Monday, January 27

Despite efforts to welcome transfers into UCLA, they remain underserved

Transfer students come from varying circumstances, many commuting to and from school everyday. Finding their place at UCLA must be made easier for them. (Amy Dixon/Daily Bruin senior staff)

To my incoming transfers, I understand your feelings and anxieties – immersion into a new school can be disorienting, to say the least.

Fortunately, some programs are attempting to help.

The Transfer Center and Residential Life are separate entities on campus but collaborate on events geared towards bringing new transfers together. And while they may serve different purposes, they both serve as a lifeline for incoming transfers on a massive campus of about 45,000.

If only they could provide for the diversity that is the transfer student community.

Although these groups do what they can to help, transfer students remain woefully unsupported by the university. As it stands, UCLA needs to further accommodate transfer students from all different academic timelines through more extensive outreach. Doing so will help streamline a fruitful transfer experience at UCLA, especially given that incoming transfer students come from extreme variances in a diversity of backgrounds.

And outreach is more necessary than ever. The rates of transfer students only seem to be growing, with 5,575 transfer students admitted last fall. And with more students being admitted, changing demographics continue to redefine how we typically view who students are in the first place.

Universities understand this, but there remains a chasm between the UC’s ideas for transfer students and their outcomes.

Heather Adams, the Transfer Student Program Director, said in an email statement that their events were very successful and tend to reach many transfers – both commuter students and those that live on campus.

But that’s not how some transfers feel.

Unfortunately, advertising for these events on the Hill seem to fall on deaf ears. And as the school year goes on, Natalie Vargas, a transfer and former resident assistant, said attendance numbers dwindle even further.

For transfer commuters, attending these events and getting involved on the Hill is even more arduous. And with transfer students often living off-campus or commuting, the concept of Hill events might seem counterintuitive to creating a stronger community.

Samantha Kaplan, a fourth-year chemistry material science student and commuter, said it is difficult to attend because of the distance between her classes in South campus and the Hill, as well as the inconvenient timing of events.

“I don’t want to trek up the Hill and spend an hour or two and then have to come back down to get to my bus stop, it’s a bit tiring,” Kaplan said.

Because the transfer community is so diverse, with about 83% of fall 2018 transfers being in-state students that are more likely to be commuters, the Transfer Center and ResLife needs to account for the ease of accessibility to those commuter students that don’t live on the Hill. If they don’t bridge the gap among transfer experiences, these students will continue to be underserved and neglected, leaving a whole community at UCLA in disconnect.

Vargas said she noted how transfers are much more ambitious about joining clubs and becoming immersed in strong communities.

“You feel like your time here is limited so you don’t want to waste your time doing things that aren’t advantageous to you or feel like you aren’t going to benefit off those things,” Vargas said.

Outreach and advertising by the Transfer Center and ResLife for transfer specific events can help alleviate the pressure to find their place or maximize their opportunities in those two years.

But even with efforts, some of these advertising methods simply aren’t resonating with students – even those who live in the close-knit community of the Hill.

“[Flyers] are what I see the most, but if it was another person who was talking to me about it, then it would definitely be more impactful,” said Thomas Her, a fourth-year chemistry/materials science student. “Building that personal connection would make me more likely to go.”

In Her’s situation, methods of advertising like flyers and social media posts come off as impersonal and detached – making them easier to ignore or miss.

Whether it be through more advertising or outreach, more effort from UCLA is necessary to support its students. For students on the Hill, more personal approaches are a necessity – in-person conversational efforts might do the trick. For those living off-campus or commuting, the university should work to cater to their needs – whether that be stronger off-campus outreach or an increase in apartment-based events. And for nontraditional students – whether they have full-time jobs, families or other commitments – UCLA would do well to further accommodate their unique schedules.

Kaplan suggested planning a social event focused on bringing commuters and on-campus transfers together would prove beneficial.

“Perhaps something larger and more expansive that includes a lot of fun activities and food,” Kaplan said. “If you’re going to make us stay on campus, perhaps including a meal as well.”

Little changes that are more accessible to other members of the transfer community could make a big difference in the participation of a greater variety of students.

Granted, ResLife and the Transfer Center are hoping to change for the better. People like Vargas are strategically considering what will appeal to transfers – a three-part system of fliers, social media and personal invitations to events is one example. And with ResLife implementing newsletters and end-of-year surveys, it seems like a genuine effort to adjust for previous shortcomings.

But despite these improvements, UCLA still has a long way to go. Admitting to their problems with outreach is the first step, but in order to bring the transfer community together, the university needs to fortify its own relationship with historically neglected transfer students. To resolve the gaps between a diverse transfer community, UCLA needs to tailor the transfer experience beyond a one-size-fits-all.

Transfers only have two short years at UCLA.

They shouldn’t have to spend it waiting around for a sense of community.

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  • Pat Maginnis

    UCLA has never been a friendly campus. The main reason–no football stadium on campus. No interest on the part of Murphy Hall. A complete Ivory Tower. I have been a UCLA fan since 1959 growing up in NY. I am a big college sports fan and have been for over 60 years. I have been to many games at over 50 schools from Yale to Notre Dame to Wisconsin to Nebraska to Wazzu to ASU to Texas to Alabama. UCLA is dead last in spirit and creature comforts for fans, students and Alumni. I attended OU undergrad and UCLA Law. People around other campuses are genuinely friendly except at Oregon and Arizona. We have not had a decent Chancellor since Chuck Young. We have not had a great AD since JD Morgan. All tripe since then. ASU has 75, 000 students online and in person. ASU makes a fortune off internet students. UCLA stupidly annihilated its undergrad business school. UCLA and Stanford invented the internet with funding from DARPA. Stanford capitalized on the invention. UCLA did nada. No vision at UCLA. No Silicon valley in Westwood. No huge endowment like Stanford from silicon valley inventors.
    Pepperdine makes millions from its business school. Campuses everywhere.
    UCLA is still in the horse and buggy development stage.
    Troglodytes for sure. Too much nepotism at UCLA. Take care of the transfer students like they are important. They are.
    I had great surgeons and doctors at UCLA for tongue cancer and osteoradionecrosis. Exposure to Agent Orange, napalm, and Dow/Monsanto ketones during Vietnam. The doctors made me a new jaw from my left fibula. Best hospital and med school in America. Bring in 25,000 Cuban doctors, recertify them by rotating them through all UC Med schools and USC trauma and ER programs as the US Military currently does, and help the doctor shortage in our Hispanic areas of California.
    Hire a director for transfer students who is a recent transfer student. Hands on hire. Clean house at UCLA. New Chancellor and AD. Hire Eileen Lawrence as AD. Hire Sen. Kevin de Leon as Chancellor. Let’s reinstate the undergrad business school, build a user friendly monorail on campus from BH and Santa Monica on Wilshire and down Westwood Boulevard and Sepulveda from Chatsworth to LAX. Build a football stadium at the VA. Join the comfort friendly rest of the university world. Even West Virginia U. has a campus monorail.
    Pat Maginnis class of 1975.

    • CH

      The issue has little to do with the lack of a football stadium on campus and everything to do with the lack of institutional support for transfer students. I spent 3 years as a transfer and most students could not be bothered to care about sports.

      Also replace the VA with a football stadium? Really? Veterans are already underserved after they’ve given their all to serve us. Your suggestion is shameful. As a vet yourself I don’t even understand why you’d suggest replacing one of LA county’s few resources for vets with a useless football stadium.

      C.H. c/o 2018

      • Pat Maginnis

        Well. You must be a nerd or an engineer if you don’t like sports. UCLA has 111 NCAA Championships. #2 after a small school with 7,500 students in Palo Alto named Stanford.
        You obviously never go to the VA in Brentwood. There is a golf course, a private Protestant school, a UCLA baseball stadium, and many abandoned buildings to boot north of Wilshire. Open up your eyes.
        South of Wilshire is a VA Hospital in a JV with UCLA, stored new cars, a red cross facility, no vet housing.
        I suggest a 50 story vets home on the VA property. 70% for vets and 30% for homeless, a 24 hour cafeteria, a medical clinic, a huge game room and a sports bar. Now go play with your twitter account and lap top.
        Adios millenial. How many tattoos do you have? Still think Bernie can beat The Orange Orangetang Narcissistic Unregistered Sex Offender Pedophile Manchurian Candidate? 10% of the ignorant Bernie Brats voted for the Orange Orangetang Narcissistic Unregistered Sex Offender Pedophile Manchurian Candidate. Did you, cowboy?

        • Kozorae

          Why do we have to bring politics into this… This is about helping transfer students. Name calling and assumptions does nothing to this conversation .

          • CH

            I know right? It’s really pathetic, and just distracts from the issue at hand.

        • CH

          I’m a researcher, I literally do not care about sports. Most who attend UCLA are nerds. It’s the best public learning institution in the world. I attended UCLA to get an education not party. My social needs were met just fine in classes, clubs, and friends outside of school. Then I moved onward towards getting my PhD which I’m working on now. A football stadium doesn’t help transfers accomplish any of that. We’re asking for better institutional support because the transfer center only can do so much heavy lifting in terms of supporting students and since they’re mainly a social center they have no institutional pull.

          Also, how is the VA supposed to host both a football stadium and 50 story housing complex? You’re slinging names at me left and right, but don’t seem to exercise much in terms of logic yourself.

          Also, considering research is what developed the technology you’re hating on so much, yet using yourself, you’re welcome from the research crowd. Lol. Old folks have funny egos.

  • bogey4

    “…disorientating.. ‘ (?) Who’s editing this thing? It’s disorienting.