Online versus the "Old Ways"
It is a known fact that the majority of Santa Monica College students are here to transfer to four-year universities. No "snail mail," currently, nearly all applications are done online. This was done in an effort to make things easier for all parties involved, but does it really? "The online applications eliminate messiness, and the potential for errors," said Dan Nannini, SMC Transfer Center Coordinator. He also mentioned that roughly 80 percent of all applications for Cal States and UCs are done online. This change was made in the spring of 2004. Paper applications would no longer be accepted: it would all be done via the Internet. Nannini said that although most Cal States and UCs don't support it, students can still send in traditional formal paper applications through regular mail. Does this make sense? Why chose to switch an entire system, only to still allow the old system to remain in place?
For many of us, applying to our schools of choice is sometimes such a strenuous task that it makes taking the required courses seem much simpler. This is not right.
Most students around campus, who have applied have not received any notice from their schools, notifying them of their acceptance or rejection. This also seems unfair. Though the entire picture is not shown. "When you apply to a school, since so many students from around the country apply, it's on their time line, not yours," said Nannini. It is easy to stress out and worry, but we must take into account that we aren't the only ones applying to universities. UCLA, one of the most popular transfer schools, as Nannini mentions, is the most applied to university in the entire nation, taking in more undergraduate applications than Harvard, or Stanford.
"I like it, that they take the time to go over each application and make the right decision," said Nannini. "They understand they are dealing with people's lives." OK, so let's go over what we've learned so far.
We shouldn't worry about not being notified the day after we apply. Give it time, right? Yes. Online applications eliminate messiness, and the potential for errors. Sounds good enough.
But for those of us who remain, for various reasons, technologically disabled, have dial-up Internet service so slow that it makes cavemen seem advanced, are just out of luck, plain and simple.
The best advice is just to get to a good computer, be it at a public library, a friend's, or relative's house. It doesn't sound so convenient for us, does it? Despite this, Nannini mentions that most student feedback he's gotten has been positive.
Nannini said that next fall, the Transfer Center will offer a new service to students who need help completing their online applications.
A computer lab will be open and students will be allowed to complete their application online, while getting individual help from counselors.Nannini offers up this word of advice for all transfer students:
"The most critical thing you can do, to ensure your application gets consideration, is to complete course work in your major, and get your math and English requirements done."
In other words, yes, the application process is hard, and we all are guilty of stressing out and worrying about it, but being a "worry wart" just takes energy away from the ultimate goal of getting all your required classes complete, to be eligible for transfer.