UC Berkeley is expected to welcome 3,000 transfer students in the fall and spring — about 800 more than last year’s incoming class, according to campus projections based on preliminary enrollment data.
The new transfer students will arrive from a variety of backgrounds, the new data show. Approximately 26 percent of the transfer students enrolled this fall are underrepresented ethnic minorities and 29 percent are first-generation college students.
Hovanes Tonoyan, who is the first in his family to attend college, is one such student. The incoming junior transfer intends to major in political science and looks forward to bringing a different perspective to campus.
“Transfer students come from all walks of life, and their life experience is more varied and more diverse,” Tonoyan said.
Additionally, the class will have a vast age range with the youngest student at 15 years old and the oldest student at 74.
California residents comprise 83 percent of the incoming transfer class — about a three percent increase from last year. In December 2015, the transfer application deadline was extended by the UC system in order to give qualified California residents more time to prepare their applications.
Senior Juan Prieto, transfer retention coordinator at the RAZA Center, said now is the perfect time for this influx of transfer students. Prieto, who is a former The Daily Californian staff member, noted that the transfer center is just one of multiple communities of support for transfer students that offers mentorship programs and workshops specifically for transfers.
“There’s a lot of different spaces for transfer students to expand and enrich their experience here at Cal,” Prieto said.
Still, ASUC senator-elect Chris Yamas said junior transfers face many challenges when they arrive on campus.
Yamas, a transfer student himself, explained that transfer students are disadvantaged by many campus activities and organizations that cater toward freshman admits and invest more energy into recruiting first-years.
“Some of the biggest issues are when it comes to academic and social support,” Yamas said. “Transfer students struggle with making a fresh start while in the middle of rigorous junior coursework.”
Yamas is currently working to implement a leadership pathway program, projected to launch in fall 2017, to connect transfer students with leadership experience in organizations. In fall 2016, he said he plans to have about 25 junior transfers working on his staff.
Incoming junior transfer student Shirin Purkayastha — who will begin at UC Berkeley after two years at Berkeley Community College — said although she is excited by the level of challenge she will face on campus, she realizes her time there is limited.
“I have two years to connect with other people, build relationships,” Purkayastha said. “Once I’m there, I have to gauge what the academic pressure is like immediately.”