The Davis Connection


Domingo Cornejo, Contributing Writer

Sarai Acosta, a third year student at SRJC, prepares for a new chapter in her life when she transfers to UC Davis next fall.

Acosta is one of several SRJC students who continuing their education by applying for and getting accepted to UC Davis for the fall quarter of 2015. Acosta and her friends frequently study at SRJC’s MESA lab, a program that helps students find bachelor degrees in mathematics, engineering, and science majors. What is it about UC Davis that attracts SRJC students?

“It (Davis) has a great biology program. That’s number one,” said third year SRJC student Miles Claret, another UC Davis admitted applicant. Claret and Acosta agree that Davis’ strong biology programs were the strongest attraction for them.

“And they have a lot of undergraduate research opportunities. They’re (Davis administrators) like really awesome about getting students into their labs for research,” Acosta said.

Not only does UC Davis offer such great biology programs, but also it has a certain connection with SRJC through the Transfer Agreement Program, or TAG. The TAG is a guaranteed agreement between a UC, particularly Davis, and SRJC that allows students a reserved spot at the school for the next year. Claret, Acosta, and yet another admitted Davis student, Lizabeth Leon. all found the TAG process for UC Davis to be quite easy.

“As long as you have the GPA, pretty much you’re in,” Leon said. All TAG applications require that students carry an official GPA of 3.2 or higher to go along with other specific requirements.

The TAG program helps SRJC students feel more confident about their chances of transferring to a UC, and it’s no surprise SRJC students are familiar with Davis’ agreement. “Davis was the first university to have the TAG program,” said SRJC counselor Jennifer Longoria. According to Longoria the majors most asked about with UC Davis are animal science, human development and pre-med.

So altogether, UC Davis’ strengths seem to lie in its science programs, which is why SRJC students involved with MESA would potentially apply there. Likewise there are certain idiosyncrasies between certain UCs and SRJC.

Unfortunately, not all UC schools offer the TAG according to Longoria. Still, Davis attracts SRJC students because it pioneered the TAG to fit students preparation for its educational standards.

The TAG isn’t the only program offered to help SRJC students find their way to Davis. According to Brenda Fudge, Undergraduate Admissions director at UC Davis, the Transfer Opportunity Program, TOP, is a collaboration between UC Davis and select Northern California community colleges. “TOP coordinators from UC Davis Undergraduate Admissions regularly visit participating colleges to provide counseling to students and parents on admission and selection to UC Davis, major preparation, general education, financial aid, housing, internships, study abroad and other important student services,” Fudge said.

TOP is another example of the great relationship SRJC receives from UC Davis. This helps students like Acosta, Claret and Leon understand exactly what they should prepare for in transferring to Davis.

Davis even creates new majors for students to help diversify its growing student body. “They have a new major called Global Disease Biology which is really cool, and that’s what I applied to,” Acosta said.

Besides the programs that Davis offers to help SRJC students prepare themselves, what do students find that separates Davis from the other UCs? Claret and Leone say they like the college town feel in Davis. “I’m actually really looking forward to it,” Leon said.

Among all the UC schools, UC Davis represents a good portion of SRJC transfers. According to data from both Fudge and SRJC transfer director Amy Merkel, the fall 2015 found 173 of 287 SRJC applicants admitted to UC Davis. That’s just over a 60 percent acceptance rate for a competitive school like Davis. Not every student has accepted his or her admittance to UC Davis at the moment. The deadline for the Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) is June 1.

The Institutional Effectiveness Assessment Report 2012 shows the exact number of SRJC students who attend UC schools each year. The data starts from the 1989-90 school year and rounds out at the 2009-10 school year. The average number of students attending UCs at the school between those years was 196. Now according to Merkel, about 70 percent of SRJC students who applied to Davis were accepted over the past five years. So the trend of SRJC students transferring to UC Davis is no one-year fluke.

“Our applications from SRJC are always high, and students come well prepared.  The counseling staff at SRJC is well-informed and TAGS are a great option for their students,” Fudge said. It’s reassuring to know that the head director of TOP at Davis understands the effectiveness of SRJC and the students who desire to attend Davis.

So as the spring semester winds down to a close, a number of SRJC students will find themselves on unfamiliar grounds come next fall. UC Davis will see some former Bear Cubs wandering the campus and breathing in the college town experience. The trend of SRJC students applying to UC Davis for the fall seems likely to continue. As for students like Claret, Acosta, and Leon, they have a good feeling what to expect when they arrive.