What is Transferring?

To earn a four-year degree you can go straight into a four-year institution, or you can attend two different schools for two years each. Transferring is the process of changing from one school, like a California Community College (CC) to a four-year institution, like a University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU). One third of UC graduates are transfer students, and statistics show they do just as well as non-transfers. 50,000 students transfer annually from CC’s to CSU’s at 20,000 to UC’s. Both CSU’s and UC’s give priority to CC applicants, though you can also transfer from CC’s to other universities.


First, spending two of your four years of school at a CC is less expensive than spending all four at a university. Second, if you have other considerations, like work or a family, it is easier to work your education around those commitments at a CC than a university. Third, admission to UC’s and CSU’s is less competitive for transfer students than freshmen, so if you were still figuring out the world in high school and didn’t get that 4.0 don’t count yourself out just yet!


Requirements vary based on the institution you want to transfer to. Both UC’s and CSU’s require that you fulfill  the IGETC requirements (article on that coming soon), but the requirements for each vary slightly.

UC’s and CSU’s both offer transfer guarantees for students at CC’s. Seven UC’s (Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz) offer what is called the TAG program (Transfer Admission Guarantee) which you fill out going into your second year. Its an agreement that if you take certain classes and earn a certain GPA you have guaranteed admission into one of the UC’s. For more information on TAG, visit the UC’s website. CSU’s offer similar pathways, but they are based on your geographic proximity to the CSU, which I think is convoluted. For more information check out the transfer counselor website.

If you have specific questions, comment below and we’ll answer them!

This article was created for you by Kate.

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