Students Share What They Have Learned
By Abbey Kingsbury
Transferring to a four-year college requires more than good grades and extracurricular activities. There exists a convoluted obstacle course between students and their desired college which involves endless paperwork, meetings and navigating the twisted labyrinth of the administrative bureaucracy. Berkeley City College has many resources for transfers but not all of them are necessarily advertised. Occasionally, students even claim to be misled by counselors who provide inadequate information. It seems as though there is no algorithm for success as a transfer — no clear set of steps one can ascend. However, the BCC Voice compiled a few pro tips and tricks to provide some guidance and structure for transfer students who are trying to find their way.
Some of students’ biggest questions arise in the beginning of the transfer process. What is the first step towards transferring? When asked this question, Arman Safarian, who works the front desk in the academic counseling office on the second floor, said, “For my job, I would say ‘schedule an appointment with an academic counselor,’ but as a student, my advice would be to go to assist.org.” Assist.org is exactly what academic counselors reference during an appointment. If you enter your community college information, in articulation with whichever campus you aim to transfer to, along with your area of study, the website will provide a list of classes that are required for that major as well as any classes offered at BCC that could satisfy those requirements. If meeting with a counselor is not immediate enough, the real first step is to check assist.org.
Another fundamental component of the transfer process is taking the required courses. In the academic counseling office on the second floor there is a form called the IGETC, which stands for “Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum.” The form leads you through the classes you must take in order to transfer to either a University of California or California State University campus as a junior. This is a crucial piece of paperwork for transfers; however, its role in the process can be less than straight forward. There are some courses on the IGETC that are not actually required for transferring to a specific UC, or any UC for that matter, because the IGETC is meant for those who are applying to a range of UC and CSU campuses. If this sounds like your situation, then it would be a good idea to follow the IGETC verbatim and then verify your IGETC certification.
Academic counselors are available to guide students through a more in-depth explanation of the transfer process. However, when speaking with Grace Treffinger, a former BCC student who transferred to UC Berkeley in 2016, she admitted that she “got the wrong information on filling requirements, but resolved the issue because [she] met with two different advisors and asked them both the same questions — one at BCC and the other at Berkeley.” She suggests verifying information from BCC counselors with UC Berkeley counselors. However, it is often difficult to get a time to meet with these counselors. “Seriously,” said Treffinger, “keep a folder together with all of your forms, transfer documents, etcetera, and a running list of questions for your advisor so you don’t forget them before you meet.” She emphasizes asking questions, including asking about “what questions you might be missing.” Academic advisors can also help you with your admissions essay. “I completely rewrote my essays the night before [the application deadline] because of [an academic advisor’s] advice,” said Treffinger. Long story short: do your own research in order to make meeting with academic advisors as productive as possible.
BCC students are also eligible for the school’s Cross Enrollment Program. This opportunity is not only valuable to the transfer process, but can enhance your academic experience in general. Treffinger, who took classes concurrently at UC Berkeley while at BCC, strongly suggests doing so. As a member of the Peralta Community College District, you have the opportunity to enroll in classes at UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay, and Mills. You have to be enrolled at least half time at BCC in order to take these classes, but they are a great opportunity to knock out some lower division requirements before you transfer. You can find the cross-enrollment form on the second floor in the Academic Counseling office. Another handy resource is the UC TAP. TAP stands for Transfer Admissions Planner and it is just a handy tool to keep track of classes you’re taking and plan to take.
Lastly, one of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from the transfer experience is that the UC Berkeley campus is a great resource. Doe Library, Bechtel, and the East Asian Library are open to the public, allowing immersion into the campus study culture in order to become acquainted with a possible future school. You can also sit in on most UC Berkeley lectures, which is a good way to figure out what you want to major in. For cross-enrollment students, a Cal ID is provided, which allows access to other libraries, like Moffitt, as well as gym access and student discounts around town. Although the transfer process is not easy, given the choice, I would do it again. Above all: take advantage of your resources and communicate with your fellow students. If it were not for my classmates at BCC, I would not be as well off in the transfer process.
- Consult assist.org
- Determine if IGETC is right for you
- Complete as many lower division major requirements possible
- Take classes at four year colleges and universities through the cross-enrollment program at BCC
- Organize your paperwork and draft constructive questions for academic advising sessions. Meet with counselors from both BCC and your college of choice, if possible. Ask for help editing your admissions essay
- Check out UC TAP
- Take advantage of our neighbor, UC Berkeley’s libraries, classes and other resources
- Never stop asking questions and verifying information; it’s a process!