San Rafael Plaza was the setting for the semi-annual College Transfer Fair April 1.
Dozens of prospective transfer students had an opportunity to obtain information and speak to representatives from numerous colleges and universities.
Schools represented included UC Irvine, UC Riverside, USC, CSU Northridge, CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Pomona, Pepperdine, National University and Columbia College of Hollywood. Columbia College of Chicago, a school emphasizing the creative arts, was also present.
In the current economic downturn, more students than ever are saving their limited funds by attending community colleges, such as GCC, before transferring to four-year schools to complete their college education.
The economic benefits of starting at community college prior to transfer can be substantial.
According to Kevin Meza, GCC transfer center coordinator, “those who attain a bachelor’s degree earn approximately $29,000 more per year than someone with a high school diploma.”
He indicated that approximate annual tuition for community college is only $500, compared to $2,800 for CSU, $7,500 for UC, and up to $35,000 for private schools.
Amy Mitchell, regional representative for Columbia College of Chicago said, “It’s definitely important that you get a bachelor’s degree.it’s what you need to get a career in life. By taking your general education classes here you can save a lot of money rather than if you had started as a first year student at a four-year college.”
“You typically have more choices when you transfer from community college,” said Meza. “You are able to get into more colleges that way. The UC and Cal State schools try to accommodate as many transfer students as they can. In terms of grades, it’s easier [for transfer students] to get into those schools than for freshmen.”
“Also for most colleges, you don’t need to take the SAT so it’s just going to be your performance in the classroom,” said Meza, “your grades are going to determine your opportunities. It also gives you more time to explore a bit and see what majors you like.”
While transfer students may have it “easier” when it comes to four-year institutions, maintaining a strong grade-point average (GPA) is still important.
“It’s a lot more accessible to apply as a transfer student – for example 75 percent of our students who applied to UC San Diego were admitted. For UCLA, a freshman needs about a 4.1 to 4.2 GPA, but for transfer students a 3.2 GPA makes them very competitive. For the Cal State schools, a 2.0 GPA will guarantee admission to Cal State LA and Northridge. For other UC schools guaranteed admission requires a GPA ranging from 2.7 to 3.2.”
According to Meza, the most popular schools Glendale students transfer to include: Cal State Northridge, Cal State L.A., UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego and USC.
“We provide counseling – that is the main thing, campus tours.arrange representatives from colleges to visit us, college fairs, and in-class presentations to teach the transfer process to students.”
Meza will be leading students on a Northern California college bus tour during spring break to visit UC Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Davis and Berkeley campuses. This year, the tour is filled with 53 students signed up.
In regard to the biggest mistake made by students who want to transfer, Meza said, “A lot of students don’t understand the opportunities they have to gain access to schools that weren’t available to them as freshmen.the mistake they make is that they limit their options. The biggest tip for students is to be sure to take math and English courses early because those classes are important in the college admissions process.”
“It’s never too early to plan, but usually early October is when students need to start preparing their applications if they want to transfer the following fall. Students should come to the Transfer Center as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.”
The Transfer Center is located in San Rafael, 2nd Floor. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
Many additional resources for transfer students can be found through the Transfer Center’s Web site at http://www.glendale.edu/transfercenter/