daily californian logo


Differences between junior and senior year: transfer student edition

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2023

Now that I’m completely settled in at Berkeley, I’m starting to appreciate my senior year more. Admittedly, the first few weeks were rough, and I was having difficulty getting back into my Berkeley routine after being home for the summer. As a transfer student, this is only my second year here and I still feel like I have lots to experience and learn. However, in these past few weeks, I’ve realized that senior year is definitely different than last year. Here’s what I’ve noticed about the differences between being a senior and junior transfer student. 

Increased academic confidence

For many transfer students, including myself, there’s a fear that “transfer shock” will happen, the phenomenon in which transfer students’ GPAs decrease immediately after transferring universities. Last year, I was worried that my community college workload and classes were too easy and that I wouldn’t be able to handle the academic intensity at UC Berkeley. I wouldn’t say adjusting academically was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it certainly wasn’t as difficult as I’d previously imagined. Looking back as a senior, I was excessively worried for nothing. After my first semester, my academic confidence increased immensely and I have more faith in being able to get good grades and succeed. 

Less campus culture shock 

I think every university has its own unique quirks, and UC Berkeley definitely has many. Being on such a large campus with three times as many students than my community college was shocking at first. And not to mention having to adjust to the influx of various preachers, activists and regulars who like to hang around Upper Sproul and Sather Gate. A year later, I’m no stranger to the campus’ culture. I can confidently walk through Upper Sproul without fearing that I might hurt someone’s feelings by not accepting their flier or being confused as to why people preach about religion all the time with bullhorns. 

More knowledge of campus resources

Since UC Berkeley is such a large campus, it’s hard to know what it has to offer as an incoming student. I navigated a lot of my junior year by myself, but I wish I had utilized more campus resources. Although it may not always seem like it, transfer students do have quite a few resources that can help them transition and adjust. I recommend visiting the Transfer Student Center, located near Lower Sproul Plaza — a chill place to study and meet fellow transfer students. They also occasionally host mixers or events to facilitate socializing between transfers. Also, I highly recommend checking out the Career Engagement Center on Bancroft Way, where you can book free career counseling appointments. 

To all the junior transfer students reading this, just know that your feelings, whether that be imposter syndrome or loneliness, are not uncommon. It’s okay to feel lost, confused and out of place as a transfer your first year, but situations improve and confidence increases as time goes on. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a transfer student, it’s that my time here is limited and a lot of my fun moments and memories have come from me being patient, giving myself some grace and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Contact Sophie Ward at 


SEPTEMBER 12, 2023