If You Plan to Transfer From a Community College, You Need a Transfer Plan

There are many good reasons to begin your college journey at a two-year school-- it costs less money and is more flexible for a student who is confused about their direction, needs to work, or wants to move into college at a slower pace. But if you're starting at a community college with the goal of transferring to a 4-year school, you need to have a plan. Without a solid transfer plan, it might take years longer to get your bachelor’s degree…or you might not get it at all.

3 Critically Important Things You Need to Know Community college students should be aware of three key factors that impact transfer success:

  • Every college in the country has different requirements for transfer students. In order to effectively prepare, you must be aware of what the specific schools that you are interested in mandate in terms of credits completed, courses taken, GPA earned, standardized testing, specific departmental requirements, etc.

  • The University of California and California State University campuses only accept transfers at the junior level. Therefore, if you intend to transfer to a UC or CSU, you will need to stay at a community college as long as it takes to earn at least 60 credits.

  • Be clear about the time commitment that community college demands. State funding to community colleges is often insufficient to provide enough classes to meet student demand. As a result, it may take three years or longer to accumulate two years worth of credits.

Have a Plan Potential transfer students must have a plan of action and be strategic in choosing their courses. To be successful, you should learn about the specific transfer requirements of the four-year college(s) you plan to transfer to and make sure to check for any additional requirements by department. In order to be a competitive transfer applicant, the UCs and CSUs suggest that you finish your general education requirements and most or all of the lower division courses in your major by the time you transfer. Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) is a series of courses you may complete in order to satisfy the lower division general education requirements at UCs and CSUs. (Since course requirements vary by campus and major, consult for specifics.) There are community college programs designed to help you make a smooth transfer to a 4-year college. Particularly if you plan to apply to the UCs and/or CSUs, be aware of the following programs:

  • There are Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) programs between community colleges and many universities—public and private—including some UC and CSU campuses. If you meet the requirements, you are guaranteed admission one year prior to transfer.

  • In the Transfer Alliance Program (TAP), if you complete the honors/scholars program at certain California community colleges, you will be given priority consideration for admission to the UCLA College of Letters and Science.

  • UC offers Transfer Pathways and CSU offers Associate Degrees for Transfer. These are outlines on the set of courses students should take to be competitive for transfer in one of the 21 most popular majors found at every UC campus and be guaranteed priority admission to a CSU.

If you have questions about the transfer process or need help in making a plan, we can help.

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