Housing as a Transfer

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You have options!

There are a few avenues you could go down as a transfer student to secure housing. Off-campus housing, campus apartments, and residence halls constitute a mix of non-transfer and transfer students. The new Helen Diller Anchor House is an apartment building with single-only bedrooms specifically for transfer students.

Crystal Garcia, a transfer student who works at the Transfer Student Center, shares her advice regarding housing.

Regardless of where you decide, you will find success as a transfer. Read on to find the right housing option for you, and be sure to check out Crystal’s podcast episode following the experiences of four of her floormates through their transfer journeys.

On-Campus Residence Halls

On-campus residence halls include Unit 1, 2, and 3, as well as Martinez Commons, Blackwell Hall, Foothill, Stern, and Clark Kerr. While most of these typically house freshmen and sophomores, there is availability for transfer students.

Some advantages of choosing on-campus housing as a transfer include finding community, applying financial aid directly to housing expenses, and ease of searching, according to Crystal. “My financial aid was able to immediately cover a good portion of my rent,” she says. “I did not need to worry about paying back with a refund check.”

Moreover, she adds, “It was so much easier to just submit one application to the housing portal and receive an offer instead of having to look for places online and sign a lease. I mention affordability because financial aid packages look differently, and it is possible that students are able to find places with cheaper rent than on-campus housing. Something worth mentioning is that if you live in a residence hall, your fees will include a meal plan. Some students will find that to be a major convenience.”

Crystal lived in Martinez Commons and now in Blackwell Hall. She found advantages to each living space. “In Martinez Commons, I felt very supported in a space with upperclassman,” she says. “It also was super nice having a communal kitchen and lots of study space. Here I requested my roommate, who was also a transfer, which made me feel less isolated.

Blackwell Hall’s location [a block south of campus] is advantageous for students who need to pop in and out of school for extracurriculars throughout the day,” Crystal adds. “Now that I live in this space, I certainly find myself visiting my residence hall to take breaks throughout the week.”

Blackwell Hall. Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

Blackwell Hall. Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

When you apply for residence housing, Crystal advises that you request a transfer roommate in residence halls. “Housing tries to place transfers with transfers already,” she says. “Just keep in mind that no guarantees can be made.”

On-Campus Apartments

On-campus apartments are a popular route for incoming students and a great way to find community with four-year and fellow transfer students. There are eight campus apartment buildings, all of which transfers can apply to live in.

Martinez Commons. Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

Martinez Commons. Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

“On-campus apartments are a good option for transfers who want a kitchen to prep their own meals and do not want to be limited to quiet hours or guest policies,” says Crystal.

When you compare campus apartments to off-campus rentals, take into account sharing rooms, being farther away from campus, and potential space and lease difficulties. Living in one of these apartments may be the right choice for you.

New Transfer-Only Anchor House

Anchor House is a new apartment building solely for transfer students, and you can apply to live there for fall 2024.

With amenities and spaces such as lounges, group kitchen, and indoor and outdoor gyms, this complex is designed to build community. A meal plan is not required while living here.

The rooms are singles and will be located right across campus.

“When I first moved to Berkeley last year, I lived in the Transfer Living and Learning Community (TLLC) in the res halls and it allowed me to create lasting relationships with friends with a similar background as me,” Crystal says. Anchor House is designed to offer the same as the TLLC program only in a much larger building and within an apartment context. “The establishment of the Anchor House will aim to serve transfer and commuter students with housing and amenities.”

Off-Campus Rentals

Off-campus housing is a viable, and often preferable, option. Many transfers go this route.

I have lived in an off-campus dorm-style house and my sorority house while at Cal. For a comprehensive list on traditional off-campus rentals, consult Off-Campus Housing Search Tips. There are also alternative off-campus options such as the Berkeley Co-Ops, International House, and Greek housing.

Finding Your Next Home

As an incoming transfer student, the housing market at Berkeley can seem daunting, with many options and pros/cons. Hopefully, this expansion of these different options brings clarity to your decision. Remember, whether you are living on or off campus, you are going to be able to find your community, be involved in the university, and have a fulfilling college experience.

As mentioned, Crystal developed a podcast episode that follows the experiences of four of her floormates through their transfer journeys. “One of my biggest pieces of advice for finding community is to stay true to yourself and put yourself out there,” she says. “UC Berkeley has so much to offer; sometimes it can be intimidating, but it is important to try things out. If an organization or program doesn’t feel right for you, don’t feel like you have to stay. As transfers, many of us plan on graduating within two years and don’t have too much time to give. It is important to keep your interests and values in mind over everything.”

Oski helping move in! Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

Oski helping move in! Photo by Student Affairs Communications.

Preslee Vanlandingham is a fourth year at UC Berkeley majoring in English and Creative Writing.

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