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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

SoCal University Tour Illuminates the Path Forward for DVC Transfer Students

Free SoCal college tour broadens the horizons of transfer students over spring break
As a part of the SoCal University Tour, selected DVC students visited campuses like the University of Southern California to enhance their transfer journey. Courtesy of DVC Career and Transfer Services.

Marisol Ochoa was interested in transferring to a university in Southern California, but as a first-generation and low-income student, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to visit any of the schools on her own. 

Fortunately for her, she was able to join the new Diablo Valley College So-Cal Tour, offered this spring for the first time by DVC Career and Transfer Services.

The tour granted 50 students, out of the 200 who applied, an opportunity to view colleges cost-free last month over Spring Break, and helped students like Ochoa who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to view distant campuses on their own.

“I’m working two jobs and doing school, so I never had the chance to go visit these schools, especially far away,” said Ochoa, a second-year student majoring in early childhood education.Students visited five schools during the four-day trip: UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, University of Southern California, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara.

For Ochoa, the free So-Cal Tour was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“It gave me an idea of what [each] campus is like and I was able to learn more [about] their resources,” she said.

On the tour, “you learn so many things that you wouldn’t be able to learn through books or websites. You see the real thing.”

Ochoa added, “I wanted to go visit schools that were outside of the Bay Area, [and] having the opportunity to see schools further away gave me motivation and allowed me to envision myself there.”


Inspired on campus

For many students, the trip became the deciding factor in helping them pick which schools to apply to or attend. Often students apply to schools they have never visited, solely based on their major, and lack the in-person connection to the campus and location.

“I knew these schools existed, but I never knew what they were like,” said second-year DVC student Rita Cao. “I was inspired to lock in and work hard — now I see where I could be and where I want to go.”  

Students were also shown presentations that informed them about different programs and opportunities that each school offers, as well as self-guided and group tours. 

Cao said she felt she learned a lot of helpful information about college as a whole.

“Before, I knew nothing about California schools. I just learned a lot about college in general and the opportunities I can have,” she said.

“I learned about resources and financial aid, I learned about majors, I learned what schools have my major and what schools don’t,” Cao added.

Not only was the trip informational and helpful, said Cao, but it also further motivated her to reach her goals. “Going on this tour really gave me more motivation here at DVC to get those good grades and put my all into school,” she said.


Broadening perspectives

Students said the trip changed their perspectives on the schools once they toured them in person and experienced their atmosphere.

“Before the tour, I only wanted to apply to SF State,” said Ochoa, “but I think, going on this SoCal trip, I was able to envision myself going to these schools.”

“I really liked [UC] Irvine,” she added, “which I never saw myself liking.”

DVC students visited UC Santa Barbara during the SoCal University Tour. Courtesy of DVC Career and Transfer Services.

Cao explained how she also had preconceived notions of the University of Southern California. “My perception of some of the schools changed, like for USC, I thought it was just a rich party school,” she said, but after touring, she was pleasantly surprised by their offerings.

“They actually have amazing opportunities,” said Cao.

Students not only toured the campuses themselves, but also got a feel for their location and surrounding area. For example, during the trip, students took a visit to Pismo Beach, which is only 17 minutes away from Cal Poly SLO.

“Honestly, just visiting the surrounding area, like UCSB, I didn’t think I was going to like it at all, but when I visited it, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so pretty,’ and I didn’t realize that the area over there was that nice, so it made me inclined to apply,” said second-year student Andrew Broussard.

“Now UCSB is one of my top schools because of that trip,” he added.


Making new connections

Many students who attended the trip left with more friends than they started with, making connections with others that they wouldn’t have otherwise made.

Jordan Acle in particular explained, “I feel as if I made meaningful bonds on that trip, which is great since a lot of these people are also trying to get into the same schools I am.” He added, “It really made me feel as if I wasn’t alone in the transfer journey.”

Broussard likewise came away with a new sense of community.

“I think it was an understatement to say it was a positive experience, because I feel like I made so many new friends because of it, and a lot of us were transferring next year too,” Broussard said.

This SoCal tour was organized by the Career and Transfer Center, managed by Steven Nguyen, who said he hopes to make this an annual event. His office also made a video showcasing how this tour impacted students and gave a sneak peek into the trip.

The tour was sponsored by different DVC organizations, including Student Equity & Achievement Programs (SEAPC), Associated Students of DVC, Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS), Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), California Planning Group (CPG), and the Student Veterans Resource center.

Students especially wanted to thank Vicki Ferguson, the vice president of equity and student services, for making the trip possible.  

“I think this trip was really amazing,” Ochoa said. “I speak for myself and other people when I say I think we are all really grateful we had the opportunity to go and visit these campuses and see what it’s like,” said Ochoa.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Delucchi, Staff Writer

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