Through the years, Pierce College has been the jumping off ground for students and now more than ever many are attending junior college.
The class of 2010 was the largest graduating class in the nation, according to Sunday Salter, Director of Transfer Center.
Meanwhile, the economic downturn has deterred those freshmen from attending a four-year university straight out of high school.
“The problem is that they kept acceptance of transfers the same but freshmen were cut now we have more students going to junior college,” said Salter.
However, Pierce has been able to maintain a steady flow of transferring students within the last decade.
Pierce by the Numbers
Every fall semester, University of California, Los Angeles accepts roughly 3000 students from community colleges, according to Claudia Luther, Senior Media Relations Officer for UCLA.
According to data compiled by the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), for the 2000-01 school year 121 Pierce students attended UCLA.
The following year the number dropped to 106 but that has remained the lowest point in the last ten years.
The highest point came in the 2006-07 year, with 179 and for 2009-10, 161 attended.
Likewise, the number of Pierce students attending California State University, Northridge has also remained high with their community college acceptance rate remaining between 3000 and 4000.
For the 2000-01 year, 614 Pierce students transferred to CSUN and not much changed for 2009-10 with 611 attending.
The lowest point came in 2002-03 with 544 yet it continued to increase the following years reaching the highest point in 2005-06 (around the same time as the highest transfers to UCLA) with 772 attending.
Sister schools Los Angeles Mission College and Los Angeles Valley College were in the top ten with 141 LAMC and 158 LAVC students transferring this year.
What does it all mean?
Pierce College is one of the top ten schools within the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) system with 723 students attending a CSU system and 319 a UC system this year, according to CPEC.
In comparison, this year LAMC had 176 attending a CSU and 18 a UC while LAVC had 146 students attend a UC and 216 a CSU, according to CPEC.
While UC transfer attendance has increased from 290 (2008-09) to 319 for this year, CSU admission has decreased due to impaction, which gives priority to first-time freshmen, according to the CSUN website.
“I believe this is due to the impact of the state budget – Cal States were able to enroll fewer transfer students, which negatively affected the ability of our students to transfer,” said Carol Kozeracki, Dean of Research, Planning and Enrollment Management.
Within LACCD however, Pierce retains the highest attendance rate at 723 for CSUs for 2009-10 with East Los Angeles College coming in second with 463 that same year, according to CPEC.
With entry into public universities such as UCLA and CSUN becoming much more competitive, students have the option of private schools such as University of Southern California (USC).
“We are expecting the number of students applying for private schools to increase. At UCs and CSUs people are trying to add, they’re crashing so it’s hard to get classes,” said Salter.
For fall 2010, 162 Pierce students applied to USC and 63 were admitted; 17 students applied to Mount Saint Mary’s and 13 were admitted, according to information provided by Salter.
Students may find that though private tuition is more costly, in the long run it might not take as long to graduate as other public options.
“In a private school you can get done faster, there is a loss of potential income when school extends for a long period of time,” said Salter. “Ultimately, you have to be an advocate and a fighter for yourself.”
TAG, you’re in!- Pierce Transfer Options
The Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program is not new however many students were not aware of it so Salter has worked to promote the program throughout campus.
“Last year we had 70 to 100 applicants and this year we had 900,” said Salter. “It’s fabulous that many more people are eligible.”
The TAG program allows qualified students guaranteed admission to any UC except Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Furthermore, the Transfer Center is now offering more workshops including “Rock your Application,” which just started this semester, according to Salter.
“Next year we plan on videotaping workshops and having demos on our website so students can use them without coming in,” said Salter.
For those students who don’t check the website regularly there is a newsletter they can sign up for which is sent to their email, updating them on upcoming events.
By taking advantage of the wide array of opportunities provided by the Transfer Center, students can improve their chances of being admitted to a university.
Salter is already planning field trips to UCLA and Loyola Marymount University in the spring to further expose students.
“Students will pay a five dollar deposit which they will get back when they show up,” said Salter. “I’m planning for more depending on how successful it is.”
Salter has worked to downsize unnecessary expenditures in order to provide students with such opportunities.
“We’re trying to cut excessive expenditures such as paying $1000 for balloons” said Salter about cutting the decorative balloons typically used during Transfer Day.
Students are encouraged to have a plan and learn about all the options available to them in order to best manage their time and efforts.
“Use non-traditional formats if you have to, take one of the ‘Undesirables’ such as a 7 a.m. Saturday class. Students have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit now,” said Salter. “Students need motivation- you’ve got to have a plan before you transfer.”