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6 Things Transfers Should Look for on Campus Tours

Students sit on a quad in front of a large school building.

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

The wait is now over. You got into many universities, and you’re ready to transfer out! Congratulations on all the hard work you’ve done in the past 2 or so years.

Now, you have to weigh in on the different qualities of each campus. So, you decide to schedule some campus tours to get a feel for them.

But you’re wondering: What should I look for while I’m on these tours? What kind of questions should I ask?

Every person has different needs regarding what they should look for on these tours, but here are a couple of things transfer students specifically should keep an eye out for when they’re walking around campus.

1. A Basic Needs Center

Basic needs are not limited to food and housing insecurity. It could also mean mental wellness and actual prevention of basic needs issues. A basic needs center can provide a plethora of resources from a food pantry, mutual aid efforts, community clinics, and much more.

For Berkeley’s basic needs center, there are also workshops to help fill out the application for SNAP, or food stamps. 

Ask your tour guide where the pantry is located, and ask what other services are available at the center. You never know when you’ll need the food pantry, but it’s smart to know you have that option available.

2. Commuting Groups

When it comes to deciding which university to transfer to, the commute can be a big factor for many. Not all universities are commuter schools, but it definitely shifts how student life operates.

If it is a commuter school, ask if there are ways to find a commuting friend to make the trip less tiresome.

3. Parking Spots

For many transfer students, we are accustomed to driving to and from our community college, so parking may be a priority. I have friends at different universities and we all agree parking is a hassle, and some have decided to not bring their car altogether. 

Look at where you’re thinking of moving, and see what the parking situation looks like. If your campus is more urban, then it might be harder to find parking compared to a college town or one that’s in the suburbs.

Resources for Transfer Students To Use

4. Free Printing on Campus

To this day, I find it odd that printing is expensive! Even while at my community college, I made sure to find spaces on campus that offered free printing services. While 10 cents for a single page doesn’t sound like a lot, it does make a difference when you have to print out 20 pages for a single class. 

While most of my work is digital, once in a while I do take advantage of the free printing on campus (mostly to print out shipping labels for my returns.)

5. Study Spaces

This is something I completely overlooked when deciding on campuses, mainly because my entire first semester was remote. It wasn’t until after in-person classes resumed that I remember hiking all over campus just to find a space to do work.

This semester one of the major libraries at Berkeley, Moffitt Library, is closed for the semester. Because of this, all the other libraries have been busy with students trying to find recluses.

You should ask your campus tour guide how many libraries your campus has, and ask which ones are the most popular. That way, you can avoid those or make a plan to study in the off-peak hours. 

6. Landscape of the Campus

This characteristic is hit or miss, but I think it still has merit! Another reason why going on tours is important is to see how much walking you’re doing on a daily basis. Is the campus super hilly? Is it nestled between huge trees? Is it flat? How far are your classes going to be from each other?

Berkeley’s campus has hills, and I didn’t realize how much walking I was going to be doing since everything is on an incline. I remember one of my mentors told me she got shin splints from all the walking she did. This is an extreme example, but see if you are heavy breathing after walking. 

With this in mind, you know your needs best! Make sure you have the resources to be the most successful at your university.

You want to be comfortable at your new institution, so do your research, even if it means asking if your tour guide gets winded during their walks to class.

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Author: Mayra Herrera

Mayra is a senior transfer student at UC Berkeley, studying Political Science and Chicano Studies from Santa Ana, CA. She hopes to one day work in higher education, supporting and uplifting other students of color. When she isn't writing for Niche, you can catch her jamming out to Harry Styles, finding a new coffee shop to study in, or taking a nap in one of the many campus libraries.