LPEP, Andrew Building, and block sections – for most Lasallians, these three could sum up their frosh year in La Salle.
For transfer students, however, it’s a different story. Life in the university is arguably more challenging with the lack of frosh essentials, which many students deem necessary to survive the start of their Taft life.
Jericho Gutib (ID 113), a transferee from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), always wanted to study in La Salle. Despite failing his first opportunity at the DLSUCET, Gutib tried his faith for the second time around after spending a year in UST. Fortunately for him, DLSU opened their gates for him at his second attempt.
In the case of Accountancy major and transfer student from Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU), Pram Menghrajani (ID 111), she states that the reason behind her transfer was because her previous school did not offer the course that she wanted to shift to.
For the International Studies major John* who transferred from New Era University, just like Gutib, La Salle has always been his first choice. But because the high school he attended discouraged their graduating students to apply for Catholic universities, he also needed to wait for a year before following his wishes. “The only prestigious school I could go to was UP but then I didn’t want to go to UP,” he explains.
The transfer application entails passing almost the same heap of documents regular freshman applicants have to submit. It also includes transcript of records, good moral certificates and recommendation letters from the students’ professors in the university they attended.
Furthermore, they must have a GPA of at least 85%, no failed marks, and no incomplete grades. Only after fulfilling these could they take the entrance exam.
What made the transfer application hard for former Thomasian Gutib was the hassle of going back and forth from DLSU to UST to submit the required documents.
Fulfilling all the requirements and passing the examination is just the start of the many struggles transfer students are bound to face. Next in line is the accreditation of courses.
Often, transfer students will have already taken up the general education or floating courses in the previous school that they attended. Before the start of classes, they are required to see the academic assistants of their respective colleges to have their earned units in other universities accredited.
Psychology and Accountancy major, Gutib, shares that before a subject is accredited, the academic assistant must check the flowchart of his academic program in UST to see if it covers similar topics the counterpart subject in DLSU has before the courses in the student’s current flowchart can be validated.
For example, the Accounting subject he took in UST was credited as ACTBAS1. He shares though, that he will still be taking ACTBAS1. ”Baka mahirapan kasi ako sa ACTBAS2 if di ko ita-take yung basic accounting dito.”
Jericho also mentions that only 20% of the total units of his current program in La Salle can come from the accredited courses. Since he is a double major, he was able to validate almost all the courses he took in UST for a year. “41 units, almost 2 terms na rin,” Jericho shares.
Courses subject to accreditation are only limited to the General Education courses. Institutional courses or courses unique to La Salle such as PERSEF, TRED, and LASARE cannot be validated even though the student has taken up theology classes or similar classes.
Adjusting to life in Taft can be tough for most of the transfer students. Of course, moving to a new school always comes with risks and struggles. Even when, technically, transfer students are no longer considered a frosh, they are still new to the hustle and bustle of Taft.
For Gutib, “it was sad not to have a block and regular break buddies”. He would often eat by himself during break. “Or sometimes my HS friends will accompany me if they are free and if they’re not hanging out with their block mates,” he adds.
Gutib also appreciates the system of enrollment here in La Salle. Unlike in the former university he attended where students have pre-enlisted subjects, the freedom of choosing the subjects to take and his own schedule makes a whole lot of difference.
Some of them also reveal that during their first year in La Salle, they often found questions about their ID number troublesome due to worries of being mistaken as the vulnerable froshie. For instance, if a transfer student entered the university in 2013, his ID number would start in 113 even though he is supposedly batch 112.
Going to John’s case, he considers one of his difficult experiences in La Salle was being tagged as someone who failed the DCAT because he was a transferee. John also cites missing the experience of being a frosh as one of the biggest downsides of being a transfer student.
Menghrajani, however, did not find it so much hard to adjust to the culture of DLSU. She shares, “This is because most of the students are friendly and approachable. Once they know you’re a transfer student, they will be willing to help you out.”
When asked if being a transfer student makes her feel less of a Lasallian, Menghrajani says it doesn’t. “Being a transferee actually made me feel the need to understand the essence of being a Lasallian. It allowed me to absorb everything I learn from the classes I enrolled in and training sessions provided by the organizations I joined.”
Pram also pointed out the difference of academic calendars of Ateneo and La Salle, wherein she regards the latter as an advantage. “Since DLSU follows the trimestral system and has a student size twice of what Ateneo has, things are more fast-paced and it is more likely to have new classmates every term.”
For transfer students, moving to La Salle isn’t always easy. Transferring to La Salle has its upsides and downsides, and foregoing block sections and early graduation is a small price to pay in search of greener pastures. After all, the future begins here in DLSU.
*Names have been changed due to anonymity.