Planning Out Your Future: Transfer/Career Center Helps Students Achieve Their Goals


The Career/Transfer Center helps with finding students jobs and transferring to a four-year university. Photo credit: Troy Orem

Georgette Todd

What if you attend City College and after spending some semesters pillaging through General Education classes, you discover that you can’t transfer on time because there’s been a requirement change? What are you going to do if you don’t get accepted into any of your chosen schools? Have you ever sat in class and felt you were wasting your time and money?

These scenarios are not some doom-and-gloom hypotheticals but actual realities that students currently face. But they don’t have to go through what they’re currently experiencing and neither do you, according to the people at the Transfer/Career Center.

Joseph D’Ambro, the centers senior student services director, admits that getting the word out on all of their services to students has been a challenge, and he said he is not surprised when he hears that some students may not know anything about them. He said he feels, however, that the onus is on the student.

“Look, we’ve knocked ourselves out placing colorful flyers on all the A-frames, sent out email blasts to students and faculty, promoted our workshops and events on the front page of the City College website, and made in-class announcements. But again, it’s the proactive student who seeks us out and visits us regularly who’ll benefit the most,” D’Ambro said.

Students who frequent the center agree with D’Ambro. Transfer student Sandra Hostetter suffered a stroke a few years ago but is now graduating and on her way to California State University, San Marcos next fall. She credits the transfer center for helping her every step of the way to reaching her goal.

“I owe a lot to them. When I first got here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but they helped drill down each step I needed to take, and recommended I keep coming back for updates. The staff here made sure I was on the right track,” Hostetter said.

Like Hostetter, Hugo Flores, an electronic communications major, and Cassandra Murphy, a sociology/behavioral science major, are both graduating transfer center regulars who received a lot of support from staff members. They also have advice for students not familiar with the center’s attributes.

“They are very helpful when you feel stuck and can help you step-by-step on transferring. Also, let’s say you have no idea on what to do. It’s still a good idea to go there to explore your interest, talk to staff, check out their resources and look into clubs. You can start there and plan early,” Flores said.

The director of the Transfer/Career Center, Marilyn Harvey, concurs with students like Flores, as she believes her department’s role on campus is that of a navigator, along with their neighbors in the A Building, the Counseling Center.

Harvey said she thinks their center serves as an interpreter, as well. Whether you’re a fresh-out-of-high-school, first-year City College student, an anxious transfer student, a college grad professional seeking classes for career advancement or a tradesmen focused on skill building, no matter what kind of student you are, Harvey said her staff can help successfully map out a specific game plan.

“I believe college is a foreign language, and we want to decipher that language. It’s great when students come in knowing what they want, but most students may not know that we know what universities want, what employers want. Our center is the one who has the relationships with the student’s next step after their time here. We can help them with the big picture and the incremental steps they need to take,” Harvey said.

D’Ambro agrees with Harvey and adds that students may not be aware of the scope of their outreach in that they have relationships with faculty, many of whom are professionals in their respective industries.

“Professors can be valuable connections, too. We’ve had instances where we worked with a student who then worked hard in a classroom and that led to a desired job in that field. Professors can claim credit for introductory training and students can use them as a reference,” D’Ambro said.

There are a number of ways for students to use the Career Center to their advantage, be it for collegiate life or a career. Every month, on campus and through online webinars, the center holds career workshops on developing effective resumes and cover letters, brushing up on interviewing techniques, mastering networking and how to work a career fair.

On the Transfer/Career services website students can access online tools and walk through the career planning steps as well as learn more through their job readiness videos and podcasts.

They also offer a feature where if students sign up to their ListServ, they can get text messages for any transfer, and career events and deadlines.

Family of currently enrolled students can also gain access to some of the job searching resources, provided that the student accompanies the family member at the center and career-oriented events. resources, provided that the student accompanies the family member at the center and career-oriented events. career events and deadlines.

Additionally, the most current jobs and internships are available to students online and in the center, which has close ties with many downtown businesses.

“We have jobs opportunities for entry and beyond and for those looking for a career change. From hotels, to SDG&E;, air conditioning, retail, restaurants, clerical, law enforcement and media. We update our binders weekly and bi-weekly, basically as soon as we get a fax, we make it available to students,” said Omari Linton, a second-year student and the center’s student assistant.

Linton, who assists with transfer services, shares that he can work with a student in finding out what the desired institution deadline is for application and figure out what’s needed to complete that process.

He also refers to their online frequently-asked-questions page, which addresses every aspect of transferring, from discovering what City College courses will transfer to unit requirements and when students should apply to transfer and what to do if they missed a deadline.

Since the transfer center offers California State University and University of California application workshops, school tours and access to transfer conferences and events, Linton advises students to check in with their office in between their classes to make sure they are not missing out.

In addition to monthly workshops, the career center holds annual events for students such as a fashion show for interview attire, an Industry Career Week where top professionals in their fields give a series of talks to the student body, and a hybrid career/school fair.

One attendee, the center’s career counselor, Tandy Ward, who has worked at the center for 16 years, said he was very pleased with the high turnout for the fair but hopes students don’t wait to do something with their academic and job career until the next event comes along.

“Everyone is here to get a career. Everyone. How you get there is up to you.

We can provide all the resources in the world but they won’t mean anything if you don’t take initiative and follow-through. Following up is critical,” Ward said.

While students do need to make an appointment with a career counselor — if you’re coming from another college, have transcripts readily available — no student needs to make an appointment to see the center’s staff. If anything, they’re encouraged to just drop in.

“Students aren’t lazy. If you’re already rolling out of bed and coming here on campus, you might as well make the most of your time and stop by. It’s our job to have more information than what you already know. Use us,” D’Ambro said.

The Transfer/Career Center is located in the A Building, in Room 111, next to the Counseling Center. They are open on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information or to make an appointment with a career counselor, students can call (619) 388-3722 or visit them online at