Understanding the UC Transfer System
“We give California community college students first priority over other transfer applicants, and many campuses offer guaranteed admission for well-prepared transfer students. Why? We know that transfer students add to the fabric of our UC community and arrive at our campuses with a diversity of interests and backgrounds and the intellectual passion to graduate and succeed.” – Admissions
A handful of universities in California hold their own when it comes to being top tier universities. These colleges include the University of California Berkely, University of California Irvine, and University of California Los Angeles, to name a few. But universities of that pedigree are notorious for being almost impossible to get admitted into. However. There is another way in, one not everyone is aware of. It just so happens that if you are attending a community college in California, you can get take the side door into your dream college. Yes, I’m talking about transferring.
Community colleges get a bad rap for being ‘less than’. However, the California transfer system provides some serious benefits to starting out at a 2-year college. A primary reason people begin at a community college generally has more to do with cost than anything else. And while the financial benefits should not be overlooked, there is a hidden gem for students looking to get into a 4-year UC school. I’m talking about the specialized transfer program that UC schools have with the public community colleges in California.
There are 21 majors offered throughout the 9 UC campuses that students can apply to through the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program. The transfer program is available to students provided they follow the following guidelines. The first is that you need to maintain a high GPA score, though the score itself varies by school and major. The other condition is that students must complete a core curriculum that comprises of general ed classes. The details on both the classes and the GPA requirements can be found on this matrix.
The only caveat that students need to be aware of is that you might not be accepted into your first-choice campus, but may be referred to a school you hadn’t previously considered. That being said, it is still a solid option and a path worth pursuing.
We are quick to warn students not to get stuck in the black hole that community college can become. However, if you play your cards right, you can not only get through the first two years of college with minimal to no debt, but you can also get into a solid UC school with close to no anxiety about whether or not you’ll be accepted.