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Transfer students vocalize frustration with slow process of transferring credits

UCLA transfer students often face issues enrolling in upper division courses that require prerequisites fulfilled at other institutions of higher education. (Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)

By Sydney Kovach

Dec. 1, 2021 11:53 p.m.

Many transfer students consistently face issues enrolling in upper division courses that require prerequisites.

Transfer students at UCLA who have taken lower-division courses at other institutions of higher education have expressed frustration that these courses have not transferred over to MyUCLA, the enrollment system the university uses, said Herman Luis Chavez, the Undergraduate Students Association Council transfer student representative.

Chavez added that although these courses cover the same material as courses at UCLA, the enrollment system does not recognize them as equivalent, which can prevent transfer students from enrolling in some courses that require prerequisites on their own.

When students have taken transferable courses that are not explicitly equivalent to a specific UCLA course, departments can code transfer course exemptions for students to satisfy prerequisites and allow them to enroll in their desired course, said UCLA spokesperson Katherine Alvarado.

Alvarado said departments code the majority of these exemptions during new student orientation before a transfer student’s first grading period at UCLA. She added that once these exemptions for enrollment requirements are coded, they will apply for all future enrollment periods for that student.

However, Chavez said the exemptions only show up on his Degree Audit Report System and not MyUCLA. If MyUCLA does not recognize a prerequisite as completed or exempt, the website prohibits students from enrolling in their desired course, they added.

“My transfer credits weren’t recognized in MyUCLA as (prerequisites) even though in DARS, it is clear that they do fulfill those prerequisite requirements,” Chavez said.

Students should contact their undergraduate departmental advisors if they have questions about non-equivalent transfer courses they would like enrollment exceptions for, Alvarado said, adding that each department determines its own method of communication for these requests. She said some departments prefer students to send requests via the MyUCLA Message Center, while others prefer them by email, walk-in advising or phone.

Ossema Gassama, a third-year business economics transfer student, said she has been experiencing issues with DARS. Although she completed the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, a group of courses that California community college students can take to satisfy most University of California general education requirements, Gassama said her DARS report did not display her IGETC certification.

She added that her IGETC certification showed up on her DARS report when she enrolled in fall quarter courses but did not display when she checked again a few weeks later. She also had issues with logging into the system and downloading her DARS report.

Gassama said she planned out which courses she would take each quarter to graduate on time, so she was stressed when her DARS report said she was missing classes.

“It was a scary moment to think that I would probably have to be here for another two or three quarters, just with all the classes it was saying I needed to take,” she said.

She reached out to a counselor through the MyUCLA Message Center but did not receive a response before her enrollment time, so she only enrolled in the classes she was sure she had not taken already.

Gassama added that her counselor said she believed that DARS most likely did not process her IGETC certification, which caused the issue. She resubmitted the request to her community college to send her certification, but her community college counselor said it may take a while for the UCLA system to update once it is resent, adding that she expects the UCLA system to update by the end of winter quarter.

When Chavez faced enrollment issues due to supposedly unfulfilled prerequisites, he said he contacted the musicology department, which told him that the only course of action he could take to resolve the issue was to email the professor of the course and request a Petition To Enroll number. Chavez also said waiting for a professor to agree to send a PTE number can postpone enrollment and prevent transfer students from enrolling at their given times.

“I know when my first pass is, I know when my second pass is, but it’s almost arbitrary,” Chavez said. “If I don’t get a response back from my professor or my advisor about enrolling in a class that has (prerequisites), then I simply just have to wait.”

They added that enrollment issues often leave transfer students feeling dependent on professors and advisors’ help and that they don’t have control over their own schedules for the upcoming quarter.

“Students don’t have the autonomy of enrolling in their own classes that they want at the time that they want to,” Chavez said. “They are kind of at the whims of whether their advisor can enroll them or a professor decides to give them a PTE number based on their situation.”

Since transfer students face enrollment issues every quarter, Chavez said many have gotten used to the additional work it takes to enroll in a course.

“We have to kind of get used to this enrollment process and kind of get used to sending PTE requests every quarter or hitting our advisor every quarter to let us into classes,” Chavez said. “Getting used to something that is not a good process is also not a good feeling. It’s happened so often that we kind of just have to do it every single time.”

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Sydney Kovach | Alumnus
Kovach was the 2021-2022 assistant News editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for The Stack. Kovach was a fourth-year global studies student at UCLA.
Kovach was the 2021-2022 assistant News editor for the campus politics beat. She was previously a contributor for The Stack. Kovach was a fourth-year global studies student at UCLA.
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