Former ASCSM president shares his experience
Published: Monday, November 9, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 11:06
After four years at CSM, former Student Senate President Matthew Kaidor transferred to UC Santa Cruz in fall 2008. A strong student and self-described intellectual, Kaidor, 26, said his eventual goal is to get a graduate degree in mathematics, as well as training in linguistics and science. He grew up in San Mateo and went to Aragon High School. In his free time, he said that he enjoys sailing, film and music.
The San Matean: Why did you decide to go to community college and then transfer to a four-year school?
Matthew Kaidor: I decided to go back to school when I was in my early 20s, but I didn't even have a high school diploma. I wanted to get a college education, and it was a simple matter to enroll in community college classes due to the open admittance policy of the California community college system. I decided that I wanted a bachelor's degree and maybe even a master's, so I decided to work toward transfer.
SM: What are the most helpful transfer tips you learned from your experience?
MK: For students looking to transfer to UC, don't take all of the easiest classes you can find. Take some classes that will challenge you, so you are prepared for the caliber of work that you will face once you arrive. Also, keep your syllabi and work from pervious courses, in case the school tries to make you take classes which you've already learned. With syllabi and coursework, you can challenge unnecessary courses. Also, don't wait to send your transcripts. Before spring ends, ask Admissions and records to send your transcripts to the school of your choice as soon as final grades are out. They will do this.
SM: What was the transfer application process like? What suggestions can you offer?
MK: The transfer application for the UC is fairly straightforward. However, there are two somewhat difficult parts. One of those is the part where you input all of the classes over you've taken over your stay at community college and the grade you got in those classes. To make this part easier, I suggest making a spreadsheet of classes you've taken and plan to take, and this spreadsheet should include the department, course number, course name, units, grade, quality points. Order the classes by semester and maybe make it calculate your total and transferable GPAs. The other is the part where you input your personal statements. As I recall, the questions, paraphrased, were "What is your major and why?" and "In what way have you made the world a better place?" My advice for this part is to not wait until the last minute. Go now, start writing, run it by people who are good at reading and writing, take it to the writing center, et cetera. The personal statement can make or break the application, so don't take it lightly.
SM: How did you utilize CSM's transfer resources? What was the most helpful? What was the least helpful?
MK: The best resource available to anyone is the Transfer Admission Guarantee, TAG for short. This is a contract that gives you guaranteed acceptance to the schools with which you have a contract. All of the UCs do TAGs except for Berkeley and Los Angeles. With a TAG, you'll get accepted even with a poor personal statement. The TAG has conditions that you need to meet, of course. Talk to Mike Mitchell in the Transfer Center for details.
SM: What kind of classes did you take at CSM?
MK: I mainly took classes that satisfied the IGETC, as well as classes that satisfied the preparation requirements for my major at the colleges as listed on assist.org. Also, I took some classes just for personal entertainment.
SM: What were your grades like at CSM?
MK: When I returned to school in my early twenties, all of my grades were mainly A's and B's.
SM: What four-year schools did you apply to?
MK: I applied to four UCs: Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Davis and San Diego.
SM: How did you decide which schools to apply to?
MK: I applied to the ones which were strongest in math and science, as mathematics is my major.
SM: Where were you accepted?
MK: I got accepted to all four.
SM: How did you decide which school to go to?
MK: I settled on Santa Cruz, because all accounts that have been heard by me state that Santa Cruz is the most undergraduate-friendly of the four.
SM: How long were you at CSM?
MK: I was at CSM for around four years.
SM: Were you happy with your transfer experience?
MK: My transfer went smoothly. My TAG guaranteed my admittance to the university so I didn't have to stress my last moments at CSM and my transcripts were sent well before the due date. I was able to get out of taking unnecessary classes, and community college has taught me how to be a student. One complaint thought- new admits always get the worst registration dates, and the classes you want are often full. Be prepared to crash classes the first day of the first quarter if you can't get what you need. Always keep a list of classes you might take in case any are full.
- Christine Karavas, The San Matean