‘A place of connection for transfers’: Transfer Student Center marks 20 years on campus

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Founded in August 1999, the UC Berkeley Transfer Student Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The center was founded after a task force launched by then-vice chancellor Genaro Padilla recommended the creation of the Transfer Student Center, or TSC, given the increase in transfer students on campus, according to Steven Nguyen, academic counselor for the TSC. Since its inception with one part-time program coordinator and five student peer advocates, the organization has grown.

In its early years, the TSC was a program in the former Transfer, Re-entry and Student Parent Center, but as the nontraditional student populations grew, the programs to support them expanded. In 2016, the TSC became part of the transfer programs subcluster within the UC Berkeley Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, marking the third transfer student program in the subcluster along with the Student Support Services program and the Miller Scholars program. Today, the TSC has one director, two academic counselors and 25-30 peer advocates, according to Nguyen.

“Transferring into Cal can be overwhelming at times, and the Transfer Student Center serves as a safety net for many transfers, as it is a safe space for students to come in to ask any questions they may have,” Nguyen said in an email. “Transfers often time will make friends with other transfers and create a sense of belonging on campus through our center. More importantly, it is a place of connection for transfers!”

Currently, the TSC provides an array of resources to transfer students. In addition to being a community space for transfers, the TSC provides academic advising and transition courses that enroll approximately 520 transfers per year. Furthermore, there are workshops related to career and professional development, mentoring programs, internships and leadership programs, according to Nguyen.

“It can be difficult for other advisors to properly guide transfer students using their transcripts from community college or other 4 year universities,” said ASUC Senator Carolyn Le in an email. “They’re one of the very few resources on campus that has transfer student specific resources geared towards optimizing success.”

Le’s office advocates for transfer students in several areas, including club recruitment, academic and professional resources and student housing. Later in this semester, her office will host town halls to hear more feedback on transfer student concerns.

Her office has also begun discussing topics they deemed as major concerns with campus administrators, such as transcript review, housing difficulties and the effectiveness of Golden Bear Orientation. To ensure transfer student advocacy efforts are continued next year, her office has been working to start the transfer representative position in the ASUC.

Both Nguyen and Le expressed their hope for an expansion of the TSC or relocation to a larger area. Every week, there are over 650 students who visit the center, which students call a “popping space,” according to Nguyen.

“Transferring to Berkeley isn’t perfect yet,” Nguyen said in an email. “The Transfer Student Center has been a constant voice of advocacy for students throughout the years!”

Contact Maxine Mouly at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @moulymaxine.