Porter College has changed considerably due to the addition of 479 transfer students. Photo by Molly Solomon.

After years of debating the idea, administrators finally decided to house transfer students in one location.

Transfer students expressed enthusiasm about residing in a community with fellow students new to UCSC.

“[As a transfer] you’re around the same maturity level … you all went through the same things so you’re already in the same wavelength,” said Cheska Bacaltos, third-year Porter transfer.

A common remark among transfers was that instead of coming to UC Santa Cruz undecided about a major, they are already thinking ahead to graduate school and career options as they seek an academic network.

Out of the total 1,369 transfer students admitted to UCSC this fall, 42 percent live in university-sponsored housing, which includes Porter College, University Inn and University Town Center. Porter A houses 393 transfer students, and 86 live in Porter B.

“We had such a strong response for people wanting to be at Porter College,” said Michael Yamauchi-Gleason, college administrative officer (CAO) for Kresge and Porter colleges. “We actually have some transfer students at the other colleges too because we just couldn’t fit them in.”

Transfer students have been designated to live at Porter as opposed to their college of affiliation, as was done in previous years.

“It’s hard to say that [transfers] are actually affiliated with their home college [when] they just go to their advising,” said Alexis Grove, second-year Oakes student and Porter community assistant (CA).

Transfer students get much of their advising from their department because by the time they transfer they are already established in their major and well on their way to graduate, Yamauchi-Gleason said.

This year’s transfers are required to live in the dorms for at least one quarter. After that, upon request and depending on space availability, they may move to any other university-sponsored housing.

“It’s kind of weird,” said fourth-year Michael Giglio, Porter CA and Kresge student living in the dorms for the first time. “It’s like they really want them to have the dorm experience. However, I feel that it makes the transfer community an actual community for once. [It] gives them more of an identity.”

For some transfers, community building outweighs resource access. Their own peers have become their strongest resource while sharing new experiences.

“We have singing shower parties listening to Pandora Radio,” said third-year Bianca Bracamonte, Merrill transfer.

In the larger perspective, “it brings a more age-friendliness … in showing that since we have a transfer community, on-campus living isn’t all just about freshmen, 18 years old, fresh out of high school,” said third-year Porter CA Marc Atkinson.

The transfer community helps ease students’ transition to UCSC.

“They have made it so easy for us to see the opportunities available,” Bracamonte said.

In effect, the Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students has become more accessible. STARS now has a lounge area at Porter opened Monday through Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and also offers workshops at Porter. Another resource is the College Academic Support Team (CAST) located at Kerr Hall. Yamauchi-Gleason said that administration will work with services by “doing ongoing surveys and focus groups.”

Structurally, everything is geared for transfer students to make the most out of their education at UCSC.