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Transfer Students Should Never Feel Embarrassed

I hear this time and again from transfer students who often feel embarrassed about coming from a community college:  How will I be perceived when I transfer to a UC?  Am I going to be looked down on?

It’s time to put those insecurities to rest. Transfer students, in general, are not looked down on at any UC. I say “in general” because there will always be some entitled jerk who finds reasons to look down on his or her brethren for various reasons. Just be aware that those kind of sentiments are always in play to mask personal insecurities.

Transfer students I’ve spoken with, or read about, almost uniformly report they felt welcome at their UC after transfer and have not run into problems of segregation. Of course, if you dwell on the negative (in other words, if you’re looking for it), it surely might come back to bite you.

I would like to pass on a couple of examples:

  • Studies have consistently shown transfer students to a UC graduate with a GPA comparable to their native (freshmen) counterparts; additionally, the GPA at the community college more or less remains the same once at a UC.
  • Next, from anecdotal information, I tend to cluster most of the transfer belittling to a distinct sub-group of students. These are usually the ones in selective STEM majors (oftentimes math or engineering). They undoubtedly were the shining stars at their high school, the stand-out math whiz, and they’re used to winning. Lo and behold, they transfer to UC Berkeley and come face-to-face with the math prodigies.  Suddenly, rather than being top dog, they’re consistently relegated to the middle of the pack.  And they have no social life as the workload is excessive.  You either go with the flow, or you become bitter.  It must be said that most students are not like this, but there will always be that small contingent that needs to find someone to begrudge because they are unhappy with their situation.  So when you run into this attitude, I can almost guarantee those students are not happy with their lot. (So maybe they need your condolences.)

To round out this discussion, be aware that having gone to a community college will not affect your job prospects later.  If you made it to a UC you obviously have the chops. You may have overcome obstacles that show grit and determination.  If you have internships and show general leadership during your two or three years at the UC (as well as optional strong GPA), you will always be in the winner’s circle.

Below is an op-ed rebuttal to a Facebook post last May, in which a student griped about transfer students at UC Berkeley and noted that community colleges should not exist. It’s worth a read:


Op-ed: A response to the UC Berkeley student who said community colleges should not exist

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Lindy is an independent UC admissions consultant, who works with both transfers and freshmen. She also has just completed her first novel, a supernatural thriller set in San Francisco.

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