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Bruins in Paris

The Transfer Take: The Reintroduction, Part 2

Photo credit: Isabella Lee

By Ashley Tsao

June 4, 2024 12:08 a.m.

What is the application process like for transfer students? What should transfer students expect after enrolling at UCLA? Podcasts contributor Ashley Tsao sits down with current UCLA student Brandon Chen to discuss these questions and share tips for prospective applicants.

Ashley Tsao: Hello everyone, my name is Ashley Tsao and I want to thank you for tuning in to the second part of the reintroduction episode of the Transfer Take by Daily Bruin Podcasts, where we honestly hope that the UCLA transfer experience is slower than it is right now because damn, time is moving quickly nowadays.

Since 25% of UCLA’s undergraduate population is made up of transfers, I wanted to have a series that shines light on how we might experience college life differently from a first-year student. Whether it’s thinking through the application process a bit differently, or having a significantly shortened timeline, there is always a story out there to share on this podcast, whether it’s my own or the interviewees that I have lined up for future episodes. I hope those listening will either find it relatable, informational or cringe depending on your tastes.

Last episode, we were with my good friend Christina talking about the ins and outs of how it feels to currently be in the transfer application process. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about the application process, but instead from a different perspective of a current UCLA student. Brandon, do you mind introducing yourself, major and which community college you transferred from?

Brandon Chen: Hi, I’m Brandon Chen. I am amajor, transferred from Mount San Antonio College, about one hour east of LA. So still within the LA County.

AT: Okay, and for the listeners, Brandon I actually met through an accounting class. And ever since then, we’ve almost had the same classes each quarter since we’re in the same major, which is pretty cool.

Brandon, I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked one on one like this, since it’s either we see each other in class or we just talk on Discord. So how have you been since week three?

BC: Not bad, I guess. Well yeah, skip a little classes here and there. Mess around.

AT: What do you mean by that?

BC: I mean, like week two … So I was in this culture night. You know culture night, right?

AT: Sort of?

BC: So basically, the Taiwanese culture night they put up basically a theater drama. And that happened week two, Tuesday. So with that over, my schedule opened a lot more now.

AT: That’s good to hear because I know you’re taking only three classes. Right?

BC: Yeah.

AT: So you don’t have … Well, I’m not judging, but you don’t have that much of a workload.

BC: Basically. Yeah, it’s fine. That’s not judging. It’s factual. I’m not taking any minor, no double major, pure Biz Econ. (Business Economics) I transferred with, I would say, enough credits to where I can just take 12 to 13 units every quarter.

AT: That sounds so nice. That sounds so nice.

So clearly, you’ve written the UC application, probably around two years ago I would assume, less than two years ago. So can you give me and the listeners an idea about how long have you spent preparing, writing and thinking about your UC application? It can be a rough estimate.

BC: So when I first saw these questions, I actually went back to the original document I wrote my essays on. It seems like I started in August and I think you need four essays, right? I think three of them, general ones and then one of them is about your major. So a total of four. I think I wrote them all within one day. I mean, we’re both transfers so we already wrote them before.

AT: In one day?

BC: Yeah. There’s a word limit as well. It’s not like you’re writing 10 pages each. No. It’s like, a page and a half a page for each.

AT: In one day? Did I hear that right?

BC: Yeah, basically. I mean, a good amount of them are, I would not say reused, but the foundation is about the same from what I wrote in high school. Of course, after two more years of CC, a lot has changed so I still tweaked them a little bit.

AT: So from actually starting to actually submitting, what was the timeline?

BC: I actually don’t remember much. I will say, maybe just a month to a month and a half. Yeah, the essay … was probably the most time consuming and then the rest are just click and fill, like all simple information. I don’t think that took too much time.

AT: Okay, okay, that sounds like a solid or at least was a solid plan. Do you think you actually needed, you said a month and month and a half, to prepare or do you think you needed more? You needed less?

BC: I think it was about the right time for me. And the basic info that doesn’t, I don’t think that needed too much time anyway. And I think most people can finish in one day, unless there’s some information that you have to double check with your parents, those kinds of stuff. Essays wise, it’s just the time between, like waiting between your counselor and yourself, setting up the meeting. That took a little more time. But overall, I would say it’s pretty smooth, since we already went through it once in high school, right?

AT: Right, and you said it was the right amount of time. So I want to let the listeners know, Brandon … he’s not normal. In terms of, he’s really smart and he just does everything, probably crams in some stuff the night before, and then aces the exam the next day. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re thinking that you’re supposed to write an essay or four questions in one day, let me tell you that that’s not normal, but it works for him. And it’s doable because he’s here so it is a tactic.

I won’t go too much into depth about the entire application process, but what do you think made you get into UCLA? It could be multiple factors that I’ve listed here: it says TAP, TAG, Honors Program, extracurriculars, stellar grades, GPA, your awesome essay writing or etc?

BC: Well … now that you said it, TAG and TAP, definitely, I will say helped since from when I first applied to my CC, I asked them about this program and then apparently they say those who participate in the TAP program, allegedly, 30% of them got into UCLA, which I think is a pretty good number, I would assume. And then honors program probably also just show them that I had the dedication and discipline to do something right for a good amount of time. Extracurriculars, probably also to show that I … well, after high school, I’m not sure if they even compare you to your high school, if you apply again.

AT: I think they do because the thing is, you applied once and I think they probably have the record of it. So they want to see that sort of improvement or at least change from what you said in high school to what you said in your CC transfer application. So I do think they probably reference it, but they’re not going to say it’s a make or break situation.

BC: Oh yeah, probably not. Yeah, I will say extracurriculars, since that’s one of the part that I grew the most. After getting into CC, I worked a part time job, saved up money. So another place to show discipline. As for grades and GPA, I don’t think that affected too much since I am not sure how each CC is relatively difficult they are compared to other CCS.

AT: What do you mean?

BC: It’s possible to just pick relatively easy GE classes for your IGETC’s and just pass with good amount of grades. Unless it’s major required then of course, those have a sort of foundation for comparison. And also, I don’t think my grades change too much from CC to high school. So that is not a point where they can see much of a difference. And then lastly, the essays again.

AT: Okay. So you talked about strengthening your extracurriculars, did I hear right?

BC: Yep.

AT: So does that mean you joined clubs?

BC: Oh, actually, no. It’s all work.

AT: Yeah. Okay. No, that’s fine. That’s fine because I actually had a similar issue like you did. In high school, I just really focused on grades and I had no social life. I shouldn’t say that. I shouldn’t say that. I did have a social life. I had a friend group, but it’s every day it was just study, study, study, study, go home, go home, study and homework. And I never really sort of did anything. And I think that is also why UCLA and other colleges didn’t pick me right after high school. So I needed to change my mentality.

When we were in CC, it was actually just over the hump of COVID or at least during COVID. Do you think your higher education goals would have been somewhat different if there wasn’t COVID? Have you really thought about this when you were writing your application … or?

BC: I mean, I have thought about it over the past couple of years from time to time. There are different aspects to look at, though: So at first, the funny thing is the week that schools shut down, places shut down, that Saturday was supposed to be my SAT. So I ended up not taking that SAT. And then, over the next few months, I think I signed up for another SAT, but again, that’s still the height of COVID lock-down, so that was denied again. And then, towards the end of junior year into senior year, we found out that UC’s and other schools are becoming test blind or test optional. So that’s one benefit, I would say. But then at the end of COVID, at least for my senior year, since it’s becoming test optional and test blind, a lot more students, I would assume, applied to many schools. And then everyone says there’s one less factor for administrators to look at. Everyone becomes a lot closer, I would assume. And then again, with my shortcomings of the essays and extracurricular, I think that’s also a reason I failed. But then again, if I failed then without COVID, I think I still would have taken the CC route. So at the end, it’s either going straight to a four year or going to CC again, either way, and then go into a four year. So I think overall, in the long period of time, it would not change without COVID.

AT: You make a good point about the SAT being shut down because I don’t know if that was a factor in which the UC’s, colleges, universities, they took into account, they were like, “she probably scored really bad to the point where she’s reporting it,” but I don’t know, I don’t know.

BC: I don’t know. I mean, what they say they’re test blind, I’m not sure if they really mean it or not because it’s all kind of behind closed doors after all.

AT: I don’t know.

BC: It’s all in the past, screw it.

AT: In most community colleges, and four year institutions, we always have great professors and then the not so great ones. Were there any professors that stood out to you at your time at CC?

BC: I will say I’m fortunate enough to not have horrible teachers at CC. Honestly, all of them I will rank on the positive side after all. There are some … Actually no, maybe one of them is, on a scale of one to 10, smack in the middle of the five, maybe? Since it’s an online accounting class after all. Oh, now I remember, there’s this one time – I forgot which semester it was in – but he sent out a reminder email and it said Happy Memorial or something. So he said happy, whatever holiday, but it’s supposed to be another semester’s time. So he’s probably copy pasted one email from another period into this period. So that just kind of reinforced my idea of that Professor being like, kind of meh. But then the good professors: I would say there’s quite a handful of them. There’s one that I had both my macro and micro econ. (economics) class with. The first one, the macro class, was in person. Second one was online async. I will say, overall, the result was about the same as in what I have learned compared to what I haven’t learned before. And I will say, he’s just fun, the class is structured well, it’s relatively fun, it’s not harsh on you, the quiz … you can prepare for, the test … you can prepare for it. It’s all very well done. Overall, I will say my CC experience with the professors, overall pretty well. Pretty damn well.

AT: I don’t know if I can say the same. So you mentioned all these super great professors that you’ve had, in terms of the bigger picture. Have they somewhat helped you in the application process, I didn’t mean physically write it for you, but maybe they gave you some advice or because, for example, I’ll just give you an example to kind of solidify. So in my last fall semester at CC, which is probably my second year, my calculus professor, she knew that we were starting our UC applications. So every day we go to class before Nov. 30, she was like, “Are y’all writing your essays? Are y’all writing your essays?” So you have to understand our semester started in probably August. So imagine hearing that through your ear every week. Probably twice a week. So yeah, it really got us going. Because she didn’t want us to procrastinate to the very end.

BC: Seems like she knows college students.

AT: Well, yeah, very well. And so that’s the kind of example I’m sort of pushing at in this question. Does anything strike your mind?

BC: I will not say the professors themselves helped directly, since I don’t remember any professor that helped with any part of the application process, but probably it would be just the counselors. So our school, we have different departments of counseling, there’s like financial aid. And then there’s the transfer. So I went to the transfer counselor, and then that’s who I always went to … well maybe not her all the time. But just that group of counselors, that’s who I went to for looking for what classes to take, looking for what credits that I need to fulfill, what type of IGETC departments, those kinds of stuff. And then I sent my essays to one of them and then she looked at it, gave me some feedback, I corrected them, she’d look at them again, give me some feedback, I finalized them. I will say that’s the extent of help I received from the school regarding application only.

AT: Okay, so you went to a counselor. The thing is, with counselors, no shade, but I don’t know if mine were just bad, but I didn’t really go to a counselor. I don’t know, maybe because I didn’t try. But every time I asked them about my class requirements, they get them mixed up. So they lost my trust.

BC: Yeah, sometimes that does happen.

AT: Yeah. And so I sort of just asked people to read, like close people. And have a fresh set of eyes. That’s basically it.

BC: Yeah, I think I did that about the same when I did my application in high school, like I asked professors, counselors and also a couple of good friends of mine.

AT: Cool. Now that we’re both at UCLA, we’ve been through the entire admissions process, which includes the transfer credit evaluation, where UCLA takes your CC courses, finds the UCLA course equivalent, and gives you the credits for that equivalent course, right? So how was this process for you? Was it stressful, smooth? I’m asking this because I’ve heard some classmates that the registrar’s office forgot a chunk of their credits and made them stay in sophomore standing when they first got here. So just wanted to hear from you if you had any issues, sort of like that.

BC: So I actually have from my field of view, I haven’t actually heard anyone got a chunk of their credits lost, which is pretty damn … well, I don’t even know how to say it.

AT: It’s not lost. It’s just like …

BC: At first they forgot it.

AT: Yeah, they probably forgot it or the registrar’s office didn’t …

BC: Register it.

AT: Yeah. So I don’t know but then they ended up getting it fixed. Okay, just something maybe like hiccups there. Have you experienced it?

BC: Yeah. So fortunately, I have not and I think I’m not really sure like what’s the reason that it was lost in the first place for those people? From my end, I will say I’m prepared relatively well because before I transferred, I always look at or when I’m picking classes during my CC, I always look at it I think it was called axis … ? I’m not sure what-

AT: Assist.org?

BC: I forgot it. It’s been a while okay? Assist. Yeah, like look at my CC and then all the UC’s that I want to apply to, see for my major what kind of class I need to take. So that helped. Talking to my counselor also helped. And then just looking at IGETC, seeing which part of the class I still need to take, which one I already completed. That also helped. And then by the end of my two years there, I was just submitting it to my CC and then they took care of the rest of the transaction process, which I’ll say went pretty smooth after all since I came here with, I will say the right amount of credits, probably a little bit exceeding what they could have accepted. I think it was capped like 105. I’m not sure if they were already counting AP or not. But anyhow, I got here with enough units where, as I said before, I can take like 12 to 13 units a quarter.

AT: Lucky you, lucky you. And that’s good to hear. Because as a transfer, we’re already pretty stressed out about the entire process and if you were to add, well, not you, personally, but if something outside were to add more onto your plate, I think you’d probably go insane.

BC: Yeah, that.

AT: Yeah. Okay. No problem. And so you talked about the different UC’s that you applied to, would you mind letting the listeners know which colleges did you actually apply during your transfer as compared to your high school? And that doesn’t have to be only the UCs. It could be other stuff.

BC: So high school, I applied to only four UC’s: which are Berkeley, LA, Irvine, San Diego. The number’s four only because that’s what the maximum of financial aid can cover.

AT: Okay, that’s interesting.

BC: I applied to three privates: Stanford, USC and Harvard.

AT: Shoot.

BC: Hey, I was ambitious when I was in high school. Of course, the three privates rejected. Berkeley, LA rejected outright. And then Irvine, UC San Diego waitlisted. And well, after that, I was like, “fuck that.” I actually at first decided to go to a regular four year, near my house. Oh wait, I forgot. I also applied to 2 Cal States: Cal Poly Pomona, which is relatively close to my house, and Cal State Fullerton. And those two are accepted. So at first, I was just deciding between those two, eventually ended with Cal Poly Pomona. But then after I committed, about a week after or maybe not even a week, I decided if I want to actually go back to a UC, I should, instead of going to Cal Poly Pomona and then go to UC, I should just go to CC and then UC. So after that decision, I think within the same day or the day after, I just sent an email to Cal Poly Pomona to withdraw my application and then applied to my CC.

AT: So, your long term goal was to transfer to a UC?

BC: Yeah, after all at that time, I still wanted to go to UC because I think at that time, I wasn’t looking into a master’s program anyway. So on the top of my application for my future jobs, it will be my college. And, of course, no shade to the Cal States, but the two letters of UC just draw more attention. So that just kind of how it goes. So I withdrew my commitment from Cal Poly Pomona, applied to CC and then two years went by, I applied to UC’s. And that brings me to my UC application which I applied to 7, I believe. There’s a total of nine, so seven of them: Berkeley, LA, Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara. That’s five. Davis and Riverside. That’s the seven that I applied to so it was Merced and Santa Cruz that I didn’t apply to. And then no application to other colleges. All UC’s.

AT: So you weren’t as ambitious?

BC: In some way, but at the same time, there’s no guarantee and I was lazy. At the same time, UC is a public so I can relatively get a good amount of financial aid. But at the same time, the private also kind of give a good chunk but whatever LA is close, I like LA. Oh, yeah, good food too.

AT: Yes. That too. Definitely that. What I was about to say is I kinda wanted to know your mentality in why you didn’t pick the schools that you picked in your transfer application, but you kind of touched on that besides being lazy and you liked LA. Was there anything else besides those threeish that you decided not to apply to Ivy League’s or top tier schools?

BC: I think by the time I was doing my application, I didn’t think about that much. UCLA is always one of the schools that was on the top of my list and stuff like Harvard kind of far, kind of cold, kind of expensive. Stanford, still a little far. USC…I don’t know how I just didn’t consider SC that much by the time I was doing my application. So I think I was just probably fixed on the mindset of at least getting into a UC. There’s also the TAG program. So I think that that program just kind of rewired my mind to just applying to UC’s, which is also a more simple job since it’s one application for seven colleges or total of nine if you want to do all of them.

AT: I mean, I think at that point, you kind of just want to get it over, right?

BC: Sort of. I mean, we already failed once, so …

AT: I actually decided go straight to CC because partially because I didn’t want to go to for example, like UC Irvine and pay a butt ton of money for online tuition. So I decided to come to CC, kind of stopped there for two years, I guess also mature a little-

BC: Save money.

AT: Yeah, save money. But I think what was more important was sort of my mentality as well.

BC: Like a transition period.

AT: Yeah. So fresh out of high school, I was sort of struggling with the idea of CC because my family kind of looks down on CC.

BC: Asian parents. Yeah, understandable.

AT: Yeah. And I had to sort of have a strong mentality, knowing that I know what I’m doing. Like …

BC: You gotta know this is gonna bring me to the right place eventually.

AT: You know, trust the process. So it was a tough two years, not because of academics, academics were quite alright. It was just I think dealing with family that sort of, like I said, looked down on CC but I’m here now. Did you have sort of, I guess I’m maturing process through CC to UCLA, or was it, “I was always mature out of high school” kind of situation?

BC: I will say, right after high school and being rejected and then going to CC for – I will say after the first semester of CC, I realized how basically naive I was before because I was also the crowd that sort of looked down on CC in high school. The funny thing is, so my school, my CC Mt. Sac, it’s in a city called Walnut.

AT: That’s a lot of Asians.

BC: Yeah. Asian city. What high schoolers around that area, in LA Unified, they will call Mount Sac, UC walnut. And then at that time, we all looked at it as a derogatory term. But after I went to my CC, I see their facilities, I took their classes, I see the atmosphere and then I see the flexibility it gives me. I’m like, “Oh, this is great.” I feel like I’m getting the right amount of education for a place that’s supposed to transition me into a UC or other four years. And then their facility, of course, some of them are a little older, but the ones I’ve been to, most of them are pretty damn nice looking. By the end of my two years there, they were building a new student info building. It looks hella nice. It’s big, it’s got two stories, it got escalators on the outside going up to the second story. Now I realize, UC Walnut is not derogatory. That is a damn compliment because it’s bringing you UC level education and UC level facilities. And in my opinion, from what I’ve experienced, UC level professors and also UC level counselors, but I would assume pretty good counselors, maybe depends on the department. Who knows. But yeah, that’s one of the parts I matured on. Other places, maybe communication. Since at my time at CC, I had a lot more free time than what I was full time in school like in high school. So I had the time to take on a part time job. Within the part time job, learned how to communicate more with a team, learn how to step out of my shoes a little bit, be a little out of my comfort zone. So that part maybe grew onto me now to become a little bit more of an outgoing person, rather, compared to when I was in high school. Now, I’m in a little more activities, going out to do more things, do things I’ve never really done before. Like being on podcast. Maturing … Maybe those two are the most areas of maturity I can think about the most.

AT: I see. I see. So now you’ve taken a couple classes at UCLA. Do you like them?

BC: Yeah, I will say I like a good amount of them. First quarter, I took a class about gender studies, LGBTQ studies for my diversity. And that’s not a subject I’m familiar with but the professor’s a pretty nice person. So I like that. It’s a chill class. Not necessarily chill as in you haven’t gotten any work to do but the atmosphere is chill. The space is chill. And then what else … Oh, Management 120A. That might be the only one I don’t like so far. Yeah. Accounting is … Yeah, I don’t like accounting. Accounting is wack.

AT: But you did really good.

BC: Yeah. I can do good and hate it. That’s all school for me.

AT: You can do good but hate it …

BC: So that’s first quarter, second quarter. Econ (Economics) 101 with McDevitt, Professor McDevitt. Perfect, loved it. Got a good amount of humor. Got very good organization. He remembers the slides very well. I don’t even remember recalling him like peeking at the slides.

AT: No, he didn’t.

BC: Yeah, he just kind of goes off memory and just continues on with whatever he’s writing on the blackboard.

AT: That amazes me.

BC: Yeah, I mean, I would assume he has been here for a good 20 something years.

AT: Probably older than us.

BC: And when you teach the same thing, two to three quarters a year for 20 something years, I would think is the pinnacle of what he can do. Just write down whatever slides, information you have, without even looking at the computer slides for a second. So Econ 101, if you can do it with McDevitt, do it. If you have other other classes that you have with McDevitt, maybe probably also do it like I’m doing right now, Econ 170. I forgot what it’s called.

AT: Industrial …

BC: Industrial Economics. I mean, the prereq (prerequisite) is 101 so it’s building onto 101 ideas.

AT: Yeah, I would say the classes here are definitely a lot more intense. I don’t know if you’ve had the semester system at CC. So it’s a lot more fast paced than I would have liked. But I think that’s all part of the process when you come to a big university like this.

BC: 10 weeks compared to what do we have?

AT: 16? I had 16 at PCC.

BC: Yeah, probably something like 16, 18. Those numbers.

AT: And I was talking in the previous episode about how punishing the quarter system can be. Because for example, I remember in winter quarter, I was severely sick for the first two weeks because I came back from China and I didn’t want to do anything. I was really behind with 41, 101. So I think you’re really putting your immune system to the test at a UC that’s for sure because I’ve never gotten sick so many times in my life in the span of a year.

BC: I mean, every week, you meet two times a week, and almost every day will be new material. It just compounds if you don’t go there every day or if you don’t catch up the day after directly.

AT: The thing is, I used to be so lazy in terms of procrastinating and all that.

BC: Aren’t we all?

AT: I don’t know. But the thing is, is that being sick has really taught me to be proactive and so for example, now I started my cheat sheet for Econ 170, just starting to write all my stuff down because at CC, the day before or the night before the test, I was like, “let me just like scan this,” and I’d do totally fine. And that has given me sort of …

BC: False confidence?

AT: Yeah. So when I came here my first quarter, I think I didn’t do as well as I liked. But I couldn’t figure out why until winter quarter. I bombed my 41 test, my midterm. And then I was like … And so I think it’s a very important … There’s definitely a transition period when you come from CC to UCLA, because I heard from other people that there is this transition period but I always thought “it’s like BS. There’s no such thing as that.” But …

BC: I’m built different.

AT: Like these people have skill issue. And I’m just better but I didn’t realize in my winter quarter, I actually, at that time, was currently going through it. So I don’t know if you have that transition period. Did you have it?

BC: I don’t think I have it as much as other people. First quarter here, I would say most things went pretty well with the first week already started pretty well. I think the most I have … what’s called … I was not sure how much of the materials I learned from CC is going to translate to UC. But then after a week or two of going to class. I’m like, “these are kind of the things I already learned before so I guess I’m fine.”

AT: So basically no transition period for this man because he’s built different. Because he’s built different. So since you’re built so different, Brandon, many on this podcast have touched on a topic of having imposter syndrome. Do you know what that is?

BC: Yeah.

AT: So …

BC: What’s that face you’re making?

AT (laughing): Have you sort of experienced that? It doesn’t have to necessarily be now, I’m saying in general, through your higher education journey.

BC: I will say I may be the fortunate few to not have really experienced it before.

AT: Ugh …

BC: She is rolling her eyes. She can clearly see the back of her head right now.

AT: I mean …

BC: Hey, but that’s just to show how good the CC program has prepared me. Okay, depends on the school. Go to Mt. Sac.

AT: I don’t think it has anything to do with CC. I think this man is just built different. Like I’ve stated in the beginning of the podcast.

BC: No, CC helped. Bro like, do you know how much material my two econ classes, macro and micro helped from CC to here. Like up until 101, the stuff mentioned there are still coming up.

AT: How do you remember that?

BC: I don’t know.

AT: I just forget. Okay. But thing is, bro has no imposter syndrome. So I want to talk about my imposter syndrome because basically, I don’t know how to … I’ll just tell you. So impostor syndrome in general, if the listeners don’t know, it’s sort of like …

BC: You’re in a place you don’t think you deserve to be.

AT: Yeah. So I constantly started to think that way when I came to UCLA, cause I know I changed my tactics on how I approached the UC app. But seeing all these smart people, like the person in front of me, makes me have impostor syndrome. No, not just you. But it’s sort of a mentality game where you need to know that you have your worth. Like there’s a reason why you got picked into this school and especially with a major like Business Econ, where they only take 10% of …

BC: Wait what? 10% of what?

AT: The total people that applied.

BC: Oh, like from CC to Pre-Biz Econ.

AT: Yeah.

BC: Oh, really?

AT: Yeah.

BC: Oh, shoot.

AT: So you know, looking at those statistics, I was like, “No way, they’re gonna pick me. No way because they’re gonna pick me.” So I sort of had to go through this …

BC: Self doubt?

AT: Yeah, just a bad, bad cycle of self doubt. So I think currently, it’s gotten a little bit better. But I’m still sometimes having a little bit of self doubt, especially with CS (computer science) when there’s so many cracked people at it and you’re just over here …

BC: Good thing I’m not CS.

AT: But I think having a solid group of friends that don’t exactly judge you and also are willing to help you, I think is mainly the reason why I’m still mentally stable. It’s very important for you to hang out with the people that make you feel grounded, rather than always up in the air. You’re like, you don’t know what’s next and it could be toxic or something similar to that. You know, it’s okay. It’s okay. Some people just built different and maybe I’m just not cut out for that.

BC: Nah, nah, nah.

AT: But anyway, now, one last thing, before we sort of end this episode. Do you have any tips for anyone who is currently transferring to a four year university and just any tips that you think would help them: application, mentality, friends, curriculum, anything.

BC: So let’s see, there’s a lot to talk about, I’ll just kind of go off of what I have in my mind right now. One is, start early so you don’t have to worry about it later. Coming from me, that’s ironic. You don’t have to start when the application opens, you can just look at the essay prompt and start with the essays already since that’s probably the most time consuming one anyway. As for a point, to start, just pick the essay prompt you want to write the most about. Well, I mean, writing this kind of thing, I don’t like writing anyway. So just pick something you’re interested or at least you know you can write a lot about. So you can have to the content to write more than what you actually think you need and then just cut down from there, shrink it, make it more concise. Only bring out the essence of it at the end. And probably I will say also try to promote your strength and advantages within every essay that you write. Because at the end of the day, they are not looking for your personal story. They just want to see why they should accept you. Your story does not matter. You’re not a human. You’re a number for them.

AT: Dang, okay. Um, I don’t know what to say.

BC: I mean, going back. Just try to talk about your strengths within each essay that you write. Start with essay … If you are not starting your application, if you just got into CC, try to do things you haven’t done before, while you’re in high school. So, if you’ve never had a job before, try to get a job. If you’re never in sports clubs, or whatever clubs before, try to get into a club. Test out the water, get out of your comfort zone. Do some fun things. Just while you’re studying, also try to enjoy yourself. Try to work with your counselors, if you have any. At least go there like a few times before deciding if they’re good or not. For people who are afraid or thinking that they will get imposter syndrome, or in the process of getting impostor syndrome right now, remember that your CC is certified to be transferable to a UC. The classes you take can be looked at as an equivalent to UC classes. So if you pass those classes, you will probably do fine at least with those types of classes here at UC, or whatever UC’s or whatever colleges you’re transferring to. So if you can finish those classes, you’re basically halfway through the process of going to the UC, you just need to finish your application and be selected. Yeah, that’s kind of what I have so far. And if you’re in high school, or thinking about going to CC, don’t be afraid to just go to the CC. It saves money. The chance of you going into a four year after CC compared to high school, I would say probably increases by a good amount, especially if your school has programs that have some type of connection with other four years, like a TAG, a TAP or whatever other private universities have. So yeah, utilize whatever resources you have.

AT: Very, very solid points. I agree. And lastly, I sort of wanted to end it off by saying that it’s okay if you’re struggling. Just know that if you get one bad grade, it’s not the end of the world.

BC: Oh yeah, C’s get degrees.

AT: That’s not what you’re …

BC: Oh what, no?

AT: Coming from a person who gets really good grades. So, as long as you are willing to improve, you’re willing to sort of be better. I think that bad grade that you got is actually a good thing for you, it’s sort of like a lesson for you in a way. So I just wanted to end it off here and firstly say thank you, Brandon for coming on to the podcast. You were a joy to have. And I hope that maybe in the future you want to come on to my future mini series?

BC: Well, we’ll see about that.

AT: And I hope for the audience that you were able to take something away from our conversation as this was from a different perspective of the transfer application process. This is Ashley Tsao, and tune in next time for the next episode of The Transfer Take. Thank you.

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