April 28, 2022

College Fair Returns On-Ground

SMC’s staff at the college fair on the main campus quad
(Left to Right) Santa Monica College Completion Counselor Erika Knox, Articulation & Transfer Specialist Maria Bonin, Transfer Center Faculty Leader Sara Nieves-Lucas, and Senior Student Services Specialist/Certifying Official (Veterans Success Center) Martha Romano at the fair held April 28, 2022 on the main campus quad, with 93 four-year schools in attendance. This was the college’s first in-person fair since 2019, a scaled back iteration of the pre-pandemic version due to COVID-19 safety protocols. (Photo Credit: Andrew Boone)

Santa Monica College’s College Fair Returns On-Ground, 93 Four-Year Schools & 1,240 Future Transfer Students Attend 

California’s Leader in UC Transfers Hosts First Post-Pandemic In-Person Fair, Allowing Students to Connect with Prospective Transfer Destinations Both In-Person and Online 

SANTA MONICA, CA—On a near-perfect Southern California spring day featuring dappled skies and the famous Pacific Ocean breezes, Santa Monica College (SMC)—California’s leader in transfers for 31 consecutive years to University of California (UC) campuses, USC, and Loyola Marymount University—organized its first post-pandemic in-person college fair. The event was held Thursday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the college’s main campus quad in Santa Monica, Calif. with approximately 1,000 students in attendance. A parallel, virtual event for students who cannot attend in-person was also on offer 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Two hundred forty students registered for the online fair.

Taking place in a scaled-back format on-ground—the college currently has stringent health and safety measures in place—the popular event, generally the largest of its kind in California, had 93 four-year institutions in attendance including four UC campuses, 13 California State University (CSU) campuses, 25 out-of-state colleges and universities, seven international institutions, 42 California private institutions, and more. 

The once-a-semester event allows SMC students the opportunity to interact directly with university/college representatives, offering exposure to possible transfer destinations they may not have considered or been aware of. This enables students to choose the best fit for them and allows for personal contact with a college/university. 

Christian Ortiz, an SMC Interior Architecture major, chose the college because of its transfers record, deciding to forego other community colleges more conveniently located. He enrolled in 2019, just before the pandemic hit, but still found “a good experience.” Being at the in-person college fair was “nostalgic,” a reminder of what things were like before COVID-19

Nursing major Okeke Ogochukwu came to SMC all the way from Nigeria. “Back where I am from, it’s a developing country so the opportunities are less,” said Ogochukwu, who is Igbo, originally from Anambra, though she lived in Lagos. She moved to the U.S., following in her father’s footsteps “for the opportunities.” “I knew that SMC is a good transfer school, so I applied as soon as I moved to California. It is the right fit for me!” 

Ogochukwu went on to state: “It’s a super amazing school because every staff person here want to see you succeed, they want to see you grow and learn. And any chance they get, they introduce you to a lot of opportunities, things to build you up. The counselors are here to guide you every step of the way. So many resources—even food support—you can make use of, that encourage you to keep going in your journey. SMC does that, and I am so grateful!”

Though she applied to Cal State LA last year—her top choice—she did not get accepted because “they are highly impacted and have limited capacity.” The Spring 2022 College Fair was an opportunity for Ogochukwu to get new perspectives. “This time I will cast a wider net, and will not get discouraged at all!” 

Being at school online during the pandemic was a challenge for Hassan Anthony, a Communications major. He was working two jobs for a year. “Online is not for me,” he said. Today, he was looking around, stopping at the tables of his possible transfer options: CSUN, Columbia College of Hollywood, and/or USC. Someday Anthony hopes to establish his own production company, with his own streaming service where artistes can get paid fair compensation. 

The Spring 2022 College Fair—the first featuring an in-person component since Fall 2019—included information sessions and presentations from Columbia University School of General Studies, UCLA Alumni Scholars Club, CalArts, Cal State Northridge, Arizona State University, The New School, Smith College, and many more. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, it was important for SMC’s Team Transfer to meet students where they are,” said SMC Transfer Center Faculty Leader Sara Nieves-Lucas. “From an equity perspective we wanted to provide the opportunity for students to attend an on-ground fair as well as a virtual one. I feel that this is what the future is going to look like as we make sure our students have as many transfer options as possible. This effort could not have been done without college-wide support. It takes a whole campus to transfer a student and this is an example of it!” 

In 2020-2021, Santa Monica College capped a 31-year consecutive streak as the No.1 transfer college to the University of California system, according to transfer data released by the UC Information Center. SMC sent 1,186 students to UC campuses in the prior academic year. SMC also maintained the No. 1 spot for African American and Latinx transfers to the UC, and is the leading transfer college to USC and Loyola Marymount University. In addition, the college is the top feeder west of the Mississippi to the Ivy League Columbia University

Santa Monica College offers Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAGs), which provide guaranteed admission for students who meet specific requirements to several universities including Loyola Marymount University, Arizona State University (ASU), and many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), among others. 

The college’s Scholars Program prepares enrolled, eligible students for rigorous upper-division coursework through smaller classes taught by highly recommended faculty, coupled with intensive counseling and support. Scholars students receive priority consideration for admissions through special transfer agreements with The UCLA College of Letters and Science (Transfer Alliance Program), UC Irvine, and Loyola Marymount University, to name a few.  

Significantly, in addition to rigorous instruction, SMC’s comprehensive counseling and student support network provide students hands-on academic, career, and personal guidance as well as basic needs and mental health support to help them meet their educational goals.  

For more information about SMC’s Transfer Center and its services, please visit smc.edu/transfer or email SMC Transfer Center Faculty Leader Sara Nieves-Lucas at Nieves-Lucas_Sara@smc.edu.  

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SMC Student at College Fair
SMC Art major Willow Vergara-Agyakwa speaks to Flynn Linehan from The New School at the Spring 2022 College Fair. (Photo Credit: Andrew Boone)
SMC student at college fair
Nursing major Stephanie Deloa chats with Jeimy Gama, UCLA School of Nursing representative, at the Spring 2022 SMC College Fair. (Photo Credit: Andrew Boone)