Cal Poly Pomona was recognized as a 2023 Equity Champion for Excellence in Transfer for Latinx students Nov. 1 via Instagram.
To qualify for this award, CPP saw that more than half of the 2022 Latinx undergraduate transfer students were “Associate Degree for Transfer” earners, and of those ADT earners, over half were on a guaranteed pathway. An ADT is designed to provide a clear pathway for California community college students to a California State University degree.
The Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit organization devoted to creating a clearer pathway for community college students to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree, created the award.
CPP along with California State Universities Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stanislaus and Sonoma received the distinction.
“This means we are heading in the right direction focusing on transfer students and dismantling barriers in the transfer process,” said Samuel Nieto, senior coordinator of Transfer and Early Engagement.
As a CPP alumni, Nieto has been with PolyTransfer for four years and is constantly trying to connect younger students with a pathway to college.
Nieto explained one of the most effective ways to do this is through PolyTransfer’s summer academy, where prospective students currently enrolled in community college stay on campus at CPP.
“Students make connections not just with us, professional staff and faculty, but also other students and build community, and I think they value that a lot,” Nieto said.
CPP recently approved changes to next year’s curriculum for transfer students regarding the necessary general education courses required for graduation, and this program exists to help students navigate those changes.
In collaboration with campus partners, PolyTransfer offers workshops relevant to the transfer student population, according to Nieto. These include learning about finances, careers and graduate school preparation.
“We also do fun stuff,” Nieto said. “For me, I always try to feed students, so all of our events have free food.”
According to Nieto, his department is currently planning the first ever spring semester transition program, where hundreds of incoming transfer students will be invited to come learn about the CPP campus before their first day of class.
Dora Lee, director of Academic Support & Learning Services at CPP, said the increased number of ADT students was the result of a university-wide effort. Each of the colleges had a hand in approving different majors that would meet ADT standards, according to Lee.
Early engagement with prospective CPP students was important to avoid confusion and close knowledge gaps in the transfer process. Lee stated CPP worked closely with community college partners like Mt. San Antonio College, Citrus College and Chaffey College to support their counselors in streamlining the process.
“Our goal as PolyTransfer is to go out there and help students that are interested in applying to Cal Poly Pomona understand the benefits of an Associate Degree for Transfer, the majors that we accept here and answer any questions they have,” Lee said.
CPP is a large transfer-receptive school with over 40% of all students being transfers. According to Lee, more than half of all incoming students are transfers, and she expects the demand for full-time employees in programs like PolyTransfer to grow.
Miguel Vela is a student currently following an ADT pathway at Mt. San Antonio College. Vela learned about the ADT option after speaking with a counselor but still found the process complicated.
“I thought every class you took at a community college would count towards graduation no matter where you transferred,” Vela said. “But now I know that isn’t the case.”
Students like Vela risk delaying graduation by taking unnecessary courses at a community college that they must repeat after they transfer.
Vela said he is now considering Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Los Angeles after learning they were both honored as 2023 Equity Champions for Excellence in Transfer for Latinx students.