Preparing transfer applicants

Gaining admission into the UC system as a transfer student requires careful planning. But it can be done!

Understanding the transfer process

Nearly 30 percent of UC undergraduates are transfer students. And the data prove that they do just as well academically as students who enter as freshmen.

Because admission to a number of our campuses is extremely competitive, transfer students must fulfill our minimum admission requirements and, in many cases, exceed them by large margins. Putting students on the right path early will help them avoid surprises as they work toward their degrees. 

How to prepare

We strongly recommend that transfer students start thinking about UC admission requirements the moment they begin their community college education.

Focused planning is key to gaining admission. Prospective transfer applicants should plan their coursework carefully. While working to meet the minimum admission requirements for transfer, they should also select courses that prepare them for upper-division study in their major or fulfill recommended general education requirements.

Suggested advice to students

Apply to more than one UC campus. This will significantly increase their chances of being admitted into the UC system. While they may not get into their first choice, all of our campuses — without exception — provide outstanding opportunities for them to learn and grow.

Do not submit letters of recommendation (unless specifically asked by a campus). Transcripts should only be submitted to the enrolling campus after the coursework has been completed and before July 1 (unless specifically asked by a campus).

Understanding self-reporting. Accuracy matters! The self-reported record provides an accurate history of the applicant's academic performance in college, which will be used for preliminary review of the application. Students must refer to transcripts to complete the academic history section of the application. Please tell them not to work from memory. All college/university courses taken or planned should be listed, regardless of length of attendance or whether the student thinks the courses will be transferable and regardless of the types of grades earned (W, AR, NP, etc.). If students have entered their school and coursework information in the UC Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP), that information will be available for import into the UC application for admission. Applicants will need their UC TAP login ID and email used for the UC TAP when requested in the application.

The information on the self-report will be verified when we receive admitted students' official transcripts.

Spend time on the personal insight questions. The personal insight questions are a required part of the application. They can provide necessary context for admission and scholarship selection. Early on in the admissions process, students should review the personal insight questions guidelines and take time to write, revise and thoroughly proofread their answers before adding them to the application. They are welcome to solicit feedback from teachers, family and friends, but the responses must be their own work.

Apply on time. Most campuses do not accept applications after the regular filing period.

Pay the application fee or obtain a fee waiver. The $80 application fee entitles a student to apply to one UC campus. If a student applies to more than one campus, he or she must pay an additional $80 for each campus selected. The online application automatically determines the application fees. These fees are not refundable and are subject to change. We will waive application fees for up to four campuses for students who otherwise would not be able to apply for admission. Students who qualify for fee waivers and who select more than four campuses must pay $80 for each additional choice. To be accepted for the fee waiver program, a student's family income and size must fall within specific guidelines. The fee waiver program is for United States citizens, permanent residents, and applicants eligible for AB540 benefits. Students can apply automatically for a fee waiver within the online application. International and non-immigrant applicants must pay a higher application fee of $95 for each campus selected. Students who currently attend school in the U.S., however, may qualify to pay the lower application fee of $80 per campus.

Submit any additional required materials. Some UC majors require an audition, submission of a portfolio or supplemental application, or recommend specific prerequisite coursework or a certain GPA.

Explore financial aid and scholarships. We offer a comprehensive financial assistance program for qualified students and a variety of other tools that all families can use to make higher education possible.

Updating the application. Transfer students who apply for admission will be asked to log in and update their grades and coursework in the online application, which allows applicants to give UC their final grades from the previous term, as well as a list of all courses in progress or planned for current and upcoming terms.