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Frequently Asked Questions

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Santiago Canyon College Transfer Success Center

Frequently Asked Questions 





  1. What does transfer mean, and why do students transfer?

A community college transfer student refers to students who begin their bachelor’s degree at a community college and complete it at a university. This process allows students to get the same content in a way that is more convenient and less expensive than at a university, or to transfer to a school for which they may not have been eligible to enter directly from high school.


  1. What are the differences between community colleges and universities?

Universities offer both lower division (100-200 level) and upper division (300-400 level) coursework. Community colleges offer lower division courses only. Many community college courses are transferable and count toward the requirements to graduate from the university. Community colleges offer certificates and Associate degrees, whereas universities offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as PhDs at many institutions.


  1. What are the basic requirements to transfer?

For CSUs you need 60 transferable units with a G.P.A. of at least 2.0; UCs require 60 units and a 2.4 minimum G.P.A. Additional general education requirements may also apply, and many schools or majors have specific course and higher G.P.A. requirements as well. Private and out of state schools may allow transfers with fewer than 60 units. For more information visit (for CA public schools) or see a counselor or transfer specialist.


  1. Can I transfer as a sophomore?

Some campuses accept lower-division transfers (with less than 60 units), however, these students often must meet freshman eligibility requirements, including fulfilling A-G subject area requirements and providing SAT/ACT scores.


  1. Where can I transfer?

The short answer is almost anywhere. SCC students have successfully transferred to a wide variety of universities ranging from local CSUs, UCs, and private schools, to Ivy League universities.


  1. Do universities really like accepting transfer students?

Yes: CSU and UC campuses give priority admission to local community college transfer students, and many private and out of state also have priority transfer opportunities. Universities know that well-prepared transfer students succeed at a rate equal to or higher than those who enter directly from high school. There are a handful of schools - notably Princeton - who either don't accept transfers or may at times suspend transfer admissions. For information about university transfer admission policies, check the school's web site or contact the SCC Transfer Center for assistance.


  1. What is the difference between the California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC)?

The mission of the 23 campus CSU is system is to train students in practical, applied knowledge and skills. The 10-school UC system was established with an emphasis on theoretical research and learning. UCs offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. The CSUs emphasize bachelor’s and master’s programs, though some doctorate programs are also available. CSU tuition is generally about half of the rate at the UC, and CSU allows part-time attendance, while the UC generally requires full-time status. Many UCs have a higher percentage of residential students (living on campus), while the CSUs tend to have more commuters.


  1. What is the cost of attending a university?

Current CSU cost estimates can be found at

Current UC cost estimates can be found at

Private school tuitions vary greatly, typically ranging from $20,000 to around $60,000 per year.


The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) offers tuition discounts for students transferring to their 150 participating schools in 15 western states. WUE caps tuition for out-of-state students at 150% of in-state rates, though some restrictions may apply.


  1. What are the three General Education plans (Plan A, Plan B (CSU), and Plan C (UC IGETC))?

These are lists of classes which fulfill lower-division general education (GE) requirements. Plan A is for students seeking an SCC associate’s degree only. Plan B applies only to students intending to transfer to a Cal State University. Plan C, also known as IGETC, is designed for transfer to the UC, though CSU campuses also accept IGETC. Some private and out of state schools also accept the CSU or IGETC plans


  1. What if I want to transfer to a private or out-of-state university?

The Transfer Center can help you research admission requirements for private or out-of-state institutions, but we also encourage you to contact the school directly as early as possible to get guidance on the best plan to gain admission.


  1. How do I find out about the transfer requirements of a particular school?

The school’s admissions website is a good resource to find information on transfer requirements. For CSU and UC schools,,, and are great resources. At some schools you may also get assistance through the Admissions Office or the department that houses your major. Of course, SCC's Transfer Success Center and Counseling Department can also help.


  1. Can I transfer without completing the mathematics requirement?

Some private institutions may accept students without transfer level math; however, CSU and UC campuses are very firm on transfer math completion. Students with a documented math disability may be able to gain admission on a case-by-case basis prior to completing the math requirement, but will generally be required to complete a transfer-level math course in order to graduate


  1. How can I improve my chances for being accepted to a university?

Earn a high GPA, complete General Education, get GE certified, and show commitment to your major by completing lower-division major preparation. The SCC Transfer Success Center’s workshops and specialists can help with these steps. If you are transferring to a participating UC, apply for admission through their Transfer Admission Guarantee program (see #14 below)


  1. Do any universities offer guaranteed transfer admission?

Yes: Most UC campuses participate in the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program (


CSU also offers guaranteed admission to students who complete an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T or AS-T). This is a specific type of degree and is currently only offered in a few majors. For details, see the he CSU also began to offer guaranteed admission to students who complete an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T or AS-T). This is a specific type of degree and is currently only offered in a few majors. For details, see the SCC Catalog, or consult with a Counselor or Transfer Specialist.


Some private or out of state universities also give priority consideration to community college transfer students.


  1. Does participation in the SCC Honors Program affect my admission to a university?

Yes: Honors participation looks great on any university application, and you may gain priority consideration or guaranteed admission to some campuses. For example, UCLA’s Transfer Alliance Program (TAP) offers priority admission consideration, as well as scholarships and other benefits, for students who have completed SCC’s Honors Program. For Honors Program details and eligibility info, visit


  1. What is cross-enrollment?

Cross-enrollment gives students the opportunity to take one university course per term at a CSU or UC without applying formal admission. Students must be concurrently enrolled in at least 6 units at SCC, and minimal university fees apply - typically under $100. The Cross-Enrollment form is available on our Downloads Page. For more information on availability and eligibility requirements contact the SCC Transfer Success Center.


  1. What if I have attended another college or university?

You should have official transcripts from all colleges attended sent to SCC to be evaluated. When applying to transfer from SCC to a university, you must report all colleges and universities you have previously attended. You will have to send official transcripts from all colleges to your transfer institution: SCC cannot forward transcripts from other colleges.


  1. What about AP / IB credits?

You will earn college credit for AP exams with scores of 3 or higher. Check with a counselor to see how specific transfer institutions grant AP/IB credit. You can request official test scores from


  1. Do I need to take the SAT/ACT to transfer?

Not if you transfer to a CSU or UC as an upper-division student. However, some private institutions - particularly the most competitive schools -  may still require submission of SAT/ACT scores for admission


  1. What resources and services does the SCC Transfer Success Center offer?

The Transfer Success Center staff aims to foster a seamless transfer process through services and resources that include:

    • University research
    • Individual advisement
    • College/university representative appointments
    • Transfer specialist appointments
    • Application workshops
    • Campus tours
    • College fairs
    • Guaranteed admission programs
    • Course equivalent articulation agreements with numerous 4-year institutions

For more information on specific services and how to access them, go to


  1. How can I contact the SCC Transfer Success Center?

We are on the SCC campus in room D-104N, adjacent to the Counseling Center.

Our mailing address is 8045 E. Chapman Ave., Room D-104N, Orange, CA 92869

Phone: 714-628-4865

Fax: 714-639-2780




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