close to finishing their time here in Pasadena.

Take for instance Michael Ye, who’s looking for answers on what to do during the transfer process. His goal is to transfer to CSUN by Fall 2018. There’s also Valerie Jimenez, who’s a sociology major that’s planning to transfer to CSULA next year, who had application-related questions.

“I don’t know how to send the applications or what I’m supposed to write,” Ye said. “But I know the requirements to transfer and I’m fulfilling that.”

Jimenez has also been having some difficulty.

“I had trouble with my application, and I didn’t know who to ask [for help], so my counselor told me to go to the transfer center,” Jimenez said. “They’ve helped me with my application.”

Tameka Alexander, the director of the Transfer Center, says that the common issues with students who are in the process of trying to transfer is that they need assistance with the transfer process. Other issues include the initial steps to take to transfer.

“Students have not completed the university requirements for admissions,” Alexander said in an email. “Often times they have not completed a college level math course.”

For every student that is thinking about transferring onto a four-year university, it’s strongly suggested that students make a number of stops to the Transfer Center during their time at PCC. Located in L110, the center is a one-stop shop for most transfer needs. The center offers a number of ways to help students get to where they need to go. They offer student workshops. The advisors offers ‘transfer checks’- where the transfer team can help determine whether or not the student is transfer-ready. Students could also have their essays for admission reviewed on Saturdays by a Cal State University (CSU) or a University of California (UC) employee before they submit it. The center also helps coordinate university campus tours.

In addition, Cynthia Olivo, the Student Services VP, says that in terms of the number of students transferring,  PCC is number one in Southern California, while the school is tied with Moorpark College in the entire state, transferring 800 students. De Anza College in Cupertino, CA, takes first place in the state with 824 students transferring out of the school. Despite the work the school has made happen to be in first place, she feels PCC should be number one in the state and the school could always do better.

“Imagine if we helped 825 students we’d be number because De Anza had 824. For me, I want to help more students; this is my vocation in life,” Olivo said. “I want to help more than 800 students and I think all of us want more than 800 students to transfer; it does drive us to make sure we’re always striving for more.”

Students who want to attend any of the CSU and UC schools should be applying now. The deadline for both universities is November 30, but schools may stop accepting applications early. Students should keep checking in with either the university’s admissions office, or here at the transfer center for updates constantly.

If your application gets denied by a university, Olivo says don’t take that as it being final. According to her, the counselors also help with submitting appeals to the desired university. The counselors have connections with those who could assist in the appeals process at the university, and try to get the student’s foot in the door.

“Our job doesn’t end November 30th or when the private university applications are due in spring … we support students through the whole process,” Olivo said. “I’ve personally been involved in many appeals for admission to universities and students win their appeals and get admitted [into their desired school].”

The transfer center even encourages students to consider applying for Ivy League schools. The workshops for those schools will be held this December and January 2018. According to Olivo, PCC has increased transfers to the Ivy League university system by 300%. One of those students who transferred recently was former Student Trustee Nune Garipian, who’s currently at Yale. Garipian was set on going to USC, but she was met with a surprise email from the Ivy League university at the last minute.

“I was asked how many of our students have gone to Yale, and so I asked the research department to produce a report … they pulled our data for all of the Ivy League universities in the United States,” Olivo said. “In the past 5 years we’ve had 65 students transfer to the (Ivy League) universities… we’re doing a really great job.”

Back in late September, students participated in University Day. Over 100 reps from various schools attended to answer student’s questions and to give them advice on how to prepare to transfer. According to Alexander, close to 2,500 students participated in asking transfer-related questions, making appointments to talk to counselors, and finding more information about their school of choice.

“Imagine if we could get all 2000 students to transfer,” Olivo said. “Then we blow everyone in the state out of the water.”

Although PCC has one of the busiest transfer centers in California, there are administrative issues that the center is dealing with. For example, they had to turn down a number of students while workshops were being coordinated because the space in the office was beyond full.  The department could also use some more transfer advisors.

“During the month of September, the center had 2,558 students come in to get assistance,” Alexander said. “But with one transfer advisor per day with University Reps, the staff is limited in the number of students that they could serve per day.”

After getting her questions answered, Jimenez walked away from the center pleased.

“When you come in they ask you questions… they’re really friendly,” Jimenez said. “They know when you need help; you’re looking around and there they are (ready) to help you.”

So, with PCC’s transfer system being one of the busiest in the state, being ranked number one in Southern California with 800 students transferring, is there anything that we need to improve on? Olivo believes so.

“Let’s have more than 800 (students) transfer to Cal State,” Olivo said. “Let’s have more students transfer to UC and (other) private universities.”

Alexander has one word of advice to all the students who still have questions about the transfer process.

“Please make sure you get your transfer advice from a counselor, a transfer advisor, or a university rep ONLY,” Alexander said. “If students get advice from those not listed above, they run the risk of receiving misinformation that could affect their admission decision.”

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