Time magazine ranks UC Berkeley 2nd-best college for transfer students

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UC Berkeley was ranked the second-best college for transfer students by a recent article in Time magazine.

The UC system and state school system “have a clearly defined pathway for community college students, supported by a statewide set of general education courses that will transfer between institutions,” according to the article, so it was “not surprising” that five out of the 10 best colleges for transfer students are located within California.

Maria Sanders, a UC Berkeley transfer student and a peer advocate for the campus Transfer Student Center, said the UC system works with California community colleges to assist transfer students through websites such as assist.org.

“It comes down to communication and desire of UCs to welcome the California community,” Sanders said. “(Transferring) is nerve-wracking. … UCs have really just tried to raise the bar.”

To form the top 10 list, Time started with the 727 colleges that made its 2018 list for the best colleges, according to the article. The magazine then ranked these colleges based on the four- and six-year graduation rates for transfer students and the share of transfer students on campus.

Ninety percent of all transfer students at UC Berkeley earn degrees within four years, according to the article. UCLA was ranked No. 1 on the list, and spots two, six, seven and eight were taken by other UC campuses.

“The Transfer Center is home to many transfers who use the space to study, meet up with friends, ask the transfer student peer advocates questions at the front desk, enjoy a 25 cent cup of coffee or warm up their lunch in the microwave,” said Lorena Valdez, director of the UC Berkeley Transfer Student Center, in an email.

Valdez serves with the Transfer Student Center counselors on various committees that bring the transfer experience to new and existing campus initiatives. While Valdez had not yet seen the recent rankings, she claimed the transfer process at UC Berkeley is “carefully planned out and implemented.”

Though a range of factors, including academic performance and personal attributes, are considered in the transfer application process, admissions officers place extra emphasis on how academically prepared the students are for their respective majors, according to Valdez.

The Transfer Student Center provides several resources for incoming transfer students on its webpage, including transition courses such as Education 198, academic counseling, success workshops offered throughout each semester, a mentorship program and leadership opportunities. These programs and services support transfer students from entry until graduation, according to Valdez.

Sanders said the Education 198 course helped her find resources on campus and connect with other transfer students. After feeling “immediately welcomed,” Sanders decided to become a staff member at the transfer center.

“UC Berkeley was surprising in how prepared they are to greet transfer students who feel overwhelmed and lack the different connections freshmen may have,” Sanders said. “I feel as though, slowly but surely, Berkeley is trying to improve their services for transfer students.”

Sabina Mahavni covers student life. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sabina_mahavni.