Tales of a College Transfer Student

A question I hear a lot from other students on campus is, “You’re a transfer student? I thought you always went here!” This is all due to the fact that I made the most out of my time at UC Davis as a transfer student from Orange Coast College. Here are three of my best tips for transfer students on how to maximize the opportunities at UC Davis. 

I chose UC Davis as a Political Science Student because of the friendliness of the campus and proximity to California's capital. I knew Davis would give me the opportunity to experience policy work being so close to Sacramento and the research experience that being at a UC institution allows students to have.

students move into campus housing

Live in student housing

First and foremost, if it’s within your budget I strongly recommend living in student housing for your first year at UC Davis. If you do not know anyone at Davis, this can be a great way to make new friends. You also get to connect with your resident advisor (RA); they are an excellent resource for navigating your first quarter. They will host events (pre-pandemic) where you can socialize with other students who live in student housing.

The dining commons are great perks for living in student housing because you do not have to worry about meal prepping and it is the best way to meet new people on campus. 

In general, housing and UC Davis host a lot of welcome events in the Fall Quarter for incoming freshmen and transfer students. I know sometimes it may feel tiresome, or maybe you are scared you won’t find other transfer students at those events, but chances are you will! 

space and satellite systems student club member

Join a club

Second, and most importantly... GET INVOLVED! I know you all are probably tired of hearing this from community college groups or clubs, now is the time to join a club or organization on campus. This is an important step toward getting the most out of your two years because finding a club or organization that fits your interests can help you advance in the career you want to pursue after graduation. You also meet like-minded individuals, who can bring you lifelong friendship or a great networking opportunity for the future.

Most clubs offer scholarships, internships, mentorship programs, or opportunities for their members. Check out which club might be of interest to you on the AggieLife website.

Personally, I have been involved in Ignite, Davis College Democrats, UC Advocacy Network, and La Raza Pre-Law Student Association. I am currently one of the co-presidents for La Raza Pre-Law Student Association and it is amazing to be part of such an amazing organization on campus. Our board currently consists of three transfer students.

malaquias montoya mural student community center

Find your community 

Lastly, take advantage of every resource on campus. You have no idea how many students (whether they’re transfer students or not) don’t know what’s available to them, both at the community college and the university level.

At UC Davis, building a culture of inclusion and opportunity takes real effort. The leaders and volunteers of our many student organizations work year-round to help undergraduates find their footing, their voice, and each other. They provide counseling, academic, and emotional support during your time at Davis. Go ahead and check one out during your first quarter. Chances are you will find your community in these spaces or even just a cool study spot. No matter what, know that you deserve to have the same college experience as much as any other student on campus.

Alex Olvera is a UC Davis senior majoring in Political Science. She is a member of the Ambassadors of Letters and Science (ALAS) program within the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.

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