Transferring From A Community College: One Student’s Experience


For many students coming to Foothill College is a step towards the ultimate goal of transferring to a four-year university. As many students know, this process can be extremely daunting, not only because the process of applying can be confusing and unfamiliar but also because of the anxiety that comes with being introduced to a new social and academic climate.

During the first two years of college in a four-year university, students begin to build connections with peers and faculty, understanding how their university’s social systems work, as well as being able to navigate and form connections within their major. For a transfer student, coming into this sounds terrifying. Transfer students fear that although they may be thriving in a community college such as Foothill, they will not be able to ‘catch-up’ to students who have spent the duration of their higher education at an institution.

Through my time exploring this idea, I had the opportunity to talk to a former California community college student and current Sacramento State Senior, Emma Hall. Hall is a transfer student who began her higher education journey at Diablo Valley College and transferred to Sacramento State University two years ago as a Journalism major. Hall was kind enough to answer some of my inquiries about her experience at SAC State and her achievements after transferring.

Discovering one’s interests and joining clubs, attending events, and connecting through these shared interests, according to Hall, is a fantastic way to build a strong community and advance in a given field and acclimate after transferring.

Hall shared that going after her passion is where she truly found a community. For Emma, her community and where she has been able to progress in her major and career was at The State Hornet (The Hornet), SAC States newspaper founded by students in 1949, covering topics from racial disparity to food critiques. “One of the best things I could’ve gotten out of the State Hornet was kind of like a second family, which is totally like a cliche, right?” said Hall.  “But we are all very close to one another”

But Hall did not begin her time at SAC state knowing that she would build such great connections and get the same if not more opportunities than students who spent the duration of their college experience at Sacramento State.  “I am a first-gen student so it’s kinda hard to navigate what you wanna do” said Hall. “I was encouraged by my advisor to go to SAC State as he was an alum”

Although at first, she was unsure of where to transfer or what her experience would be like, during her time at SAC State, Hall has built quite a portfolio.  She is currently NPR’s Diverse Sources intern as well as The Hornets News Editor and has featured her work in KQED, High Country News, POLITICO, NPR, and of course, The State Hornet.

Transferring will, for many, require a transition period; however, transferring does not necessarily mean you will ‘be behind.’ Hall is a great representation that although many have established relationships and a portfolio, transfer students still have the opportunities to join a community and excel in their major.

Exploring your interests, going to meetups, and putting yourself out there (even if it seems scary) is how you will build a community for yourself and begin networking for your career. Hall is an example of just one student who has thrived after transferring, but thousands upon thousands are reaching their academic and social goals. Venturing out into the unknown will always be anxiety inducing, but you never know what you’ll be able to achieve if you do not take the steps to find out.

Emma Hall shared that she plans to graduate this May, stating that she will greatly miss her friends and the community she has built for herself at SAC State. She plans to continue writing  with the goal of working for a news publication.