Looking to transfer from community college to a four-year university, or from one four-year to a different one? This post is for you!
Historically, it’s been difficult for community college students to transfer. This article details some of the barriers that have precluded nearly 60% of community college students from transferring, and this article discusses some of the structural problems that exist.
There are multiple situations in which a college student would want to transfer colleges: maybe you started at a community college and you’re ready to move on to pursue your bachelor’s degree. Maybe you started at a four-year college, but you realized that for some reason, it wasn’t the right place for you. It’s OK! Transfer is always an option. Regardless of your situation, it’s helpful to know the rules and expectations if you’re transferring colleges. This post will answer some common questions people have, and help you better understand what will be required to successfully transfer colleges.
How do I transfer from a California community college to a UC campus?
You’ll need 60 transferable credits to transfer (the transferable part is the MOST IMPORTANT part. California community colleges have an articulation agreement with the UC system, so you’ll self-report all of the courses you’ve taken in the UC application, which will determine which of your credits are transferable. Be aware that not all community college classes are transferable – so you should meet with either an independent counselor, or your community college counselor, as soon as you get started, to ensure you’re taking transferable courses.
By the time you’re ready to transfer to a UC, you’ll have to know your major. Different majors have different requirements, so in addition to your general education (GE) courses, you may have to take specific courses that are prerequisites for classes in your major. Get all your GE requirements completed from the IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) form provided by your community college. IGETC requires you to take a prescribed number of courses in English, math, social science, humanities, natural sciences and foreign language.
To be more competitive, take a challenging academic schedule. For example, if you’re a business major and have already completed the basic math requirements, and you have room for an extra business or math class, take it instead of ART 101. Step up! You’re competing for that transfer spot, just like a senior in high school is competing for a spot in the freshman class.
Make sure to continue your outside activities such as volunteering, working and or playing a sport. Be involved in activities and commitments that you love and have interest in. All paid and unpaid internships are encouraged.
The TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee) program allows you to choose one of the UC campuses except for Berkeley, UCLA or San Diego. As long as you meet the minimum GPA and curriculum requirements, submit your TAG application and your UC application by the deadlines, you will be admitted to the campus you choose.
What do I need to transfer from a California community college to a CSU campus?
The transfer path to a California State University campus is not quite as guaranteed as the UC process, but the CSU is finally committing to make that step easier, with a new program called Transfer Success Pathway. More about that here.
You’ll need 60 transferable credits to transfer, and just like transferring to a UC, you’ll have to know your major. Different majors (at the college to which you want to transfer) have different requirements, so in addition to your general education (GE) courses, you may have to take specific courses that are prerequisites for classes in your major.
Get all your GE requirements completed from the IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) form provided by your current community college. IGETC requires you to take a prescribed number of courses in English, math, social science, humanities, natural sciences and the U.S. History graduation requirement from area number 7 on the IGETC form.
The transfer application for the CSU system opens on October 1, and the final deadline is November 30th. You can submit any time during that window. Some campuses do allow submission after November 30 – you can check each individual campus for their deadline.
What do I do if I want to transfer from a four year college or university to a UC or Cal State campus?
You made your college decision and now you realize you’re not happy with it, and you want to apply to transfer to a UC or Cal State. This is really important: Over 90% of the students who transfer into a UC or a Cal State come from community colleges. The UCs and Cal States prioritize community college transfers over all other applicants. If your ultimate goal is to go to a UC or Cal State, we strongly recommend the following:
- Finish out a full year at the college at which you’re enrolled. You may actually change your mind by the end of the school year and want to stay.
- Enroll in your local community college. Take your college transcript and all syllabi from the courses you took to the registrar of your community college. Your goal here is to get them to accept as many of the courses you’ve taken for credit as possible. The community college is the gatekeeper here; a UC won’t accept credit if the community college does not.
- Re-read the above – that’s a really important step.
- Depending on how many transferable credits you have, you may need to stay at the community college for one year or more. This process might make you a fifth year senior. That’s OK! Finding you the right place is the primary goal here – and no one’s counting what year you graduate.
What if I want to transfer to a different college, not a UC or Cal State?
To transfer to most four year colleges, you only need between 24 and 32 units of college credit. Please look carefully at the requirements and GPA for your specific major. Most colleges list this info on the transfer page of their website.
If you go from a four year to another four year, you’ll need to verify what credits and courses will transfer – some may not, and this may impact what classes you’ll need to take at your future school. Every student is different and creates their own transfer journey, so your transfer process may unfold differently than someone else’s.
- If you apply directly to four-year colleges after your freshman year, the colleges will want to see your high school transcript. Some colleges may even want to see your high school grades even if you have more than 60 credits.
- All four year colleges and universities have prerequisite requirements – classes within each major that must be completed before transferring. Read each website carefully!!!
- The transfer process can be tricky and your student may be in need of professional guidance. You definitely need to plan early to make sure you get all of your required courses completed in time, to make sure you are even eligible to apply on the timeline you prefer.
As always – if you decide you need some help, please reach out to us! We’re here to support you through all stages of your college admission journey!