Advice to prospective transfer students

Jeffrey Joh/File
Jeffrey Joh/File

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After gleefully dancing over the positive results of your transfer admission decision, you might be wondering what exactly UC Berkeley has in store for you over the course of the next year. Your copious all-nighters and writing never-ending essays have paid off as you finally start the beginning stages of the transfer process. Although community college has been a blast, you can’t wait to see how a four-year institution like UC Berkeley will mold you into a better version of your current self. You’ve wondered and daydreamed about what it will be like to walk among your (now) fellow Golden Bears on campus … and the best part? That day is fast-approaching. Before you know it, the summer will have passed by in a blur, you will have attended your CalSo orientation and will be on your two-year adventure to graduation.

Transfer students’ experiences differ greatly from that of freshman admits, and the Clog has some advice for prospective “juniors who feel like freshmen” that will help the transition process run smoothly.

1. Though you’ve achieved one of the greatest feats in your academic career, you still have to pass all your remaining classes at community college. Don’t be one of those students who give up so close to the finish line just because you’ve already been admitted.

2. Sign up for CalSo as soon as possible, and read your conditions of admission carefully. As a matter of fact, print it out and make sure to send in all necessary documents, such as transcripts and certifications for your Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum as early as possible. There’s nothing more stressful than being told that you’ll have to wait weeks before the admissions office can remove a registration block because you forgot to send in a document.

3. CalSo will probably be the first time you’ll see transfer students like yourself in huge numbers. Get to know the people in your group who are declaring the same major as you so that you can potentially have a friendly face in your classes in the fall. Venture out and meet other transfer students not in your major as well — everyone is a bit nervous and wants to make lots of new friends, just like you.

4. Have an idea of what classes you’ll need to take, so you can be as prepared as possible for when you sign up for your first 10.5 units of Phase I registration. This is important if you still have major requirements you need to fulfill to declare your major later in the year.

5. Be prepared to take pictures for your Cal 1 Card at the end of orientation when you’re sweaty and gross. Remember, this picture and card will define you for the next two years.

6. Join the transfer page on Facebook, and talk to people on there. It might seem weird at first, but the more people you talk to, the more people you’ll already know when you arrive on campus.

7. Explore all the different transfer student services UC Berkeley has to offer, such as workshops, problem-solving assistance, and social events and activities. You can even take a 1 unit transition course that acquaints you with the campus or enroll in a buddy system program for transfer students in the same major as you.

8. Check out the Transfer, Re-entry and Student Parent Center on campus, where you can meet, socialize and study with other transfer students.

9. The first couple of weeks will be hectic and filled with so many events. Try to attend most of them, and definitely try to attend the ones intended especially for transfers.

10. Be open to the many clubs and organizations on campus, and narrow down your interests. Try to attend the first meetings to all the ones you’re interested in, and see where that leads you. Clubs and organizations are the fastest way to meet other students on campus with similar interests.

11. Find out if your major has Berkeley Connect, a one-unit program that pairs undergraduate students with graduate student mentors. You get individual advising as well as a twice-a-month meeting with a small group of your peers for engaging discussions regarding your major. You can even sign up to be a part of a small group that mainly consists of just first-year transfer students.

12. Don’t pile too much on your plate your first semester. Take it easy, and use it as a transitional period to get acquainted with everything Berkeley. Be realistic about how many units you can take without getting overwhelmed, and remember that the course load at UC Berkeley differs from what you’re used to in community college.

13. Try to decide early on if you want to take on a double major or minor or study abroad. Transfer students don’t have much time to lose, so it’s always great to find out what prerequisites you need to take and find out whether you have time in your schedule for them to still graduate on time.

14. Declare your major as soon as you have fulfilled the major requirements to declare. It might seem daunting at first but will literally take five minutes of your time.

14. Many first-year transfer students choose to live in the dorms to get a sense of that dorm life experience they never had in community college. Wada, an apartment-style residence hall, houses mostly transfer students and upperclassmen, and students don’t have to share bathrooms and common rooms with their floormates like those in freshman dorms do. A kitchen and living room is included as well, which means you don’t have to purchase a meal plan. Attend some of the transfer events the units have to meet people in your building and on your floor.

15. Explore the campus, and try to attend as many essential UC Berkeley events as possible, because you only have two years here. In the first year, everything is a new and exciting experience, while in the second year, everything will be the last time you get to enjoy something as an undergraduate.

As a transfer student, you don’t have much time to waste and should use that as an incentive to try and experience new things outside your comfort zone.

Contact Soyolmaa Lkhagvadorj at [email protected].

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