Nationally, almost one-third of undergraduate college students change schools before earning a degree, according a report released by the National Student Clearinghouse.
The study found that 19.6 percent of undergraduate students transfer out of private-for-profit, four-year universities at some point in their college career. Two-year public institutions were the most frequent transfer destinations for these students. Most students that transfer do so after their second year in college.
The report concludes that community colleges play a significant role in a student’s college career, including serving students coming from four-year universities such as USC.
Kirk Brennan, director of undergraduate admission, said USC has strong ties with California Community Colleges. He contends, however, that community colleges are sending students to USC, not the other way around.
“Most of our transfer students come from California Community Colleges,” Brennan said. “Statewide, we have a two-year student plan that is well-known for helping students obtain a four-year degree. We’ve adopted an almost-public approach.”
Eduardo Iniguez, a junior majoring in business administration, followed this plan when he transferred to USC from Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., in 2011.
“I didn’t have a choice [to come to USC freshman year] because I did really bad in high school,” Iniguez said. “I did two-and-a-half years at Cerritos College because I didn’t have the sufficient credits to transfer to USC.”
Iniguez said the USC transfer application process was easy and the university was supportive throughout the process.
“I actually really liked USC’s application process,” Iniguez said. “Compared to other schools, it was the easiest and I actually felt that USC cared about me as a person rather than just asking me the robotic questions that other universities asked.”
In 2011, 9,742 students applied for transfer admission to the university. Of these students, 2,524 were offered admission and 1,434 students enrolled, Brennan said.
Though Brennan could not comment on the transfer rate out of USC, he said the university’s retention rate is very high.
“We accept a lot of transfers, and, in California, we know that accepting transfers is a more established tradition,” Brennan said. “This place continues to exceed expectations, we continue to do great things — we bring in great students and retain great faculty.”
Kim Leoffler, a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism, said that she would not consider leaving USC to pursue a two-year degree.
“I am serious about getting a well-rounded education and I don’t think that can be accomplished in less than four years,” Leoffler said.
Lauren Bergold, a junior transfer student majoring in business administration, said her decision to transfer to USC from the University of San Francisco was influenced by the USC’s academics, location and reputation.
“I knew earning a [bachelor’s of science] in business administration at USC would be a dream come true. Also, I love that USC is located in Los Angeles because I love Southern California and all it has to offer,” Bergold said.