By Grace Cho
In the midst of a pandemic and on the heels of an unprecedented semester, the Honors Student Advisory Committee members produced a successful and productive Summer Transfer Workshop on June 24th, 2020. Held annually and in its tenth year, the Summer Transfer Workshop was hosted on Zoom for the first time, as a way to keep our LaGuardia students informed and connected despite social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions.
The workshop went through each step of the transfer process to four-year colleges and universities, from choosing schools to apply for, compiling application materials, navigating financial aid requests, and asking for recommendation letters. Every summer, our alumni who have transferred to four-year schools join us to share their transfer experiences with students, and fortunately, many of our alumni were still able to attend virtually this year. The Associate Director of Transfer Services at LaGuardia, Jose Plasencia, also spoke during the workshop about financial aid and the general transfer process. Of course, this event could not have been possible without support from the Honors Program Director, Dr. Karlyn Koh, as well as the help and organization of current HSAC members, including Yejin Lee, Vladimir Severino, Hayate Hosenji, Samantha Brown, Veronica Martinez, and myself.
Executing this event was one of the most gratifying experiences of my time in HSAC. After going through the transfer process myself during this past academic year, I finally understood firsthand the challenges that students must go through while transferring, and felt more passionate about the importance of giving and receiving help. Having the space to extend support to others and directly impact them with advice and knowledge strengthened my school spirit, during these turbulent times when a sense of community can seem elusive. Personally, I spoke about how to increase one’s chances of acceptance to four-year schools during the workshop. Talking about how my activities at LaGuardia over the past two years helped me transfer, I realized just how much I had to share to help others, and also reminded myself of the long yet fruitful journey I took to get to this point.
Getting to work with and speak to our alumni was another highlight of organizing the workshop. Seeing their continued success at their transfer schools felt like a glimpse of our own futures after LaGuardia. Despite their busy schedules, they made the time to collaborate with us to plan our presentations and lend further support to those who attended our event. As we gathered together with the alumni and students listening in, we showed the continuity of motivated LaGuardia students: our alumni who have gone on to achieve even more, HSAC members who are starting the same path as our graduates, and students who are eager to start this journey. Personally, an essential section of the workshop was the advice about requesting letters of recommendation from our alumnus, Anthony Phillips (Amherst ‘21). Anthony offered insight into his own experiences with receiving these recommendation letters, emphasizing the importance of building relationships with professors early on at LaGuardia. He explained how he got to know faculty members, who later on wrote his recommendations when he was transferring. Listening to Anthony speak about a club he started with the help of a professor reminded me that there are many ways to connect with your professors and other supporting educators. While asking for letters of recommendation may seem like a fairly straightforward process, there is actually a lot of planning and time that should be spent on this part of transfer process, so I was glad that Anthony broke it down in greater detail for students who are planning to transfer.
Although HSAC’s 2020 Summer Transfer Workshop occurred under extraordinary circumstances, we managed to pull it off without a hitch and gave many of our peers insight into the college transfer process. If you weren’t able to join us for this event, we’ve recorded the workshop and posted it on our website for anyone to view, so check that out here. The 2020 Transfer Guidebook and the 2020 Scholarship Guidebook are other great resources for navigating transfer applications. Keep in touch with us through our social media platforms and our website for more transfer information!
Thank you so much to all of our speakers, including:
Honors Program Director
Dr. Karlyn Koh
Ninotska Love (Wellesley College)
Jonathan Morales (Stanford University)
Xavier Medina (Columbia University)
Anthony Phillips (Amherst College)
Shania Persaud (Baruch College)
LJ Williams (Mount Holyoke College)
Associate Director of Transfer Services
Current & Transferring Members
Yejin Lee (Columbia University)
Samantha Brown (Smith College)
Grace Cho (Amherst College)