Transfer Talk Tuesday: Relationships with Advisor/Faculty

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

Hi, my name is Ellie Chen and I’m currently a junior transfer student majoring in Business Administration and pursuing my master’s in Finance as part of USC’s Progressive Degree program. For those who are not familiar, the Progressive Degree Program offers selective master degrees to undergraduate students who want to pursue a master’s while still being an undergraduate. (For those who are interested in learning more regarding the Progressive Degree Program, click here). I transferred to USC after my freshman year at a smaller private university and spent my sophomore year online. As a junior, I’m so grateful to finally be on campus and I currently work in the USC’s Office of Admission as a Transfer Ambassador, which helps prospective community college students. 

Throughout my time at USC, my academic advisor has been so helpful with planning out my classes, exploring different minors, or discussing different upper-division classes to take. When I first transferred to USC, I wasn’t sure about which classes to take as a sophomore and the different career options within such a broad major like Business Administration. However, my Marshall academic advisor reached out to me the summer before my first semester to help me pick courses for the upcoming school year and create a tentative schedule of classes to make sure I fulfilled all of the requirements. On top of this information regarding classes, she also gave me tips on how to explore my interests within the realm of business both inside and outside of the classroom. As the semesters progressed, my advisor updated my class schedule and, if I had any problems, it was easy to schedule an appointment with her to get advice regarding which upper-division courses best fit my interests, whether or not to take some of my classes Pass/No Pass, or any other academic problems I faced.  

On top of guiding students with their academics, advisors are also incredibly knowledgeable in all of the resources offered by USC. For example, when I was first considering whether or not to apply for the Progressive Degree Program, my advisor encouraged me to schedule a one-on-one chat with a Marshall career counselor who is informed on the topic. (For more information regarding the Marshall Career Center, click here). The chat ended up being really helpful and, when I decided to pursue the program, my advisor worked with me to create a course plan that fulfilled both my undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.  

All in all, my advisor made such a big difference when it came to my transition to USC as she relieved so much stress I had regarding course scheduling and transfer credits. I’m so grateful for my advisor in supporting and guiding me in my academic journey here at USC and maximizing my college experience.  

Written by Ellie Chen, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Business Administration. 



Transfer Talk Tuesday: How to Get Involved on Campus 

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

My name is Nyah Gaitan and I am a junior transfer student from Glendale Community College majoring in Business Administration. As a transfer, finding my place at USC was one of my greatest worries. 

Spending my first two years at a community college made me concerned about how I would be able to catch up on the two years I would have missed as a freshman and sophomore at USC. Those two years are typically crucial for forming relationships with other students and the school itself. I had already established a group of friends, relationships with professors, and comfort in my community college. Thinking about doing it again as a transfer student only heightened my anxiety. I knew that it would take work and getting out of my comfort zone.  

Something really special about USC is that the school and the people that attend USC value the Trojan Family. From the very first moment I stepped onto campus, there was a lot going on. There were so many opportunities to meet new people, along with events made specifically for transfer students. After attending a transfer event myself, I began to realize that I am not alone in this process. There are thousands of other transfer students who are in my exact position, and all were Trojan Family members themselves. It’s hard. Meeting new people and finding my place in this new world was not easy, but there were an infinite amount of opportunities the community provided me.  

I am now a part of the Transfer Ambassador Program, the Special Events Committee, Marshall Business Student Government, and am a Marketing intern with USC Athletics. All of the activities I am a part of are related to my personal and professional interests.  There is quite literally something for everybody at USC, whether it’s student-led clubs, established organizations, or career opportunities, there are opportunities for growth everywhere. All of which can be found here: https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/ 

I got involved not only to meet new people, but to also develop my passions in my major. For every academic school/college within USC, there are events being held for professional development; such as resume reviews and networking events with experienced industry professionals. It is extremely motivating and rewarding to be around other passionate students when given the opportunity. Apart from the vast variety of educational resources, USC has fun events going on every day. To take a look at some of the many events that go on around campus, take a look at the USC calendar: https://calendar.usc.edu/. From gamedays at the Coliseum and Galen Center to concerts in McCarthy Quad, there is never a dull moment at USC. 

I will not lie, the first few weeks at USC were challenging. It was difficult imagining that I would find a place in a school that was four times larger than my local community college. Your years at a university are a time for growth and development socially, professionally, and personally. Challenges are inevitable, but taking on the opportunities USC provides makes that struggle worth it. 

Written by Nyah Gaitan, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Business Administration. 



Transfer Talk Tuesday: Transfer Journey – First Generation Student 

Transfer Talk Tuesdays are a series of personal blogs where current USC transfer students dive deeper into their real-life stories, perspectives, and experiences in transferring to USC. Note that each transfer application is unique and there are no guaranteed paths to transfer. For guidance on how to put together a competitive transfer application, please review our Transferring to USC brochure. 

Eliana Cotom is a junior from Los Angeles, California, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education and Society. In 2020, she transferred from Santa Monica College (SMC) to USC. In addition to being a Transfer Ambassador for the Office of Undergraduate Admission, Eliana is also a Dornsife Intern and is involved with student clubs at USC.  


Attending USC had always been my dream, yes I know…very cliche but true. Growing up around USC, I always wanted to attend and be a part of the Trojan family.  

Like many first-generation students, I was unable to ask parents or family members for guidance on what to expect from the college application process, how to answer certain questions, or how to consider what college was the best fit – so – I heavily depended on school and outside resources for guidance. There is an extra layer of stress, anxiety, worry, and pressure that many first-generation students can resonate with. This ranges from the stress, worry, anxiety of entering the application process on your own, how to attend college without being a financial burden on family, the pressure of being the role model for those who follow, and figuring out how to apply for scholarships and financial aid without much help. I remember having to navigate the application portal and figuring out financial aid on my own. There were many questions that I didn’t even know I had until I reached an issue, because I didn’t know what to expect from the application process. I went through the first-year application process almost completely alone, and the transfer process with guidance, but even with guidance I still felt anxious, worried, and stressed.  Applying and transferring to USC was a journey of its own but attending a community college was definitely helpful in learning to adjust to college courses, gaining independence, and growing as a student and person. During my time at SMC, I had a variety of resources at my disposal and was even able to have resources from USC specifically that helped me navigate through the transfer process more easily. One tip I will give for prospective transfers is to make appointments with your counselor, get to know them, and make yourself known. My counselor was very helpful in my transfer process. Many first-gens are lost in the first-year college application process already, and the transfer process is a completely new experience for many, so reaching out to your counselor is very helpful – you can even reach out to your assigned USC Admission Counselor. Another tip I will give, especially for those attending California Community Colleges (CCCs) is to constantly look at the articulation agreements that USC has with CCCs – this document was my best friend when looking for classes. I cannot emphasize this enough for CCC students. USC also has a handful of resources specific to transferring to USC, such as the Transferring to USC brochure

Many questions and worries that first-gens have when applying, including myself, are regarding finances and affordability. I am happy to say that USC has a handful of scholarships for admitted students and provides full USC determined financial need (please keep in mind that this number is determined by USC, not the student). USC has scholarships that are geared towards first-gen students and low-income students, such as the Norman Topping Scholarship and specific scholarships based on communities that one identifies with. More scholarships can be found here. Another worry that I had (I receive a lot of questions about this too) is about inclusivity and diversity here at USC. The school has a handful of resources and student organizations that provide students a space to feel at home and find support and “your people.”  

One key differentiator that USC has is definitely the Trojan Family. The USC logo is recognizable worldwide. I have heard stories about people being in different continents while wearing USC merchandise, seeing the “V for Victory” sign and hearing “Fight On” from random people. Explaining the Trojan Family is much harder than expected because it goes beyond words but simply put, it is a family that provides connections and support.   

Before attending USC I had already heard and known about the Trojan Family, but I had never truly experienced it until I was attending USC and began telling people that I was a USC student. I would create connections with people from simply stating I was a USC student.  

Lastly, I encourage everyone to apply to USC, especially first-gen and low-income students. Entering a new environment is scary, and being a transfer student and being first-gen makes the process a lot more nerve-wracking, but this should not discourage anyone from applying. USC has a multitude of resources for its students. If you’re worried about finances, apply to scholarships both in and outside of USC. If you’re worried about whether you’ll fit in because you’re a transfer student, a first-gen student, and/or low income, there are many clubs and organizations (such as the First Gen+ Center on campus where you can find community. ) If you’re worried about being seen differently because you’re first- gen or a transfer student, believe me – you won’t. Everyone here has their own journey. My overall piece of advice is to apply, apply, apply.   

Written by Eliana Cotom, (she/her/hers), 3rd year at USC studying Psychology.