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Triton Transfer Tell Alls

Triton Transfer Tell Alls are blog posts made by Triton Transfers. Check back monthly for stories from students who have walked in your shoes.

How To: Off-Campus Housing as a Transfer Student

vivian-blog1.jpeg vivian-blog2.jpeg
Vivian Cerrito (she, her, hers)
Sixth College, Sociology - Social Inequalities 
Class of 2023

Getting Accepted

I applied at UCSD thinking it was a reach for me to get accepted. I was cooking for my mom and when I looked at my phone I saw I had an update from UCSD. I logged in and that’s when I saw my acceptance letter. The feeling of accomplishment was unforgettable, for the first time I was able to admit that I was proud of myself! I debated whether to attend UCSD or stay close to home and attend UCR. To me, UCR was a comfort school, it was the school I felt was the safest choice. UCSD was the school I feared most, imposter syndrome settled in when thinking of my ability to succeed there. A couple of days after receiving my acceptance, I took a small trip to tour UCSD with my mom, aunt and uncle. My uncle, a UCLA alumni, led the tour for us; he talked about UCSD with so much joy. I remember feeling so excited thinking about walking through the campus as a student. Because of this tour,  I knew I’d be choosing to move to San Diego. My love for the campus, however, was only one of the reasons why I chose to attend UCSD. My uncle Chad, although he may not know it, played a big role in my acceptance of UCSD’s offer. He never failed to tell me he was proud and that he knew I would succeed at UCSD despite my fears. In all honesty, my self-doubt overpowered my confidence, which made my decision between schools more difficult. I needed someone other than myself to truly believe I’d do great so that I could overcome my own worries, my uncle was that someone. In moments during my tour of the campus, I told myself that I’d be attending that Fall. A couple of days later,  I pushed through my apprehensive thoughts and accepted my offer to UCSD. My next step was to figure out housing and find a place to live.

Looking for Housing

The search to find a home for myself in San Diego was a very new and eventful experience. I was moving out of my mom's house to a new city a couple hours away. As excited as I was,  I was also very nervous. New school, new city, a new path in my life. Change is scary but sometimes inevitable. Something that brought comfort to my move was that my close friend from community college was also moving to UCSD, so we began to look for housing together. We went back and forth on which housing we’d like more, on-campus or off-campus. We saw on our financial aid that on-campus housing would be a little more expensive than off-campus so that pushed us more to off-campus. We also liked the idea of having our own apartment off-campus even if it was a small one-bedroom place. 

So we looked for rooms for rent, applied to many apartments and houses, and even drove to San Diego to see if we would find apartments for lease. We had no luck with any of it; we were also struggling with money after all the applications we paid for. We also learned that there was a housing crisis going on for UCSD, which made finding housing extremely difficult for students. A few days into our housing journey, my friend and I joined two girls to look for a place, one of them was my friend from high school who was a fourth year at UCSD. Weeks into our search for housing, my friend from community college decided she didn’t feel ready to move to San Diego. This is when it seemed like crisis had truly hit.


Now a group of three, we were struggling even more to find a home. Trying to make the income and credit requirements was a lot harder with three people instead of four. We were also very close to starting fall quarter when my friend backed out, which brought even more stress onto us. We ended up not being able to secure housing so we had to stay in an Airbnb during the first week of fall quarter while still desperately looking for housing. Eventually, our stay at the Airbnb for the week ended and we couldn’t afford to stay another week. Because of this, I had to move back home the second week of the quarter. I talked to my professors and luckily all were understanding of my situation so they allowed me to join Zoom or listen to podcasts while still counting my attendance. As week two of fall quarter ended, my friend found a house for rent on Facebook. My other friend that stayed in SD went to tour the house. The agent liked her enough to give us the house. I took to Facebook to find another roommate to fill an empty room in the house. We applied and signed the lease for the house within two days. It was a weight lifted off our shoulders. We finally found a home!

Finally, a Home, but at what cost?

Maybe the fact that they were willing to give us the house so quickly was a red flag but desperate needs called for desperate measures. The cost of rent was way over our budget. The utilities for that house were also more than an apartment or most houses would have required for a renter. The first week we lived there, we couldn’t cook anything because the stove and microwave wouldn’t work. We contacted the agent and her replies kept being delayed. Finally, during the second week of living there, I had to text her saying I’d be contacting the landlord directly for help because we needed our kitchen to work properly, as that’s what we’re paying for. Knowing I’d contact the landlord, the agent responded and sent an electrician over to fix it. Throughout our year renting this house, the delayed responses by the agent continued. One day my roommate took the same steps I did saying she’d contact the landlord directly, and then the agent finally responded saying to contact her agent when we need help. The agent now had an agent! That wasn’t the only issue we had, the roommate I found to fill the empty room was just not the cleanest person nor the best person to live with. So my group and I had to constantly deal with their inconsiderate tendencies. Overall, I’m grateful I was able to find a home for the 2021-2022 school year. 


Even after several issues, I’d still choose to live in that house, deal with that agent and roommate, if it meant I had a home. Many students, or people in general, could say the same about their own situations. I know so many students experience problems finding off-campus housing. There are so many roommate, landlord and renter horror stories out there that haven’t been shared. Even my new roommates have recently shared their housing and roommate horror stories with me. So, know that you are not alone in your experiences! I’ve learned so much from this experience and I’m glad to say I have several tips and resources to offer fellow students when it comes to finding housing off-campus. 

What Helped Me and Things I Wish I Knew of Before

If Things Seem Fishy

You can head to student legal services (SLS) to learn your rights!

  • SLS hosts webinars that teach students about their rights and offers answers to questions many of us living off campus may have! On their site, they post slides of their webinars, here’s one about whether or not students can cancel their lease
  • Here’s another webinar that I watched when I first hunted for off campus housing This talks all about housing 101 with UCSD Student Legal Services. This video is very helpful if you want to know more about living off-campus, your rights as a tenant and more!

Know Which Sites to Utilize

UCSD partners with to display to students the options they have for off campus housing: This website allows you to login with your active directory login. It’s trustworthy and a great resource! When you explore this site, you’ll see that it offers things like tips for apartment hunting, tenant rights, templates for renters, and more. It’s a resource I have utilized heavily in my most recent hunt for housing for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Another great source are Facebook Groups! Create a Facebook account if you don’t already have one! Facebook is a great resource for housing or roommate hunting. I’ve utilized these groups in both of my off-campus hunting years. You can post what you’re looking for to these groups, whether it be a single room, double room, an apartment, roommates to join you in hunting for housing, and more! I’ve posted looking for someone to sublease my room and to fill an empty room at my house. 

Here’s a list of groups I recommend to look through:

  •     UCSD Student Off-Campus Housing
  •     UCSD Housing / Sublets / Rentals
  •     UCSD Transfers 2022 (Class of 2024+)
  •     University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Housing, Sublets & Roommates
  •     There’s a new Facebook group every new school year so look yours up on Facebook.
  •     San Diego Roommates

Zillow is another source I used to look for housing! They have a mobile app and a website. Zillow has a “fast and easy application” deal where you pay $29 to apply to as many participating properties as you want for one month. I did this when I first started my off campus housing journey in 2021! It really helped with saving money on rental applications, credit and background checks. I will say, Zillow is hard to secure a place on because everyone is applying as well. Landlords receive high numbers of applications on Zillow, which makes the chances of being chosen as their new renter low. 

Identifying Red Flags!

When searching for housing, there were times where I came across scam posts. Identifying these posts can be tricky sometimes. Lucky for you, I’ve learned some tips in spotting scam posts. The first thing I pay attention to is the lister's profile, if they have zero pictures posted on their profile, that’s a red flag for me. This is because pictures with friends, pictures with family, or just of themselves from months or years ago, help in showing that these people are “real.” 

The second, maybe even most important red flag to look out for is when someone asks you to send them money before signing onto a lease. Places do require security deposits and sometimes a partial amount of rent before you move in, but you should not send this money before signing onto anything. 

Red flag number three is when the lister offers no pictures of the place. You can ask the person to send pictures of the place they’re renting, if they refuse then that may mean the place isn’t real. You can even ask them for the address so you can google if it’s real. 

Suerte Con Todo

To transfer students reading this, congratulations on becoming a Triton! An amazing accomplishment, be proud of yourself! You’re going to do great and be even greater! Always remember, you have a Transfer peer coach available to talk to. Schedule an appointment if and whenever you need us! I wish you luck with all. May your off-campus housing journey (and all else) run smoothly.





Previous Blog Posts


Transfers Can Study Abroad (Affordably), Too!

Transferring in a Pandemic & How I Survived

The Ultimate UCSD Photo Guide

The World of a Pre-Health Transfer Student

Navigating Through Self-Doubt as a First-Generation Latina Transfer Student  

Diane’s Declassified Survival Guide to Transfer Shock