April 5, 2009 12:14 AM

For the prospective transfer students

This is a pivotal time for many of you prospective transfers still in anticipation for an answer from the "Big Guys" at Cal. As a transfer student myself, I will speak about the main differences that I have noticed between the two types of educational institutions. I posted this in a previous blog but I will give a simplified version here.

Disclaimer: My perspective is based strictly on my 3 years of experience at Ohlone College and my 1.5 semesters at Berkeley. I will give the Pro's and the Con's of Berkeley in retrospect of Ohlone. The bad should be taken in with the good equally.

Pro's:
1. The resources and opportunities are endless!
Having trouble finding an internship? A job? Lab experience maybe? Whatever you need to enhance your college experience, Berkeley seems to have mastered making such opportunities available and seemingly endless. You can find them everywhere: the career center, your major department. You can get on listservs and have updated information emailed to you about internships, jobs, research assistant openings, keynote talks, etc. It's immense what Berkeley has to offer.
2. Specialized attention
Have specific concerns as a transfer student? Go to the Transfer Re-Entry Student Parent (TRSP) Center located in Lower Sproul. They offer special classes for transitioning to life at Berkeley and can connect you to other transfer students that came/are in a similar situation to you. One really cool program that they have is the Starting Point Program. I wish I had known about it when I was at Ohlone. It basically matches a prospective community college student with a current Berkeley transfer student. The purpose of matching them is to give the prospective student a real idea of what it's like to be a student at Berkeley. They are usually paired by major and even community college.

Con's:
1. Not enough time!
With all the endless opportunities, I personally feel it is impossible to fit it all in, or even just the things I'm interested in. Those who come in as freshmen have 4 years to take advantage of it all. Transfers have 2 years, 3 tops. With that said, you need to be highly selective with your time and you have to hit the ground running. There is little opportunity to mess around and party, as tempting as it is. You are competing for the experiences that will make you stand above everyone who else who may have had more time to build their resumes. You need to build relationships with professors, you need to fit in semester long internships or RA ships, you may want to fit in a semester abroad. Again, hit the ground running!
2. I tried the dorm situation this year for the experience. And while there were a few notable benefits, I definitely will not be dorming again next year. To give it a fair game, I enjoyed the experience because I saved time by avoiding 2 hours worth of commuting a day. In addition, it allowed me to experience more of the student life as far as club activities, hanging out with friends, and the almost unavoidable parties. But in the end, being a transfer student pressed for time to fit in as much as possible, all the NOISE got in the way. There are people partying ALL THE TIME and it sucks when I need quiet time to write a paper or study for an exam or just sleep! But that's college, people are going to do what they want and you've gotta learn to deal with it.

Hope this helps and best of luck to those of you still waiting for an answer from the "Big Guys."


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