Private school transfers dropping

Pierce College leads the district with overall transfer rates to public California institutions, however transfer rates to private and elite universities are low nationwide.

According to the LACCD Office of Institutional Research, in 2012, 4,628 students transferred from one of the district’s nine colleges to a California public institution. Of those students, 1,247 were from Pierce College, about 27 percent of all transfers.

“I think we have a really strong Transfer Center. We have really good career counselors who do a good job of helping students find out what options are available,” Pierce counselor David Turcotte said. “Primarily, it’s our counselors who do an amazing job of informing our students about how to transfer. Our transfer director does an amazing job working with our counselors and staff.”

According to Turcotte, transferring from a California community college to an in-state public university is considered easier because of the standardized requirements of general education. Most UC’s accept IGETC certification, and most CSU’s take the CSU Breadth, both achievable at all LACCs, according to Assist.org.

“LACCD has agreements with UCs and CSUs that many of our students take advantage of,” Turcotte said. “Those type of degrees make it extremely easy for our students to transfer. I don’t know that we have as many agreements with private schools. It doesn’t mean we don’t articulation agreements, because we do, I just think students prefer to take advantage of other agreements.”

Private and elite universities have different, non-standard articulation agreements, in addition to a higher level of requirements and limited space for enrollment.

Pierce College has special articulation agreements with private and specialized colleges, such as Loyola Marymount University, USC, FIDM, USF, as well as out-of-state universities Kansas, Oregon and Arizona State.

In 2016, 649 LACCD students transferred to in-state private schools, 113 of them Pierce students, according to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

Though Pierce has one of the highest transfer rates in the district, Dean of Student Services William Marmolejo said that enrollment numbers at Pierce have been lower than previous years.

“I believe our enrollment numbers are little off,” Marmolejo said. “District-wide, they have been flat all year. Students are working full time or caring for their families; they are just finding other things to do.”

Turcotte said that low enrollment means that there is a low amount of students coming in, which could eventually affect the transfer rate.

“You need students to start and finish programs. Not every student who starts at Pierce will finish their degree or area of study,” Turcotte said. “But we are working hard to keep enrollment up. And we are doing a better job every year to inform students and keep transfer rates up.”

Private and elite universities have low acceptance rates overall. Stanford, Columbia, Harvard and Princeton accept between 5 to 7 percent of freshman applicants, according to US News.

Chances of transferring to these universities from a community college are low. According to the LA Times, Princeton hasn’t accepted a transfer student in two decades, and Stanford enrolled 15 in 2015. Furthermore, a large percentage of these transfers are Ivy League to Ivy League, US News states.

Recently, private universities such as NYU and USC have taken initiative and are scouting community college students to diversify ethnic and socioeconomic demographics.

USC, the tenth most applied to school in the United States, according to US News, accepts the most transfer admissions among the elite private schools in the country with 1,500 a year, the LA Times reported. Cornell University followed with 497.

According to the Pierce College website, Pierce has the highest transfer rates to CSUN and had a 90 percent acceptance rate to UCLA in fall 2015 through the honors program.

The period to apply for spring 2018 transfer admission to CSUs is from Aug. 1 to 31. Deadline to apply for CSU fall 2018 transfer admission is Nov. 30. Deadline to apply for UC transfer is Nov. 30.