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Transfer student programs need improvement

By Salim Zymet

May 20, 2010 9:00 pm

Saving $40,000 and having a second shot at attending a world-class university are two prime reasons that many students choose to transfer to UCLA.

The university does a great job of attracting qualified and motivated students with its Transfer Alliance Program, in which UCLA works with the honors programs of community colleges in California to give priority admission to honors students. UCLA currently has TAP programs at over 40 community colleges.

Unfortunately, the university doesn’t exert nearly the same effort in assimilation programs for transfer students who actually make it to UCLA. The downsides of transferring, though outweighed by the large monetary savings, could be mitigated much more effectively by UCLA.

Tung Liu, a third-year business economics student, had hoped to apply to the Transfer Experience Theme Community when he was admitted into UCLA, but when he applied for housing, he found that the option was absent.

“Right now I live in De Neve Fir, on a predominantly freshman floor. It’s not horrible, but it is somewhat difficult to socialize with the freshmen as a junior, and I wish that the Transfer Themed Community was an option for this year,” said Liu.

Luckily for incoming transfers, Delta Terrace is being devoted solely to transfer students next year. Hopefully, the Transfer Experience Theme Community will return with a cohesive program aimed at ensuring that transfer students who want to can take advantage of any social, academic or career-related opportunities available to them. Its return will do much to rectify many of the potential issues transfer students face, but it has to be handled correctly.

The university should ensure that all incoming transfer students who want to live in transfer-themed housing have the option to do so. Delta Terrace needs to be funded well enough to ensure that transfers are aware of all the potential opportunities that many of them are missing out on right now.

Although the specifics of the program aren’t known, it will need to do more than simply house transfer students together.

According to a report published by the UCLA Student Affairs Information and Research Office in 2005, transfer students use campus services related to finance and student aid more often than direct students, implying that transfers are more concerned about finances than other college students.Other campus services, however, such as the Career Center and Community Programs Office are utilized less often by transfer than by direct students.

Additionally and most importantly, transfer students showed a significantly weaker agreement with the statement “I feel part of this campus community,” the report stated. This indicates a serious lack of assimilation among transfer students.

The resident assistants in Delta Terrace will need to make sure that their residents feel at home at UCLA. This can be achieved by making sure they attend events and take advantage of extracurriculars and campus services.

Although there are certainly a large number of resident assistants who encourage interaction among their residents and on campus in general, there are also many who are unknown to their residents. These RAs could potentially negate what the Delta Terrace project hopes to achieve.

For Dongning Zhang, a third-year applied science and mathematics student, UCLA has been a blessing, but she has missed out on various campus events due to a lack of information directed toward transfers.

“If I had known about Spring Sing earlier, I definitely would have gone, but since I learned about it right before that Friday, I couldn’t go,” Zhang said.

In order for the university to allow transfer students more time at UCLA as informed students, the Delta Terrace project, in conjunction with summer programs for those not living on the Hill, are needed.

“Transfer students don’t get the full college experience. We have to try and fit four years’ worth of activities into two, and it’s nearly impossible,” said Angelique Rojo, a third-year political science transfer student.

Despite wanting to be a part of the campus community, Rojo has found this hard to accomplish. Her problem is only further compounded by her living in an apartment in Westwood instead of on the Hill. Although Delta Terrace may very well alleviate the problems experienced by transfers who live on campus, the university will have to find a way to deal with those who decide not to do so.

A start would be to increase the amount of summer matriculation services so that transfers can hit the ground running. Although some summer programs currently exist, they aren’t as numerous, extensive or well-advertised as they should be.

Transferring is an incredible experience and opportunity for those unable to afford the full four years or didn’t have the grades in the high school, but the university needs to do more to make transfer students feel more at home as Bruins.

E-mail Zymet at [email protected]

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