LEMOORE — Students like Jose Ramirez have known what they wanted to do their whole lives. Others — like Dylan Grzybicki — had no idea until a few months ago.
They both attended West Hills College Lemoore’s Transfer Fair on Tuesday morning, scouting through rows of booths from different colleges and universities they might be interested in attending.
The college fair surrounded WHCL’s Student Union and ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. as representatives from at least 20 universities spoke to students about their programs and their transfer options.
Grzybicki is a freshman at WHCL and wasn’t even thinking about going to college after he graduated from Lemoore High School.
Now, Grzybicki is not only attending college with plans to transfer to a four-year university, but is also very involved on campus and was recently elected as an ambassador for the Associated Student Body.
“I’ve always done very well in school and on tests, but I just didn’t really care,” Grzybicki said. “I had nothing going on, so that's why I came here. I’m pushing myself to do better and become a role model for students coming in.”
Grzybicki is majoring in engineering with plans to transfer to his dream college, the University of California, Berkeley, but is also looking at other schools just in case.
“My goal is UC Berkeley. I want to build cars, like I want to design and engineer my own car,” Grzybicki said.
Ramirez, also a freshman, is majoring in computer technology and video game design. He said attending college has always been his plan.
He attended Tranquility High School before moving to Riverdale, and said part of the reason for wanting to attend college is to show his younger siblings that it is possible to go to college and strive for a better future.
“My parents brought me here when I was a baby,” Ramirez said. “I decided to come to school so I can get a better future. I want to show my brother that he can get a good education, and I’m also the first one in my family to come to college, so it’s a big thing.”
Ramirez isn’t eligible for financial aid, and by the time he graduated high school, he could no longer apply for Barack Obama’s 2012 executive order Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that protects those who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children.
He has worked in the fields picking fruit and works in the garlic factory at Harris Ranch while continuing to go to school.
He plans to attend the University of California, Riverside, or the University of California, Santa Barbara, and likes that there is a transfer fair that allows students to realize there are many options.
“Transfer fair is a good idea for all students because it gives students a motive for them to look at bigger colleges and not just demote themselves like most people do,” Ramirez said.
Among the local universities like the California State University, Fresno, and Fresno Pacific University, other top California universities were also in attendance, including those in Riverside, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara. Smaller private colleges also were there.
Fresno Pacific Transfer Admission Counselor Jorge Cubillos said transfer fairs are really good resources for students and a good way to let them know what is out there.
“I like coming to them instead of them coming to us and it’s an opportunity for them to get the questions answered that they might have,” Cubillos said.
Representatives from the Educational Employees Credit Union and Golden One Credit Union were also at the event to offer students advice about finances and loans.
The WHCL Associated Student Body hosted the event, providing a game area for students throughout the day and live entertainment from the Lemoore Middle College High School Panther band.
WHCL is also taking part in a weeklong event called TransferMation Week offering a series of workshops on various transfer-related topics.
Leonel Burgos, Transfer Counselor at WHCL, said this will help students be better equipped to navigate and take advantage of opportunities in higher education.
“The Transfer Fair is a great opportunity for students to network with representatives from four-year universities and become familiar with the admissions process for transfer students,” Burgos said.