College fair draws a crowd

As the afternoon sun shined, Santa Monica College's quad was packed as over 120 schools from across the nation set up tables with hopes of luring in prospective students. Flyers, brochures, and booklets were handed out, while SMC students swarmed the universities' various tables. From there, university representatives would try to cover all grounds from requirements and standards to housing and location.

The tables were decorated with different diagrams, pamphlets, and banners for each university in attendance. Attempting to walk to class or visit the numerous booths was a task all of its own with the flooded sea of potential transfers.

"I think this college fair is much bigger than the last one in the fall," said Christina Choi, a student at SMC. "I'm enjoying it."

At a table set up along the grass, Eileen Daley, Manager of Student Outreach and Recruitment for San Jose State University, persuaded the many students with a vibrant tone.

"We have 30,000 students, we're huge!" said Daley.

Two close friends and current SMC students, accounting major Armando Cabian and business administration major Mohammed Jehangir, were at SJSU's table looking over the criteria.

"Because I have family here in Los Angeles, the distance and housing is very important to me. I also want little classes," said Cabian. "San Jose State, Cal State Northridge, and San Louis Obispo, are my top choices."

"The main thing I'm looking for is how strong the business department is," said Jehangir.

Amongst the heavy pedestrian traffic, Linda Mundell, College Representative for Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, waited patiently for students to approach.

"There's lots of students at SMC that are interested in our school and we have an excellent transfer program for them," said Mundell.

Those students considering FIDM should be creative and passionate in the areas of design, fashion, and business of fashion.

"If you have a vision in those areas please come see me," said Mundell.

Everardo Torrez, Boise State University's Enrollment Counselor, has been in California attending college fairs all week long.

"We're looking for top-quality, diverse students with different backgrounds & experiences," said Torrez. "We have 200 different programs to choose from."

The University of California Los Angeles brought most of their various school programs such as their School of Theater, Film and Television, School of Nursing, Air Force ROTC, and School of Arts & Architecture.

Cadet Nathan Royer for the UCLA's Air Force ROTC, was looking for students interested in nursing, engineering, foreign languages, and most importantly the Air Force.

Rosa Pimentel, UCLA's Associate Director of Admissions, wants students who are ready academically to jump into upper division courses.

"We have a great track record with SMC. The campus is very diverse socially and economically," said Pimentel.

Though UCLA's average grade point average is very high and possesses majors that are very competitive, they don't expect much extracurricular activities.

"We appreciate a student who brings to the table a lot of extracurricular activity, but we understand that many transfer students have families and come from different age ranges & backgrounds which may make it difficult," said Pimentel.

UCLA offers over 130 different majors. However, most students enroll into the same 10.

"Students should explore the different majors and really embrace them," said Pimentel. "Think broader, it can set a student apart."

University of Miami's Admission Counselor Joe Altieri feels SMC students have a lot to offer.

"We view the SMC College Fair as a great opportunity to recruit some really qualified and talented students," said Altieri. "The primary focus for our review is transcripts."

Altieri recommends students fill the general education classes. Those classes usually transfer to UM.

"We want to get students in and out as efficient and thorough as possible," said Altieri.

The University of Miami is extremely diverse with student from all 50 states and over 110 countries.

"I'm really proud of the community we have at Miami," said Altieri. "So when I review a potential student's application, I first want to be confident they can handle our academics. Then, I look to see if they'll contribute to that sense of community which I'm so proud of."

Ivy leaguer, Columbia University, School of General Studies, takes a slightly different approach when looking for transfer applicants.

"We are particularly looking for transfer students that have life experiences," said Mathew Rothstein, Director of Admissions for Columbia. "Nontraditional students with unique life experiences add a different dynamic to the classroom."

In fact, as part of their application, a student must write a five to seven page autobiography, explaining what their life experience means to them.

However, "life experiences" won't be the only key to unlock Columbia's door. Most transfer students have around a 3.8 grade point average.

"The number one thing is that a student must be looking for is a challenge academically," said Rothstein.

As stated by Rothstein, SMC has been an ideal place to recruit because of the IGETC, which has students tackle a diverse mix of subjects.

"We're looking for a combination of things," said Rothstein. "It's not so much of a formula."

Walking from table to table, Katherine Galvez, a civil engineering major at SMC, is mainly looking locally at UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, and University of Southern California.

"Whatever's closest to home," said Galvez. "Also, the name matters, especially when looking for jobs."

Jose Gonzalez, an animation major, is lured mainly to California College of the Arts.

"I was looking around to see if there were any other schools that intrigued me, but not really," said Gonzalez. "There is one other school called Art Center, but I didn't see them here."