Pierce helps transfer fears into opportunities

Reported by: Aaron Estrada, Maja Losinska 

Instead of ghosts and monsters, perhaps college students’ greatest fear is transferring—or rather how to pay for it.

Students found some relief at Pierce’s annual Transfer Day and College Fair on Halloween, as counselors helped explain the ways to apply for financial aid. The event, held in the Great Hall, also provided the opportunity to meet representatives from colleges and universities across the country to help them narrow their future education and transfer possibilities.

Transfer Center Director Sunday Salter highlighted the importance of having a FAFSA booth at the event.

“We have a lot of students who have a fear of applying to transfer because they think that they will not be able to afford it,” Salter said. “Often, what they do not realize is that when you do your FAFSA, the year before you transfer, you have to list every school that you want to apply to.”

Financial Aid Director Anafe Robinson, along with her team, were present for the first time with iPads to give step-by-step guidance to students in filling out FAFSA information.

“We teamed up with Sunday Salter to set this up,” Robinson said. “If they have issues or challenges on how to upload their documents or complete their application, today is the day for us to help them with a hands-on approach.”

Salter addressed the reason and need for this first-time addition and what it hopes to address. 

More than just transfer information was provided as California State University Northridge’s Josefina Gudino the Advisor for AIMS² , a program for students pursuing a major in Engineering and Computer Science.

“It is important for us to come out and let students know what we are doing, the program and about opportunities that they have upon coming to CSUN,” Gudino said. 

Alexis Smith from the Pierce Transfer Center empowered students by providing current information on workshops, peer mentorship opportunities and connections with universities.

“We offer drop-in hours for students to get physical assistance on applications, we do resume help. We also have not only transfer services, but we have career services too.”

Smith said that there’s a high attendance for the workshops offered by Transfer Center.

“We do a lot of marketing throughout campus, whether that’s having posters or us going physically out, handing in and letting students know,” Smith said.

Taking the advantage of having representatives from campuses around the country conveniently in one spot, students were also provided with snacks, live music and prizes.

Students like Construction Management Major Taylor Bridge know all too well how available majors affect transfer decisions. Bridge took the opportunity to get quality interaction with his school of choice CSUN.

“My major is a little more niche,” Bridge said. “They are actually one of the few schools in the country that have a specific major dedicated to Construction Management.” 

The benefits for college fairs are far from one-sided, as UCLA Arts representative Nikki Klepper explained

“UCLA Arts is a small visual performing arts professional school on UCLAs campus,” Klepper said. “We have five different Bachelor of Arts programs, and we have a separate application process and portfolio requirement and we are here to talk about that.”

Maximiliano Trujillo from Mount Saint Mary, a predominantly all girls campus, also shared his experience with transfer fairs.

“Actually, a lot of males inquire with us,” Trujillo said. “They have never heard of us, so they just assume that we’re a typical co-ed school which gives us the opportunity to explain to them we do offer programs in nursing, as well as night and weekend classes for them in business.”

Students also had the opportunity to partake in scavenger hunt of sorts. Upon arrival, they could take a sheet of paper to be signed by eight different booths that they visited to receive a raffle ticket giving them the opportunity to win $100 visa gift card. 

As long as there are students looking to further their educational pursuits and transfer to other colleges, there will always be a need for transfer events like this and Pierce is more than happy to continue to provide.

Aaron Guillory, who attended the College Fair last year, represents Pacific Coast College and he advocated for the ultimate learning style through pedagogy. He said it allows students to collaborate and they don’t believe in test-taking methods.

“Pedagogy is a square type of environment where students can see each other,” Guillory said. “A professor will convey, then study a topic and enforces to collaborate and debate with other fellow classmates to get better in retaining information. We have come across many intelligent students.”

Guillory said that a traditional learning environment is constantly changing every year and offers an alternative approach. According to Guillory, there are several alumni who currently work at Pierce College.

Lauren Lewis came to represent Philadelphia Drexel University, which offers 80 different undergraduate majors and currently has about 15 thousand undergraduate students.

“We’ve had a few Pierce College students come. We do get a good number of students from California area,” Lewis said.

According to Lewis, students get to do six months work experience where they work full-time in their industry.

“We’re always advocating for them to be paid because they’re doing worthwhile a meeting for work,” Lewis said.

Sarah Promnitz is an outreach counsellor from CalPoly Pomona and encouraged Pierce students to get to know more about what they offer.

“We’re all about learning by doing. If you want to get out of the classroom and apply your knowledge in some way,” Promnitz said.

Pierce College business major student Jenny Gomez said that the event was one of the highlights of her day.

“It encouraged me to do more research on colleges and universities because I didn’t realize there were so many. Now I feel like I have so many options to choose from,” Gomez said.

Even if students are not planning to transfer next year, It’s good to stay informed and collect the information that’s provided, according to Gomez.

“The number of colleges that came in was incredible,” Gomez said. “I took a lot of flyers and talked to a lot of representatives. I’m glad Pierce hosts events like this because it makes it so much easier to decide where or what you want to study.”