Transfer students at the University of California, Santa Barbara increasingly face a variety of issues including culture shock, problems getting into their major, difficulty obtaining research positions and various other obstacles.

A typical student enters UCSB during their freshman year and is given the golden opportunity to experience the college life for four or five years. For those first two years, they get to bask in the infamous college social life and are not as pressured with the impending doom that awaits those who transfer into the university. Essentially, the transfer student is only given two or three years to experience college while constantly working to build a beautiful resume. This leads to difficulties involved in balancing a strong social life and maintaining a good GPA.

Upon arriving to UCSB, transfer students start at the beginning in terms of their transcripts, meaning that their GPA is, essentially, zero. Within one quarter, a student struggling to adapt to the quarter system and their new living situation might falter in their academics and earn a 2.70 GPA or lower.

This grade decline comes with many complications for the following few quarters; many of these transfer students will not get accepted in their major, and their GPAs are so low that getting a research position is nearly impossible. In the following quarter, students must fight to raise their GPA with the remaining pre-major courses, or else they will be forced to either change their major or drop out of UCSB, leaving them lost and unsure how to pursue a promising future.

The struggle with finding a research position is not unique to transfer students with low GPAs. In fact, it is an issue for transfer students in general because most research teams require that a student attend at least two on-campus quarters, excluding summer. In the competition for a reputable resume and background in research, students must wait until after their first two quarters to apply for research positions.

Since most teams are looking for applicants during the beginning of the school year, this is a real problem for transfer students. That being the case, students are left waiting until their fourth year often to gain laboratory experience, which leaves them with only one year to get the training they need to apply and appeal to graduate schools.

Fortunately, there are alternative opportunities for prospective students. Transfer students have the option to apply as volunteers on a research site. Though they may not get course credit for their contribution, they will still get recognizable hands-on experience to present on their resume.

Mai-Lynn Tran is third-year psychology major.


This article appeared online only at on Friday, March 1, 2013.