I needed help transferring. If only there were more counselors…

Transfer Deadlines Got me Like
Illustration by Eduardo Velasquez

I am frustrated with how the Santa Ana College Transfer and Counseling Center handles their students when the time for transferring is close by. 

Last semester when applying to California State University, after not being in school for two years, I found that neither center has sufficient staff nor enough time for online students.  

In the end, it was endless stress circles of not knowing what to do and accessing confusing resources.

The Counseling Center at SAC claims their online website is up to date and that all we need to do as students is make an appointment so they can take care of the rest. But trust me, it’s a lot! 

Depending on the semester start of your school of choice, the counseling center around four months before the deadline is crazy busy. So, it takes a long time to get an appointment. 

After the application deadlines pass, students can get help through phone call, zoom, or an in-person appointment. There are UC and CSU workshops and information sessions available on their website, but not any for the virtual sessions. Like many of my peers, I work full-time and struggle to attend in-person events. You can sign up for updates from the Transfer Center as the due dates come closer, but I found that unless you star the emails, they end up in spam mail. 

Once you declare a major and fill out an educational plan you create a timeline with a counselor that will map how long you’d be at SAC. Then sign up for financial aid (if applicable) or the DREAM Act for students with undocumented status, to aid in tuition.

Students then have to submit an undergraduate application and submit updated grades, set up another appointment with a counselor to submit a graduation petition and a CSU Certification for Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T/ AS-T) majors only with the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum which is a series of courses that California community college students can complete to satisfy most freshman/sophomore-level general education requirements before transferring to UC.

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I went to the counseling center to set up an appointment for a graduation petition online where they had me join a Zoom meeting that lasted less than three minutes just for the counselor to tell me that I am not able to fill out the application through Zoom and it needed to be done in person. 

Next, I tried to set up an appointment with the woman at the front desk for my grad petition, and the date she told me was about three weeks in advance and the deadline was two weeks away. 

The only reason I was able to get all these official documents submitted on time was because my boyfriend is an academic advisor. He saw my frustration as a student actively taking classes with the lack of aid we have at my community college. Thankfully I was able to submit everything on time and we shouldn’t have to rely on outside help to be able to transfer.

Schools should have a designated counselor from the moment they choose their major to the end of their time at SAC. Have workshops available and live sessions accommodated for those who don’t have the time to show up due to their work or personal life. Have more than one college fair a semester, so those who miss the first one can find the next fair, and hire more staff during these stressful times.

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