Transferring from SMC to a university: what you need to know before you apply

"So, where do you want to transfer to?" A common and often intimidating question asked among Santa Monica College students. Choosing the right university can be a challenge, especially when you’re choosing a major. Fortunately enough, SMC provides a handful of transfer resources for students including counseling, workshops and programs. Not to mention the school's exceptional transfer rates. Making sure to have all the requirements needed for your desired school tends to result in a little anxiety for students. To avoid the anxieties, students are recommended to schedule an appointment with a counselor and following the instructions in the “Transfer Essentials” brochure found in the SMC counseling office.

SMC counselor Judy Lam explains the importance of seeing a counselor, “students often think they can go to siblings and friends to decide what classes to take in order to transfer.” Lam stresses that there is a lot more that goes into it than just choosing classes. “Requirements are different for every school," she says.

Although this should be common knowledge for a college student, it isn't always. “Just this year, USC changed their general education,” says Lam. With requirements constantly changing, students are advised to meet with a counselor so that they are not using outdated transfer information.

Transferring to a university can be even easier with the help of SMC’s Transfer Admission Guaranteed (TAG) program. That’s right, admission guaranteed.

This particular program grants students guaranteed admission to a handful of UC, CSU, and private colleges. Meeting certain requirements and deadlines are necessary, and in some cases, a contract as well.

Transferring to UCLA for example, requires students to be in the scholar’s program and to be certified by the SMC Scholar’s Office. As for other schools, requirements depend on GPA, number of transferrable units, etc.

The TAG submission period for students took place this year from September 1 through September 30th 2015. UC campuses then post their tag decisions for students no later than November 15, 2015 (dates subject to change annually.)

Just this past academic year (2014-2015), SMC had more students transferring to universities than any other community college in California.

Between 2013 and 2014, a total of 1,022 SMC students transferred to a California State University. 423 of them transferring to California State Northridge.

Being just about twenty miles from SMC, Northridge has been SMC’s most popular Cal-State transfer since 1994. Cal-State Northridge is highly known for their psychology and accounting majors.

SMC has transfer opportunities with all 23 California state schools including Dominguez Hills, Channel Islands, San Bernardino, and San Diego. To transfer to one of the many California state universities, requires students to complete “The Golden Four” requirements.

The golden four includes English 1, and choices from a variety of other classes. In addition to this, sixty transferable semester units with a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average must be obtained. The GPA for admission can be significantly higher because of the major, campus, and/or applicant pool. These are just a few of the basic requirements that are needed in order to transfer.

From 2013-2014, 1,061 SMC students transferred to a UC (University of California). 444 of the 1,061 students transferring to UCLA. Not to mention the transfer rates to UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbra, and UC Santa Cruz.

Every one of the UC’s are transferable to students and all are part of the TAG program. Some students think of UC’s as harder to transfer to. Although this may be the case, transferring to any of these schools only requires a minimum of a 2.4 GPA in order to be eligible for admission.

This year's transfer students surprisingly have until Jan. 4 2016 to apply to a University of California school. For all the SMC students rushing to get their personal statements done, there is still time. This extension is a month longer than it has always been in previous years and was done to give all students some extra time to transfer. This being so, the extension also promotes the efforts to increase California university undergraduates for the next three years.

In an interview with SMC transfer center faculty leader, Daniel Nannini, he explains that “meeting transfer requirements for a certain school does not guarantee acceptance to that school.”

With this in mind, students must consider the competition when it comes to applying to schools. Even having a 3.0 does not guarantee you admission to a school that only requires a 2.8. Judy Lam also mentions this, explaining that it depends on the applicant pool for that year. If all the students who applied are well over a 3.0 GPA, the odds are that it will be more difficult for a student with a 2.8 to be admitted.

In contrast to popular belief, transferring from SMC is easy. With over 30,000 students, many people often think classes are impacted and it is going to be impossible to transfer out. Being such a large institution, SMC is prepared with enough classes, transfer opportunities, programs, and counseling for every student.