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Former Riverside City College students recalled their transfer experiences at transfer panel

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By Clarissa Corral
Jerome Wong | Viewpoints

Five Riverside City College alumni met for the Peer Mentor Transfer Panel on March 15 to answer recurring questions that students have about what the transfer process is like at RCC.

Panel members pushed the idea of being responsible for your education, being informed and being prepared before, after and during the transfer process.

All five of the students on the panel graduated and transferred from RCC within recent years.

The furthest back was sociology major Dianey Murillo who transferred to UC Riverside in 2015. Also on the panel was art history major Sarah M. Ottinger who graduated and transferred to Cal State San Bernardino in 2017, biochemical engineering major Linda M. Halisi who graduated and transferred to Cal State Fullerton in 2018, psychology major Kelsey McAbee who graduated and transferred to UC Irvine in 2018 and psychology major Amber Nodal who graduated and transferred to Cal State Fullerton in 2018.

The panel was an open forum that answered a broad variety of transfer related questions commonly asked by students. The event was prepared by Promise Program adviser and educational adviser for the language, humanities and social sciences department, Tony Ortiz.

One of the many questions asked during the panel was whether or not the students understood the transfer process and how they learned it.

“I understood somewhat,” Ottinger said.  “Going to the counselor’s at least once every semester definitely helped and kept me organized.”

All of the panelists stressed the importance of visiting a counselor routinely especially toward the beginning and end of a student’s time at RCC.

Another important question the panel was asked was how the community college and university experience differ.

“It was definitely a culture shock,” McAbee said. “You build a community with other transfer students. It’s definitely different but a good different.”

Other members of the panel agreed with McAbee in their commentary and also mentioned the difference when transitioning from a semester system like RCC’s to a quarter system, specifically in regards to adapting to pace and more cramming.

“I knew but I wish it was emphasized, different schools have different requirements,” Halisi said.

Among the most important pieces of information highlighted was what the panelists wished they knew going into the transfer process.

“Know what you want to do,” McAbee said. “It’s so much harder to change your major after you transfer. Try to figure it out before you transfer.”

All of the panelists had similar answers and stressed the importance of students being self informed and self reliant throughout their education but especially when transferring.

“When forms were due, I would turn them in in person. If a financial aid form was being requested by a school I applied to or a tax form was due I’d go myself and turn it in before the deadline,” Murillo said.

“Your future is at stake. You don’t want to gamble with that,” Halisi said.

To wrap up the panel, the speakers were given a show of appreciation and thanks by Ortiz for their attendance and personal perspectives but also for their accomplishments as former RCC students.

Following the panel, students were asked to join the panel members and fellow attendees for refreshments and were given the opportunity to ask any further questions.

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