Event for transferring students lends a hand to help find the right college

Incoming Latino transfer students listened while in a workshop called, "I'm new here, beginning the transfer process." The workshop took place in the Flintridge Room. Emily Pierce/Photographer

CSUN Raza Transfer Day, hosted on May 2 by the Chicano/a Graduate Student Association, is an event held each year with the hope of providing students with the tools necessary to successfully transfer to a four-year college of their choice.

“We feel like there is not enough outreach for these students,” said Elizabeth Luna, a CSUN Chicano/a studies graduate student. “Those are the students that fall through the pipeline. Those are the students that end up not transferring to a four-year university.”

Saturday’s program also offered students tips on how to cope with moving from their smaller community college campus to a larger university campus, even if it’s just a matter of finding out where the different buildings are, Luna said.

“You can get lost in the shuffle,” said Donna Randolph, student representative in the CSUN Equity and Student Affairs Committee. “Some of our workshops focus on different aspect of the four-year university and transferring in the process.”

Workshops in financial aid and scholarships, for example, showed students how to navigate the seemingly complicated process to receive help paying for college.

Dr. Terri Gomez, a community college transfer student herself and now department chair of ethnic and women’s studies at Cal Poly Pomona, said about 80 percent of community college students aspire to transfer. Of those students, less than 20 percent ever make it through the doors of a four-year university as a student.

“And if you’re a student of color, only 14 [percent] will ever transfer,” Gomez said. “It’s really important that institutions of higher ed — particularly CSUs and UCs — take some responsibility for how we create transfer receptive cultures on our campus.”

Gomez praises students who have gone through the community college process. Above all, Gomez said, she wishes to dispel the myth that university professors do not view transfer students as students who can succeed.

About 35 Allan Hancock College students from Santa Maria and Lompoc attended Saturday’s event. The trip to CSUN is one of the services the Santa Barbara community college transfer center provides.

Pam Storie, an employee Allan Hancock’s transfer center, feels events like Raza Transfer Day gives students the opportunity to leave their immediate area and see what’s “out in the big, wide world, so to speak,” she said.

“And they get a student perspective, and they get to see the campus,” Storie said.

For Abigail Orozco, 20, an anthropology major at Oxnard College, Saturday’s event gave her an opportunity to find out the differences between UC and CSU schools, as far as academic programs, clubs, resources and services.

“It’s really cool to get out and really explore opportunities offered to everybody, from CSU to UC,” Orozco said. “All if you need is a question. It may not be the right question to you, but if you talk to the right people you can build up a conversation and establish a connection.”