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Career event for UCLA transfer students fosters connections, confidence

Students at the transfer career fair are pictured. The fair, which was part of Transfer Pride Week, aimed to connect transfer students with potential job opportunities. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Ryo Sato

Feb. 5, 2024 6:24 p.m.

The UCLA Career Center hosted a career event for transfer students Jan. 23.

Held in Covel Commons from 3 to 7 p.m., the event, which was part of Transfer Pride Week, consisted of a networking lounge, personal brand statement seminar and employer presentations. Nineteen organizations tabled in the Grand Horizon Ballroom, talking with transfer students seeking job opportunities and career enhancement.

Santana Molina, a third-year communication transfer student, said the event was important because despite the various reasons people may not go straight into a four-year college after high school, those who transferred from community colleges can sometimes be viewed as less intelligent than non-transfer students.

“It’s a good way to recognize our hard work in getting here,” Molina said.

Stephanie De Leon, a third-year sociology transfer student, also said the event showed the university cares about transfer students because it was exclusively for them.

“It’s something that you get for being a transfer student. It’s a way that you can feel proud,” De Leon said.

De Leon also said she appreciates the event’s recognition of the unique challenges that transfer students face.

“It’s good that the school is dedicating time and resources to uplifting transfer students because they know that we are just a little bit disadvantaged by not having as much time here as other people do,” she said.

(Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)
People at the transfer career fair are pictured. (Jeremy Chen/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Dana Mato, a fourth-year sociology transfer student, said that since transferring, he has often felt a sense of inferiority to those who got into UCLA as freshmen, which impeded his sense of belonging on campus.

“I know the difference between someone that got in as a freshman and someone that got in as a transfer. I feel like there’s a difference in status for me,” Mato said. “That was the biggest problem for me.”

Mato said he discovered the event on the day it was taking place and rushed to get ready, expecting it to be formal. However, Mato said he found the event to be relatively casual, something he appreciated because it made it accessible to people who, like him, were not entirely prepared.

“I was expecting it to be a lot scarier. I was nervous because I’m not dressed super professionally. I have all my good clothes at home, so I was nervous that I was going to be judged,” Mato said. “It’s nice that it’s more of a casual event, kind of a meet-and-greet.”

Natalia Bucio, a third-year neuroscience transfer student, also said Transfer Pride Week as a whole, which was hosted by the Transfer Student Center, was an important platform for transfer students to connect with each other.

“The transfer community here is so big, but it doesn’t feel big because half the time you’re in classes of people who aren’t transfer students and don’t really relate to you,” she said. “Transfer Pride Week has been helpful for me in terms of just feeling a little bit more at home at UCLA.”

De Leon said she also appreciates that the transfer-oriented events are not limited to fall quarter, when new students may be busy acclimating to UCLA or simply unaware of such opportunities.

“I don’t think I went to a lot of events (during) the fall quarter Transfer Week because I was busy. It was my first quarter, so I didn’t know how to manage my time,” she said. “We have this opportunity each quarter to continue to take advantage of resources and to show other students that we are a big part of the school, and we are proud to be here.”

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