Let’s be honest, transfer students experiences are quite different and unique from freshman experiences.
And yes, you do not get to live in resident halls and bond with your Resident Advisers and hall mates, but that does not mean that you cannot have an amazing experience as a transfer or meet people and make potentially long, lasting friendships and memories.
Transfer students typically stay two to three years in University and they start already having an idea of their future career path, so that is definitely an advantage in my opinion. The experience you have as a transfer student depends on you and how willing you are to make the best of the time you have at UCI.
Here are some tips from my experience as a transfer student to help you succeed:
1. Believe in yourself, your uniqueness and what you have to offer
Everyone needs to remember this because there are days when you might not feel as academically strong as your peers, but remembering that you were admitted into UCI, means the Admissions Office believes in you, believes that you will perform well academically and that you will be a benefit to the school.
2. Give yourself time to adjust to the quarter system
Almost every current transfer student at UCI will tell you that the transitioning period from semester system at community college to quarter system at UCI is usually the fall quarter of the school year. This is because everything is new, and fast pace, so giving yourself time to adjust and adapt to the quarter system will help you in successive quarters.
3. Time Management
This is a big one! To really get the most out of UCI, do well in your academics and still have down time to have fun with friends, you really need to manage your time wisely. I use calendars to plan out my schedule, that way I can see all I have to do in a week and also know the free times I have in my schedule. If you do not plan your time wisely, you will constantly wish there is more time in a day because 24 hours is just never enough.
4. Join a Club, Sorority, Fraternity and more
Join a club, sorority or fraternity that you like and will be an active member in. Joining clubs during your first quarter is the best way to meet people and get to know them. Also every quarter, sororities and fraternities are recruiting new members, so if that is something you are interested in, look into it and start early, preferably your fall or winter quarter as a transfer student.
You will find that in some classes, you just need outside help understanding the subject, so take advantage of tutoring programs such as LARC tutoring, and peer tutoring which is usually organized by your school on specific subjects.
6. Office Hours
Everyone always says go to office hours and although you might hear it way too much, there is so much truth to the statement – attending office hours lets a professor get to know you. Especially for transfers, if you are wondering how to make yourself stand out from the crowd, or you want a teacher to remember you and your name, go to their office hours, and have conversations with them. And when it comes time to apply to grad school or professional school, the professor will be able to write a personalized letter of recommendation for you.
7. Sleep Less, Study More
This is an advice that has been given to me, both by my Mom and my professors. As a college student, you typically should not be getting eight hours of sleep every day because some of those hours you spend sleeping is taking away from the hours you should be studying. Especially during midterms and finals week, if you find yourself sleeping that much, then you definitely need to evaluate how many hours per day you put into studying.
8. Study Effectively
Learn your study style and habits because everyone studies differently. If the study style that worked for you at your community college does not work for you here at UCI, make note of it and find ways to change or improve your study habits. It is all about growth. By studying effectively and maximizing your time, you will gain in the end and your grades will thank you for it.<
9. Internships/ Volunteering/Research
These are really good ways to get hands-on experience in your field. Also, it helps you figure out the aspect of the field you like versus dislike; I say better to know now than after specializing in that field. So I would recommend looking into internships or volunteering or research as soon as you can balance your school work with everything else going on in your life. You never know, you might get a full time job offer from that company after graduating.
10. Find your niche / making friends
It is always great to find your niche at UCI, that way it makes UCI more than just a school, it makes UCI a home away from home. Having friends at UCI really helps because knowing that if you are having a bad day. It is nothing short of amazing when you can talk about your day with your buddies and feel better. Out of state students, international students and NorCal students, finding your niche will make you enjoy UCI that much more.
11. Have Fun
Yes, I know transfer students are halfway done, and they start UCI thinking of what’s next like maintaining a good GPA, applying to grad school, professional school or work right after graduation. While it is important to work towards your future, DO NOT forget to have fun during your time at UCI. Enjoy life, meet people from around the world, and make lasting memories. Work hard, play hard!!
Do not underestimate yourself and do not spread yourself thin. Do what you love!