Transfer Students are an important part of the educational purpose of UC Davis; though they are often a somewhat neglected minority of the student body, they have highest admissions priority if they transfer from a California Community College. This article is geared towards those from a community college, though transfers from other schools should get something from the guide too.
If you're still thinking about transferring, Davis provides a UC-quality education without the stress of the other UCs (particularly UCLA and UC Berkeley). If you play it right, your time at Davis could be the best three years of your life.
Yes, I said three years. A majority of students here take longer than four years (two for us transfer students) to graduate. Well prepared students can usually escape the People's Republic of Davis in two years to two years and two quarters. The change from semester classes to quarter classes really cuts down on the amount of classes you could have transferred with, and UCD's majors require a lot of classes, particularly in the 180-unit science and engineering majors.
Managing your units will take a lot more work than incoming freshmen. Be sure to check out the Class Schedule and Registration Guide, read the General Catalog carefully, and visit ASSIST.org for information on articulation agreements between campuses (i.e. how classes transfer). Take as many of the background courses for your major as possible before you transfer, as it will really help you later. Since you're probably coming in with no upper-division units, the most important restriction you need to worry about is getting a total of 54 upper division units. Be careful on series of classes required by your major — you'll probably only get one shot to get all of the prerequisite courses without
wasting enjoying another year here at Davis.
Before transferring, many of us were told that the quarter system is different. Well, it is. It can't really be described how it's different, but it's worth noting that midterms start in Week 4. You'll get used to it. Oh, and it's called a midterm, not a test, even if it's on the last day before finals.
If you're going to transfer to Davis, there's a lot of good information on the Freshman Guide. However, the experience of a transfer student is quite different. Generally you can not expect to be able to live in the Dorms — there's barely enough housing for freshmen as it is. Nonetheless, for the 2009/2010 academic year Student Housing is offering transfers space in Residence Halls and space in apartments. There are a few places available, but you probably don't want to live in the dorms anyway unless you really like social life. Freshmen can seem pretty immature sometimes, especially if you live with them.
So, what are your options for housing? There are actually quite a few. There are many Apartments, off-campus Cooperative Housing and On Campus Co-ops that you can choose from. Consider yourself lucky — in 2002-2004, it was almost impossible to get housing later than the month of May in Davis. But with recently remodeled complexes and a decrease in admitted students, the vacancy rate is now a nonzero number. As a result, rent has dropped quite a bit, and you can actually get a place between August and September.
Places to live are still much cheaper in Woodland (10 miles away, not too bad), Dixon (10 miles away, nice but few places), Winters (15 miles away, middle of nowhere podunk), and West Sacramento (15 miles away, you don't want to live here unless you can find a house South of Highway 50). You'd also have to buy a somewhat expensive parking permit from TAPS. Different areas of Davis have their own feel — West Davis, East Davis and South Davis generally have newer and better apartments, but are further from campus.
Be sure to check out our Rental Housing Guide for more information, and check out the reviews on each of the Apartment Complexes. Just be forwarned that virtually all leases in Davis are for a term of one year: Aug-Jul or usually Sep-Aug.
Check out the ASUCD Housing List to find apartments/houses/rooms
Remember what we said about freshmen being immature? That doesn't mean they can't make good friends. I met my best friend in Davis, a freshman back then, on my first day of school when stopping at an information booth. You have things in common with freshmen — you're both trying to figure out how things work in this place. They're also more connected socially, which is good because you likely don't live in the dorms.
However, it's good to have friends in your upper-division classes, too. Make friends with everyone in any series of classes you are required to take. You'll be seeing a lot of them, and studying in groups is often helpful (but not always).
Also, use Facebook, and make an account with your UC Davis Email soon after you get it. It has portraits of various college students and silly groups, but it's also a good way to look up that one guy that you met that one time. If he's a friend of a friend of a friend, you'll still be able to contact him in 23 seconds flat.
Davis is truly not boring, though it may seem so at times. It might actually seem more exciting than your community college, since people actually stay on campus and do things between classes. The key to not being bored here is to use your imagination. You don't have to find a group to fit in like in High School. Start some crazy-assed idea or artistic endeavor, and you'll be hanging out with the cool kids in no time. The University is all about the flow of ideas, and you'll meet lots of people interested in the same things you are.
You might want to join one of the over 700 Student Organizations available, where you can meet all sorts of people with similar interests. You should also consider a fraternity or sorority for the events, but you probably won't be able to live at the house for the first year due to the Davis Model Lease.
If you want to meet people from all of the most important groups, look in to the student government, ASUCD. Being on a commission might be boring, but at least it looks good on your resume. You might even consider running for ASUCD Senate, though your chance of being elected ASUCD President is close to zero for being a transfer student.
If you're completely lame about cooking, you can get a meal plan to eat at the Dining Commons (i.e. at the dorms). You don't have to eat there every day if you don't live on-campus, which makes the experience much better. Also, the meals don't "expire" at the end of the year for off-campus students. There are also off-campus meal plan options that many Davis restaurants participate in.
If you're not used to working, wait at least a quarter before getting a job.
If you came in with an IGETC certification remember that that doesn't satisfy every graduation requirement (i.e the residency requirement)!