Transfer students struggle with difficulties achieving higher education, whether it be due to socioeconomic status, learning disabilities or other factors, in addition to being overlooked by four-year universities who regularly prioritize first-year students. However, recently these four-year universities have changed their misguided priorities by beginning to give equal opportunity to transfer students.
According to the New York Times, the University of California system has accepted more transfer students than they ever have in the past and rightfully so due to the 38 percent of transfer students in the entire four-year university community in the United States.
While these university systems promise a better and easier transition for transfer students, the question at hand is, why was this not implemented before?
In the California State University system, 53,000 transfer students are currently enrolled in one of their schools and according to their website, they plan to raise the transfer rate to 85 percent by 2025.
A common misconception made by non-transfer students is that transfer students have it “easier” when it comes to academics. Some have conflated community college to high school, which is clearly inaccurate. Community college courses are the same as a course in a four-year university but for a fraction of the cost. It’s a less expensive way to test out the waters, especially for someone who is undecided on their major. For many high school students, the transition from high school to a four-year university is unattainable which is why many choose that route. Considering this is very common, transfer students are essential to academia and the four-year university community.
Additionally, undergraduate enrollment is decreasing and has been for the past 6 years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, which could possibly be due to the rise in university tuition. Therefore, transfer students are important to prioritize in the undergraduate acceptance process because they can bring in a big chunk of revenue in for the universities.
Here at Pasadena City College, we have a transfer-out rate of 7% (as of 2016), that could be partly due to the difficulties surrounding transfering. However, the resources are there.
Fortunately, PCC provides resources for students who are planning to transfer to a four-year university. The transfer center offers transfer advisors, university representatives, application workshops and essay reviews making the process easier and more accessible.
With over 2 million students enrolled in community college in California alone, transfer students should begin to be taken seriously and become prioritized by the four-year university system as well as be given more accessible resources such as the ones given at PCC.