You must complete a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter units to be eligible for junior-level transfer, and the majority of UC campuses accept only transfer students at the junior-level. Most UC campuses cap the maximum number of units you can transfer (to satisfy graduation unit requirements) at 70 semester or 105 quarter units. Units beyond the maximum are granted subject credit (you can use them to waive out of prerequisite courses or subject requirements) but not unit credit (you cannot use them to count toward your graduation units). You can use the AP exam credits to satisfy the minimum unit requirement and they will not be counted toward the maximum. There is also a chart from the UCs on using AP exam credits to satisfy IGETC.
Generally speaking, if you are unsure of your major when you start community college, following IGETC is your best bet. However, keep in mind that not all majors make use of IGETC and as you decide on which major you want to pursue, you should verify the requirements you have to complete.
UC transfer admission is very focused on grades and the completion of your major prerequisite requirements. The UCs will generally look at your UC-transferable GPA, calculated using all UC-transferable courses you have taken. Some competitive majors may also review your GPA in the major prerequisite courses.
Since major prerequisite requirements are such an important aspect of UC transfer admission evaluation, you want to ensure you are completing all of the required coursework. If your community college does not offer some of the major prerequisite requirements, most UCs expect you to complete the coursework at another community college. One way to deal with this is to take courses online. Almost all community colleges offer online courses and you can search for the ones outside of your immediate area through California Virtual Campus, a clearinghouse for online classes offered by California colleges. Use the “Narrow By” option to restrict your search to “Institution Segment – California Community Colleges.” You will still need to check the schedule at the individual community colleges for the actual course offering, but California Virtual Campus can provide the initial list of the colleges you should look into for the major prerequisite requirements you can take online.
Choose a California community college that offers an honors/scholars program. Participating students often receive priority registration at the community college which will allow you to complete your general education and major prerequisite requirements in a timely fashion.
Receiving an occasional C or having a W here and there will not ruin your chance of admission, just don’t make it a habit and you will be fine. If you receive a D or F, be sure to repeat the course to erase the bad grade. If you have an abundance of Ws, explain the situation in the Additional Comments section of your UC Application. Having a few bad semesters (multiple D or F grades) can sometimes be fixed through “academic renewal.” Ask your counselor about how to apply or qualify for academic renewal at your community college.