Story Transfer Student

Next Phase of the Journey: Reflections on the Transfer Student Experience

Alex Beall

Learn why these first-year transfer students chose the CSU, how they overcame obstacles and what they have most enjoyed about the university experience.

​​Photo Credit: Tom Zasadzinski/Cal Poly Pomona​


The California State University offers unmatched value through world-class teaching, hands-on learning experiences and career advising to all its students—whether those coming straight from high school or transferring from a community college. For transfer students, the CSU ensures they have the support and resources they need to transition to a new environment and persist on their path to graduation through programs and centers focused on their particular needs. According to the data, 40 percent of CSU transfer students graduate within two years, and 80 percent graduate within four years.

To delve into the experience, we spoke with three transfer students completing their first year at the CSU.

​​​Einstein Mwase​Einstein Mwase
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Aerospace Engineering, Astronautic Concentration

Can you tell me about your experience transferring to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and why you chose the university?

I was convinced by former workmates and professors that Cal Poly had a formidable engineering program. Even before I settled on chasing aerospace engineering as a career, I was certain that I had to be at Cal Poly to better situate myself in a position to succeed as an engineer. I spent three years at Laney College, bouncing between architecture, civil engineering and finally aerospace engineering. In those three years, I took a gap semester to seek an internship at SB Architects in San Francisco and worked with NASA on three occasions. I knew aerospace engineering was for me because I believed it would best allow me to examine and reshape the world as I saw fit to enhance the quality of human life everywhere. This point of view was majorly shaped by my engineering professor [at Laney College], who encouraged me to sign up for the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program, where my thoughts were fortified. All these events reinforced my choice as Cal Poly.

What kind of support did you receive from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo​?

From Cal Poly, I have received financial, career-building and personal support. I have and continue to receive financial aid from the financial aid office through a grant that goes toward my tuition and a subsidized loan that covers a bit of my rent. I also receive career-building support from my college advisors who have helped me submit course-related petitions, build future schedules and settle schedule disputes. Lastly, I receive personal help from my work at the Transfer Center through the nature of the job, access to resources available to me as an employee and one-on-one meetings with Heather Domonoske, the Transfer Center coordinator. Through the nature of my job, I am able to sharpen my interpersonal skills, and with the help of my work's coordinator, I am able to reassess my life-work-class balance weekly.

What did you most enjoy about your first year?

Most notably, it is the fact that I am seeing and interacting with people following the recent pandemic. I am one of those people who​ did not take well to the isolation caused by the pandemic. I have enjoyed the company of new and interesting people by virtue of working with, studying with or learning from them.

Did you face any challenges as a transfer student, and how did you overcome them?

Most of my problems were monetary until I figured them out with the financial aid office, and then came the colossal challenge—the pace. First, I had to contend with the fact that any mishap with my classes can add an extra year to my estimated time to graduation. Second, as a recipient of grants and loans, I must always take above a certain number of units to receive funds. This means, I will always have a lot on my plate as a transfer student to stay free of fees and on time for my estimated graduation. To overcome the challenges with my classes, I always to try to sign up for them very early; and to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed, I am now taking more general education courses to balance out the intensity of the content load per quarter. Transferring from the semester system to the quarter system was difficult, but I believe I learned much from my first quarters with regards to pacing myself through assignments, reviews, study sessions and office hours.​

​​​Brooke Ramnarain​Brooke Ramnarain
Cal Poly Pomona

Can you tell me about your experience transferring to Cal Poly Pomona and why you chose the university?

My experience transferring to Cal Poly Pomona was nothing short of a great experience. The process transferring was very easy for me since I was coming from a community college. My advisors had helped me every step of the way and made the transition very smooth. I chose Cal Poly Pomona for a couple of reasons—one being they offered my major, psychology. Another reason I chose Cal Poly Pomona was due to its vision and values. One part of their vision says, “Cal Poly Pomona's polytechnic advantage actively engages students in opportunities to learn by doing good." I believe this is one aspect that made Cal Poly Pomona stand out from other schools I was considering.

What kind of support did you receive from Cal Poly Pomona?

The support I received from Cal Poly Pomona included frequent updates regarding my application, clear instructions on next steps I had to take and the many resources offered in their PolyTransfer Program.

What have you most enjoyed about your first year?

I really enjoyed meeting new people and all the fun activities Cal Poly Pomona offers. I have met some amazing people, from classmates to faculty and professors.

Did you face any challenges as a transfer student, and how did you overcome them?

I believe the only challenge I have faced as a transfer student was adapting to commuting and becoming familiar with the campus. Overcoming these obstacles was not difficult due to Cal Poly Pomona's resources and the many friendly faces around campus who are always willing to help.​

​​​Traci Reeder with Teddy the ToroTraci Reeder
CSU Dominguez Hills
Child Development​

Can you tell me about your experience transferring to CSUDH and why you chose the university?

I was excited to be accepted into CSUDH as a student returning at over 50 years old. CSUDH made the transition very smooth. There has always been consistency and courtesy from each department when answering my questions and responding to my needs or issues. The campus has a welcoming atmosphere, and there are several areas to study, relax or meet with friends. The class schedules are convenient to my needs, and the resources have been extremely helpful. The campus announcements provide great opportunities to join various organizations, there are employment opportunities, and you can sit in on important seminars relevant to issues that focus on our environment or social and political views. Everyone continues to have the same patience and respectful dispositions, which enhanced my choosing CSUDH as my place of study.

What kind of support did you receive from CSUDH?

I had the privilege of receiving support​ from​ and corresponding with Dafu Goodman, the associate director of the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, who helped with my transcripts and transferring technicalities. My first year should have been the fall of 2021. The pandemic caused complications for everyone which, unfortunately, led to my father passing away just before school was to begin while I was simultaneously dropping my daughter off for her sophomore year at Howard University in Washington, D.​C. Goodman knew of my situation and helped to adjust my admission.

What have you most enjoyed about your first year?

If I were much younger, the activities, sports and clubs would be my go-to areas. I appreciate the many areas of amenities and private areas of comfort to sink yourself into your studies. There is a space for everyone to feel at home. For extra imagination, I enjoy walking past the area next to the University Theatre​, where there is a miniature village​​.

Did you face any challenges as a transfer student, and how did you overcome them?

I have had and still have some personal struggles with school and was hesitant about returning, but the level of care from the staff and instructors has provided helpful resources for me to overcome my complications with continuing my education at CSUDH.

Learn more about transferring to a CSU.


Transfer Success Pathway

​To provide even greater access to its high-quality education, the CSU recently announced a new dual admission program with the California Community Colleges. Called the Transfer Success Pathway, the program will guarantee future CSU admission to 2023 high school graduates and beyond who are entering a California community college and who commit to transferring within three years.

Read the announcement, and learn more about the Transfer Success Pathway.

Photography: Tom Zasadzinski/Cal Poly Pomona