Apply to Community Colleges Now!

Whether you are a high school senior anxiously waiting for admission decisions from four-year colleges or planning to go directly to community college after high school, or a rising high school sophomore or junior making summer plans, apply to community colleges NOW!

California community college applications are FREE to file (international students studying in the U.S. on a student visa may be required to pay an application fee) and take less than 30 minutes to complete. Many community colleges have already begun accepting applications for Summer/Fall 2019 term, so do a search for community colleges near you and start applying (check with your local community colleges for the application dates).

Community colleges run on a first-come first-served basis and the sooner you apply, the earlier your registration appointment will be!

For high school seniors seeking to transfer, all California community colleges will be implementing state mandated changes for Fall 2019 (if they haven’t already) that will remove exam-based English and math placement and, sintead, use high school coursework/grades for placement (so make sure you pass those English and math classes!). The legislation is meant to prevent students from getting stuck in remedial courses (a lot of low-income, underrepresented students often did) and should work in your favor!

Things to consider for both high school seniors looking at transfer as an option and rising sophomores and juniors looking at taking a community college as a possible summer activity:

  • Apply NOW! Even if you are not sure whether you will attend a community college (whether as a high school graduate or a current high school student), apply anyway! Initiating the community college enrollment process gives you a safety net if none of the 4-year colleges works out for whatever reason or your summer plans fell through. If you are going directly to community college after high school graduation, now is the time to apply to get an early registration appointment. Consider applying to two community colleges (or more if feasible) so you have more enrollment choices (you may be able to get different classes at different colleges).
  • Location, Location, Location! Some community colleges have resources to offer a larger number or more variety of courses, or are better equipped to help you transfer. Aside from brick-and-mortar options, also consider applying to community colleges with good offerings of online courses to supplement your course choices. To see where you should go to maximize your chance for transferring to a particular UC campus, see the California Community College new enrollments at UC dashboard from the UC Information Center (click on a UC campus to see the top feeder California community colleges to that campus or search the community college you are considering attending to see the number of students admitted to each UC campus and systemwide). Remember this doesn’t mean the UCs “favor” these colleges; larger, better-resourced community colleges will tend to send more students to the UCs.

Things to consider if you are a high school senior looking at transfer as an option:

  • Scholars/Honors Program! Many high school graduates will qualify for the scholars/honors program at the community colleges that offer it; you just have to apply to get in. UCLA gives priority consideration to transfer applicants to the College of Letters & Science who are TAP certified (certified Scholars/Honors Program applicants). Even if you are not interested in UCLA, you should consider participating because program students often receive priority registration, which means you get first dibs on the core/required courses.
  • Transfer Admission Guarantee! Take advantage of the guarantee offered by six of the nine UC campuses (Berkeley, UCLA, and UCSD do NOT offer guaranteed admission). Check out the campus-specific TAG requirements on my website (click on Transfer Admission Guarantee under each campus name).

How do community college courses fit into your gap year plan?

Even if you are thinking about taking a gap year, you may still take community college courses during the summer term immediately following high school graduation and still qualify as a freshman applicant, as long as you do NOT enroll during REGULAR terms (such as Fall or Spring, or Winter for community colleges that are on the quarter system). But beware that some UCs may inadvertently disqualify you for freshman admission if you have ANY community college courses after high school graduation; be sure to provide an explanation in Additional Comments that you did NOT enroll during REGULAR terms.


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