Frequently Asked Questions - Transfer
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General Transfer Questions
- What does "transfer" mean?
- What do I need to do to transfer?
- How many units do I need to transfer?
- Can I transfer as a sophomore?
- What is the relationship between the community colleges and the university?
- How long will it take to transfer to a four-year university?
- How long will it take for me to graduate from a four-year university once I transfer?
The Application Process
- When do I apply for transfer?
- What if I missed the application deadline?
- Can I apply year-round or only for the fall semester/quarter?
- What is the difference between a quarter and a semester?
- Do all of my required courses have to be completed before I submit my application?
- Do I need to complete tests such as the SAT or ACT in order to apply to a university?
- I got bad grades at another college; do I have to tell the school I am applying to?
- What happens if I don’t report all previous institutions that I have attended?
- What is General Education (GE)?
- What is the IGETC?
- What is general education certification?
- Why is GE Certification important for transferring students?
- Can I transfer after completing only the General Education requirements, without the lower-division major requirements?
- Can I transfer to the UC/CSU and continue taking general education courses at the community college?
- Can I transfer without completing the mathematics requirement?
Course and Major Selection
- What courses should I take before I transfer?
- When should I take the required courses?
- What is the difference between lower-division and upper-division courses?
- What is a major?
- Where can I find out what classes I need to take for my major?
- What is the best school for my major? How can I find the best schools?
- What is an impacted major?
- Do I have to declare a major before transferring? Can I change my major after I transfer?
Getting Accepted To The University
- How can I improve my chances of being accepted to the university of my choice?
- What is a competitive GPA for transfer?
- What is the minimum GPA for transfer?
- Do I need an AA degree to transfer?
- What is the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree?
- How do I find out about 4-year schools?
- What is the difference between the CSU and UC?
- Can I transfer to an out-of-state school from Mission College?
Transferring Units To The University
- How can I determine if my credits will transfer?
- Are there a maximum number of units I can transfer to a university for credit toward my 4-year degree?
- What if I take more than 70 units?
- Is it possible to take too many units, then not be able to transfer?
- Do "D" grades transfer?
- Do Credit/No Credit grades transfer?
- Are the freshman and sophomore courses that students take at Mission College the same as those at the four-year universities?
Frequently Asked Questions Below
General Transfer Questions
What does "transfer" mean? In general, "transfer" indicates moving from one educational institution to another. However, this web site uses the term "transfer" to describe advancement from a community college to a four-year college or university. It means that you begin working on your bachelor’s degree at the community college and finish it at a four-year college or university.
What do I need to do to transfer? Start by planning a program of study with your counselor. The program will include courses to satisfy the university’s lower division general education and major requirements. Your counselor will be able to advise you as to the best-suited combination of courses to reach your educational objective. Throughout your program touch base with your counselor to stay on track.
Work hard and do well in your program of study. Get to know your teachers. Ask questions. Get involved in campus life to whatever extent possible. Develop your leadership skills. Volunteer and pursue causes you believe in. Distinguish yourself, particularly if you intend to be accepted into highly selective, competitive, or impacted programs.
Complete the English Communication and Mathematics requirements early in your program of study. Putting this off can delay your transfer to the university by at least a semester or, in some cases, an entire year.
Visit the Transfer Center for an appointment with the representatives from the universities you are considering. The representatives are a great source for information. If at all possible, you will also want to visit the universities to which you may want to transfer. Taking a campus tour will help you get a sense of the universities academic and campus life.
Know the application filing deadlines and plan accordingly. The Transfer Center can supply you with access to applications, deadline dates and answer quick questions. Counseling appointments with the Transfer Center Director, Transfer Counselor, Articulation Officer and general counselors are available for more in-depth advising.
Toward the completion of your program of study be sure to get your General Education (GE) Certification. Do this before you transfer to save yourself the possibility of an additional unit requirement at the university.
Complete the admissions application, providing all information requested in the instruction packet. You will receive notification directly from the university as to your acceptance, provisional acceptance, or denial.
How many units do I need to transfer? CSU and UC campuses require students to complete 60 transferable units in order to be eligible for upper-division transfer. Many private universities and out-of-state colleges will accept transfer students with fewer units, typically 24 - 30 transfer units. Please check the catalog or website for the specific college you are interested in for transfer requirements or schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor for more information.
What is the relationship between the community colleges and the university? Universities offer both lower-division (freshman and sophomore) and upper-division (junior and senior) coursework. Community colleges offer lower-division courses only. The university accepts certain community college courses as comparable to courses that are required for freshman and sophomore students at the university through a process called articulation. In that way, community college courses become transferable and counted toward the requirements to graduate from the university with a bachelor's degree.
How long will it take to transfer to a four-year university? Many students generally take 2 - 3 years to transfer to a four-year university. However, there are many factors that will have an impact on the length of time you are here at Mission such as your English and math eligibility at the time you enter Mission, the major you have selected and the amount of preparation courses needed to fulfill your transfer requirements, the number of courses you take each semester, and your academic progress. Meet with a counselor regularly to ensure you remain on track toward your transfer goal.
How long will it take for me to graduate from a four-year university once I transfer? Think of your community college education as your halfway point in the process of obtaining your bachelor's degree. Still, it is difficult to predict. Many factors will impact the amount of time you spend at the university such as the number of classes you take each term, the number of units required for your major, and the number of required courses you completed prior to transfer.
The Application Process
When do I apply for transfer? Most UCs and CSUs require students to apply one year in advance. The deadlines stay fairly constant from year to year. Still be sure to check with a counselor for any changes in dates or deadlines.
What if I missed the application deadline? Applications past the filing deadline are accepted on a campus-by-campus basis. For updates or changes to UC campuses deadlines check University of California Admissions. For CSU campuses check the CSU Mentor filing status page.
Can I apply year-round or only for the fall semester/quarter? Most universities allow you to apply for terms year-round (see filing periods listed above. However, acceptance of mid-year transfer applications in the winter and spring terms can vary year to year. Be sure to check with a counselor or a university representative regarding year-round admission for your chosen campus and major.
What is the difference between a quarter and a semester? Each college has an academic year with terms marking the beginning and end of classes. Universities and colleges will either be on a quarter or semester system. A quarter is 10 weeks in length and there are usually four quarters (fall, winter, spring, and summer) in an academic year. A semester is 16 to 18 weeks in length, and there are two semesters (fall and spring) with a shorter summer session, and sometimes a winter session, in an academic year.
Do all of my required courses have to be completed before I submit my application? No. On the application you will be able to include courses in progress and courses planned. For example, if you are applying to a CSU campus for Fall 2018 transfer, you apply between October 1 – November 30, 2017. The courses you will be taking in Fall 2017 would be considered in progress and the courses you will be taking in Spring 2018 would be considered planned. There are some cases where a university will ask for certain courses to be completed during specific semesters. This mostly occurs for impacted majors or universities.
Do I need to complete tests such as the SAT or ACT in order to apply to a university? For the CSU and UC systems, if you are transferring as an upper-division student (will have completed at least 60 transferable units), you will not be required to take the SAT or ACT exams. Requirements for Private/Independent and Out of State universities vary from campus to campus; please check with the university’s admissions office or consult a Mission College counselor.
What happens if I don’t report all previous institutions that I have attended? A student that provides false information on the application could potentially have his or her admissions or degree revoked.
What is General Education (GE)? General Education is a set of courses through which you will become broadly educated by taking classes that cover a wide range of disciplines. GE courses are usually introductory in nature and provide you with fundamental knowledge in English, mathematics, the arts and humanities, social sciences, and physical and biological sciences. You will complete the majority of GE coursework needed to receive a bachelor's degree while you are a lower division (freshman/sophomore) student at a community college. After transfer to the upper division (junior/senior) at a university, you will be required to take only a few GE courses, so you can focus on your major. Each institution has its own GE (sometimes called breadth or core) pattern.
Students who are undecided on transfer schools should follow the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) which can be used to satisfy lower division general education requirements for any CSU or UC and some private colleges. The IGETC General Education pattern may not be right for all UC campuses. Most UC campuses do not recommend IGETC for students majoring in engineering or science. For more information come to the Transfer Center or see a counselor.
What is the IGETC? IGETC, Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum, is a general education program which community college transfer students can use to fulfill lower-division general education requirements for either the CSU or UC system. You must complete the entire IGETC and have it certified at Mission College in order to have it accepted as meeting the lower-division general education requirements at the transfer institution. The IGETC General Education pattern may not be right for all UC campuses. Most UC campuses do not recommend IGETC for students majoring in engineering or science. For more information come to the Transfer Center or see a counselor.
What is general education certification? All California State Universities accept a common pattern of general education. If you complete the entire pattern prior to transferring to one of the 23 state universities, you should request that the GE Certification be sent along with your final official transcript. All 23 state universities will honor this certification, that is, you will not be required to take additional lower division general education courses in those areas certified as already completed at Mission College. The IGETC general education pattern can also be certified and is honored by both the CSU and UC systems.
Why is GE Certification important for transferring students? Certification of CSU GE or IGETC is an important step in the transfer process. The certification of GE is the official notice verifying that a transfer student has completed courses satisfying lower-division general education requirements.
The certification is separate from a student transcript. The request for certification of CSU GE or IGETC is best done at the time you request final transcripts be sent to the transfer school. To be certified for IGETC courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. GE certification can include partial certification when only a specific area is completed or full certification by completing an entire pattern.
Can I transfer to UC/CSU after completing only the General Education requirements, without the lower-division major requirements? Yes, however, completing only general education requirements usually does not bring a student to the 60 units needed for junior-level transfer status. In addition, the UC places emphasis on the completion of lower-division major classes when selecting students for admission.
Can I transfer to the UC/CSU and continue taking general education courses at the community college? Students can attend the university and the community college simultaneously. Transfer students who do not complete their GE coursework and certification at the community college prior to transferring run the risk of additional university GE unit requirements.
Can I transfer without completing the mathematics requirement? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Prior to transferring all students must complete at least one transferable math course. Some majors and programs require more than one math class.
Courses and Major Selection
What courses should I take before I transfer? For most students who intend to transfer as juniors it is important to take basic general education courses. In many cases you must complete course work that includes general education courses that meet requirements in Written Communication, Critical Thinking, Oral Communication and Quantitative Analysis (mathematics). Students are also encouraged to complete lower-division major courses as well. Consult a counselor to determine which lower-division general education and major courses are most suitable to your transfer goal.
When should I take the required courses? It is best to complete transferable courses in written communication, oral communication, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning during the first year of community college. We recommend that you complete remaining units in general education breadth by the end of the second year of community college enrollment. Many students will enroll in lower-division major courses while also working on completion of GE.
What is the difference between lower-division and upper-division courses? Lower-division courses are offered for freshman and sophomore level credit. All courses offered at a community college are lower-division courses. Upper-division courses are offered for junior and senior level credit. These courses are not offered by community colleges.
Where can I find out what classes I need to take for my major? Preparation for a major is an important step. Information as to which classes are required for a specific major at a specific university can be obtained from the university catalog and from articulation agreements. These articulation agreements can be found at the Counseling Office or the Transfer Center or online at ASSIST.
What is the best school for my major? How can I find the best schools? Resources exist in the Transfer Center and Library which rank colleges and universities by major (i.e., U.S. News and World Report publishes an annual ranking, Rugg and Peterson separately publish many inventories and guides which rank programs). Be sure to know the particular factors used in generating the rankings because they define "best" and their definition may not be yours.
Talk with faculty here who teach courses related to your selected major to get their ideas about the best schools. Visit universities and talk with the faculty and teaching assistants from the department offering your major of choice.
What is an impacted major? An impacted major is one that is popular and more applications for admissions are received than the campus can accommodate during the application filing period. If you are applying to a major that is impacted, the GPA for admissions may be higher and you may have to complete lower- division courses for the major prior to transfer to allow you to be competitive. For a list of impacted CSU programs go to the CSU page on Impacted Undergraduate Majors.
Do I have to declare a major before transferring? Can I change my major after I transfer? For the UC system you will need to declare a major. Each campus and each major has its own policy regarding changing majors so you will need to check with a university representative. For impacted programs, most campuses will not let you switch to the impacted program after transferring.
For the CSU system you may transfer without declaring a major. To be admitted to impacted programs, however, you must apply to the program. The CSU system strongly encourages students to declare a major by the time they have 75 (semester) units earned.
Getting Accepted To The University
How can I improve my chances of being accepted to the university of my choice? It is important to be as academically well prepared as possible. Work with a counselor to develop an educational plan that will include completion of your lower-division general education and major preparation. At universities where the admissions process is more competitive, having a strong grade point average is also important. In addition, some universities are looking for students who cannot only excel academically but who are also involved in campus or community activities.
What is a competitive GPA for transfer? To be accepted to an impacted program or a very popular campus, the GPA for admission will need to be considerably higher than the minimum allowed. A GPA of 3.0 and higher may be required to be competitive for transfer admission. The GPA will vary each year according to the specific campus and applicant pool at that time.
What is the minimum GPA for transfer? This varies greatly from campus to campus. The minimum GPA for the CSU system is a 2.0, and the minimum GPA for the UC system is a 2.4 for California residents and 2.8 for non-residents. However, obtaining the minimum GPA does not necessarily mean that you will be able to transfer into the major and/or campus of your choice. Several campuses are considered impacted, meaning the student application pool far exceeds the number of admission slots available. Therefore, the impacted universities/majors will accept only highly qualified students into their campus and major. In these cases students who only meet the minimum GPA may not be selected for admission. The higher the GPA the more options you will have when considering transfer institutions.
For Private/Independent and Out of State Universities, please check with individual campuses admissions requirements, since requirements vary from campus to campus.
For help calculating your GPA try using this GPA calculator.
Do I need an AA degree to transfer? No, the AA degree is generally not required or considered by the university as an admissions requirement. Many students choose to obtain an AA degree prior to transferring for personal or professional reasons. The program of study for the AA degree can overlap with the lower division preparation for transfer. If your objective is to transfer, however, be sure to seek the advice of your counselor for the appropriate program of study for the Associate Degree.
What is the difference between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree? An associate degree is a two-year degree granted by a community college to students who complete a specified program of study, usually totaling 60 units. A bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate is a four-year degree granted by a college or university upon completion of at least 120 semester units or 180 quarter units. Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees are offered by the California State Universities, the University of California and private four-year colleges and universities.
How do I find out about 4-year schools? There are probably as many ways to find out about 4-year schools as there are schools. Mission College’s Transfer Center houses a collection of resources for anyone who is able to travel to the campus. Local libraries often carry college resources as well. Websites such as Peterson's and CaliforniaColleges.edu can provide a wealth of general information on colleges throughout the country and within California. Most colleges have their own Web page with a myriad of specific information. For anyone interested in campuses of the University of California system, connect to www.ucop.edu/pathways. Those who are interested in the California State University System can connect to CSU Mentor.
What is the difference between the CSU and UC? The California State University (CSU) began as a system of teacher's colleges and evolved into a broader system of higher education. It is one of the three segments of California public higher education, the others being the University of California (UC), and the California Community Colleges. The CSU grants bachelor's and master's degrees that have a practical, career orientation. There are now 23 CSU campuses. The UC was established as the focal point for academic and scientific research within the higher education system. In addition to bachelor's and master's degrees, the UC grants doctorates and professional degrees. The emphasis at the bachelor's level is on theoretical learning. There are ten UC campuses, though one is a professional school only.
Can I transfer to an out-of-state school from Mission College? Yes. Students at Mission College can transfer to any university in any state, even internationally. There are countless transfer options and we encourage students to explore the possibilities. The path to out-of-state transfer may be different than for students transferring to a California university, however, Mission College is an accredited institution making its courses recognized by other institutions. Depending on the individual institution’s requirements, there should be no reason why an equivalent class taken at Mission could not be considered for transfer.
Transferring Units To The University
How can I determine if my credits will transfer? This is an important issue that requires your careful attention. All California community colleges have lists of their courses that will transfer to the CSU or UC campuses. This is indicated in Mission College’s catalog by a CSU/UC designation next to the course name. This information can also be found online at ASSIST. If you are transferring it is important that you consult with a counselor to gain assistance with identifying the specific course necessary to meet the transfer requirements and to determine which courses will be accepted for transfer credit. The institution to which you will be applying will make the final decision on what will count toward your 4-year degree.
Are there a maximum number of units I can transfer to a university for credit toward my 4-year degree? As a general rule, the maximum number of units accepted for transfer will be 70 semester units. However, this number will vary so please see a counselor to discuss your specific situation. Some institutions review units differently once a student has attended a four-year institution.
What if I take more than 70 units? Most colleges and universities will accept 70 semester units towards the total number of units needed to complete you bachelor's degree. However, if you have taken more units than that, the content of the courses will be used to satisfy needed subject area requirements.
Is it possible to take too many units, then not be able to transfer? If a student has only attended a community college, no. However, if you have attended a university or four-year college, either within the United States or outside the United States, there could be limitations. This policy differs campus by campus, thus, it is advised that you consult with a counselor as well as with a university representative.
Do "D" grades transfer? Acceptance of "D" grades is based upon individual campus decisions. Sometimes distinctions are made between "D" grades for general education classes and "D" grades for major classes. Check with a counselor to determine if a "D" grade will transfer to your university of choice. Mission College will not certify "D" grades for inclusion in the IGETC.
Do Credit/No Credit grades transfer? The 4-year institution will sometimes accept Credit/No Credit grades. However, required courses for the general education or major should not be taken in this manner. Check with a counselor for more information.
Are the freshman and sophomore courses that students take at Mission College the same as those at the four-year universities? Yes. Most students complete their general education courses during their first two years. Mission College has articulated general education course patterns that are considered equivalent to those at California State Universities and the University of California.