By Gabriela Gutierrez
Alumni Luis Alvarez and Claudia Buenfil break the transfer process stigma by talking with students about their personal transfer experiences.
Buenfil, who works at the Transfer Center at ELAC, told students that it is never too early or too late to start going to the Transfer Center.
“Come visit us as early as you can. There is always the misconception that the transfer process should start on your last semester at ELAC, or even your last year, but no, it starts the first day you step onto ELAC. We want to make sure that you are taking those classes. We want to make sure that you know about those requirements and [that] you are on the right path to transfer out,” Buenfil said.
In retrospect, Buenfil said that it is never too late either.
She said the ELAC Transfer Center is a resource that has already been paid for and students should not hesitate to use that resource regardless of where they stand.
Alvarez echoed Buenfil’s advice.
He said although the application process was difficult for him, he had friends who had already undergone the transfer process and they helped him through it.
He said he knows not everyone may know someone who has transferred, but that is where the ELAC transfer center can step in.
Buenfil said she agreed with Alvarez on the difficulty and complexity of the filling out the transfer application.
“The transfer application is very complex. Let’s say you make a little mistake, it can cost you. Don’t do the application on your own. That’s why we are here as mentors, to really guide you through the application. Remember you don’t have to do it alone,” Buenfil said.
Buenfil said the Transfer Center helps students with the step-by-step process of the application, including the essay portions.
They also help with scholarship applications.
The transfer process entails the application, but it also entails the transition process from community college to a UC or California State University.
After transferring, Buenfil joined a sorority at the University of California, Irvine.
This helped her feel more at home.
She built connections and was able to meet people who are now her best friends while attending UCI.
Alvarez said he did not have the privilege to do much to assimilate to the University of California, Los Angeles because he attended during the pandemic.
He said he commuted, which also made it tough for him to feel at home at UCLA.
Alvarez chose his major in political science because he wasn’t able to take a necessary course at ELAC for a major in economics. Economics was his first choice.
The economics major is an impacted major at UCLA.
An impacted major is when universities get more candidates than they have room for, so they have to be more selective.
Because of this, Alvarez said he got in with political science instead.
“UC’s are very strict when it comes to competitive majors or impacted majors. You have to take a specific class by a specific semester at ELAC. For UCLA I had to finish up to calculus two prior to transferring. I knew I was not going to meet that goal,” Alvarez said.
One of the reasons Alvarez chose UCLA was because of how close to home it was for him. He said he wanted to save money by commuting, and advised students to apply for scholarships because a lot of that money goes unused if not enough students apply.
“For anyone who is planning to transfer, I strongly suggest you apply for scholarships. There is a lot of money, especially for scholarships, that goes unused. Just go for it. I applied [for] a scholarship and I got a $5,000 scholarship,” Alvarez said.
Through the Transfer Center, Buenfil said students can compare their financial aid awards with different schools to see where they can receive the most money.
They can make a pros and cons list, evaluate housing options or simply talk out their choices as well.
“Sometimes, what I find is that students just need someone to support [them] and talk to [them] or really just get advice. That is one way that we can help as well,” Buenfil said.
Alvarez and Buenfil both transferred to the University of California after attending ELAC.
Having gone through the transfer process themselves, they gave advice to students on what to expect when transferring.