Transferring made easier through Saturday Academy

The Transfer Center is encouraging students to trade in a lazy Saturday for a day at University of California, Los Angeles, where they can learn about the resources available to help them transfer successfully.

The Spring Saturday Academy, on April 22 at UCLA, is open to all Pierce students.

According to UCLA-Pierce College Program Coordinator Cherry Lai, the event is expected to have a turnout of about 400 students from community colleges in the Los Angeles area.

Pierce is providing transportation and breakfast to its students attending, but registration for the event is required.

Lai said there will be various workshops throughout the day that she hopes will help students feel more comfortable with the possibility of transferring.

“Some of the workshops we will have are about transitioning from community colleges to a university, leadership opportunities, study abroad programs, research opportunities and internships,” Lai said in a phone interview.

Lai also said that students who attend the event will be able to interact with students and professors at UCLA who can provide insight and additional information on the transfer process. While the event takes place at UCLA, Lai said that the information covered applies to all of the UC schools.

“We encourage students to apply widely,” Lai said. “The purpose of the workshop is for students to understand what resources are available at the UCs and get ready to apply to the UCs.”

According to Lai, there will also be workshops where students can learn about financial aid opportunities.

“Many students think that the UCs may be too expensive,” Lai said. “So there will be resources to help with financial aid.”

She said that the Spring Saturday Academy is part of UCLA’s Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP) Scholars Program.

She also said that the event is open to all students, but there are other resources that the program provides exclusively to students who are signed up in the CCCP Scholars Program.

Students who sign up for the program go to the three academies that are offered throughout the year, after attending a summer program at UCLA. They will then be paired with a peer mentor who went through the process of transferring from a community college to UCLA.

The mentors will help the students through the application process and answer any questions they have about transferring.

“The peer mentors are there to guide and empower students,” Lai said.

UCLA student and peer mentor Tania Carrillo transferred to UCLA from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif. She said that when she was in the program, it was helpful to have a mentor who had been through the same thing that she was trying to do.

“The whole program really gives you the tools to be successful as a transfer student,” Carrillo said. “In addition to being their mentor, we are also their peers. We try to build that connection and trust because we understand the process.”

Another UCLA student and peer mentor Armando Lizarraga said that when he started out at El Camino College in Torrance, he felt lost in regards to transferring.

“It makes me happy to help students find their place on campus and guide them through the transfer process because it was difficult for me to do that before I became a scholar,” Lizarraga said.

First-year English student at Pierce Nicole Medina said that while she isn’t sure which UC campus she wants to transfer to, she is definitely interested in attending the Spring Saturday Academy and signing up for the CCCP Scholars Program.

“I like the idea of having a mentor when the time comes for me to apply to transfer,” Medina said. “Having someone to answer all of my questions and review my application sounds really helpful.”