I still remember submitting my UC application and the day I was admitted to UCLA like it was yesterday. I never quite foresaw UCLA as a school I would ever attend simply because of its high caliber and my own preconceived notions regarding tuition cost. I never thought I would get in or even attend such an amazing institution, and maybe you felt the same. Yet here we are! Bruin to prospective Bruin, meeting each other in this virtual space to talk about the amazing institution we know as UCLA.
I again, want to welcome you and congratulate you on your acceptance to UCLA! This is such a HUGE accomplishment and you should be so incredibly proud of yourself. You are one among hundreds of thousands of applicants, and you have made it! All of your hard work, sweat, and tears have led you to this moment and nothing (not even a global pandemic) should stop you from relishing and celebrating this amazing accomplishment.
A little more about my journey that I didn’t mention in my video above: I remember the night that I came home from doing homework at my local Starbucks very clearly. Both of my parents expressed their congratulations to me and everything still felt so surreal. The same friend that had texted me about admissions decisions texted me again, to ask me about financial aid and whether I had received that email or not. This email is one that you may receive once admitted that contains information regarding your financial aid package and generally any aid that you might receive from the university. Again, this is something that I had completely forgotten about as an entity to the whole college admissions process, simply because I never saw UCLA as an option for myself. I grew up in a larger family where there are a total of 4 of us kids, and I have a twin brother as well. The main reason why I attended community college after graduating high school was due to finances; my parents simply couldn’t stretch paying for two college tuitions simultaneously and we (my twin brother and I) therefore had to financially support our higher education on our own. So when I was admitted into UCLA, I was excited but never thought I would actually be attending due to my preconceived ideas regarding tuition and my own abilities to be able to afford such an education on my own. However, when I finally received my email regarding financial aid and saw the package that was offered to me I was again, in a state of shock. I showed the webpage to my dad to see if I was reading it right and he took one look at it, then looked at me and said, “you gotta go.”
It was at this moment that all of my plans regarding my transfer process changed. All throughout community college I had planned to continue to work almost full time as I had, and then transfer to a Cal State university so that I could commute from home and continue working. This was the route that every single one of my family members had taken upon transferring to community college (for generations), and I assumed I would do the same. Even my academic plan at community college was formatted to pursue that route.
However, as you can attest I ended up submitting my statement of intent to register to UCLA and I have never looked back since. The fact that I will be graduating from the number one public institution in the country in just a few short weeks still baffles me. It all went by so incredibly fast!!
Speaking of fast, my absolute biggest piece of advice for new transfers would be to get involved as much and as quick as you can if you’re really looking for that well-rounded college experience. One of the best ways to achieve this is to attend the Enormous Activities Fair which happens during Week Zero of Fall quarter. As I mentioned before, UCLA is home to over 1,000 clubs and organizations so you are bound to find the ones that best suit your interests in passions. I know it might be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time but you can do it! Put yourself out there, sign up for the email lists of the clubs that catch your eye, attend meetings! Clubs are the best way to meet fellow bruins and get involved in your UCLA community. I also recommend searching Facebook to find clubs and organizations that suit your interests as well. I did this in trying to locate the different dance teams on campus, and it was through Facebook that I ended up finding the dance team that I am currently a part of today.
My other pieces of advice for new transfers would be to follow UCLA’s transfer social media accounts on both Facebook and Instagram. This is another great way to connect and communicate with fellow transfers regarding interests, concerns, and any other questions you might have. The transfer community at UCLA is extremely welcoming and unique, and you quickly see that everyone is here to assist you and support you as much as possible. As cliche as the saying goes, we all truly are in this together. Upon visiting UCLA whenever the campus opens up again, I also highly recommend visiting the transfer center on the first floor of Kerckhoff hall. This is something unique to UCLA as it is a safe and welcoming space for all transfers to hang out, study, attend informational meetings, receive academic, professional, financial, and mental health counseling, and more. There’s even free coffee, tea, and snacks all the time! Definitely get involved with the transfer center if you’re interested! The staff are absolutely incredible and everyone is there to help you succeed. You may also want to sign up for the transfer mentor/mentee program or even become a center volunteer. Again, these are all great ways to better familiarize with the transfer community within UCLA and meet Bruins similar to yourself.
If you’re interested in learning all of the things I got involved in at UCLA, here they are. I state these just to give you a sense of only a few programs that you might be interested in at UCLA. You may have similar interests as well so if you do, I encourage you to search these up! In my time at UCLA I have been a part of the Bruin Ambassador Program, Synthesis Dance Theater as a member and Community Outreach Chair, a member of the PR Committee on the UC Women’s Leadership Conference Team, a financial advisor on the UC Affordability Committee through the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC) which is also known as the university’s student body, and I partook in an internship through UCLA’s Lab School where I worked closely with students in grades 1-6 in their every day classwork. UCLA may seem like a big and daunting place at first but I can assure you that in my short time there, I have met some of the most down to earth, passionate, and welcoming individuals in my life thus far. The Bruin community is truly one of a kind, and it is something I am forever blessed to have experienced and be a part of!
I hope that my short introduction today has given you some clarity on what it’s like to be a transfer at UCLA. You can definitely have a very fulfilling two years if you choose to! This is an amazing journey you are about to embark on full of so much self discovery and growth. Please know that you are not alone EVER in your concerns that you might have, or the struggles that you might face in this next step of your journey. Everyone on campus is here here to support, encourage, and welcome you! I promise you that the people and faculty you will meet are unlike any other; arguably in the absolute best ways ever! You are unique and so is the Bruin community, and we are so excited and blessed to have you! Congrats once again!