6 Things You Must Do in Community College to be Competitive for UC Transfer

Getting excited or anxious about how well you are preparing for UC transfer? Here is a list of must-dos to help you gain a competitive edge!

Things You Must Do

  1. Look into the requirements for Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) at the six UC campuses that offer them (Berkeley, UCLA, and San Diego do not offer TAG). Carefully review the chart that outlines the TAG program restrictions, filing deadlines, major limitations, and eligibility information (make sure you read the entire document and remember that the information is updated every year, usually by late August). For links to the TAG program at each UC campus, go to Campus-Specific Admission Information and Transfer Programs section of my website and look under each UC campus for the link to the TAG program.
  2. While Berkeley, UCLA, and San Diego do not offer TAG, each campus has other transfer programs available:
    • Berkeley offers two transfer programs: Transfer Alliance Project (at partner California community colleges only; targets disadvantaged students) and Starting Point Mentorship Program (any eligible California community college student may participate, subject to space availability).
    • UCLA’s Transfer Alliance Program (at partner California community colleges only) gives you priority consideration for admission to majors in the College of Letters and Science.
    • San Diego’s UniversityLink program (targets disadvantaged students) guarantees admission to UCSD if you meet certain requirements and attend one of the partner California community colleges.
  3. Make sure you complete your English and Math requirements ASAP. If you are applying for TAG, many campuses set English and Math completion deadlines to Fall term prior to transfer for TAG (UCI is the earliest with a deadline of Summer term before the TAG filing period). Even if you are not applying to TAG, you should still complete your English and Math requirements as soon as possible (many UCs shy away from applicants with in-progress Spring English or Math requirements because of the risk of having to cancel the admission offer when applicants drop or receive non-passing grades in those courses).
  4. Academic achievement is the single most important factor in transfer admission evaluation. Your grades and the completion of your major prerequisite requirements are essential for successful transfer (completion of general education requirements can help speed up your time to graduation). While it’s important for you to demonstrate interest in your major through extracurricular or academic enrichment activities, your grades and coursework should ALWAYS come first.
  5. Aim to complete ALL major prerequisite requirements by the end of Fall term prior to transfer. When deciding how to schedule major prerequisite requirements and general education courses, always take the major prerequisite requirements first. Your academic preparation for your major carries significant weight in the admission evaluation process and having the grades available for evaluation will give you an edge.
  6. If you receive a D or F grade, make sure you repeat the course to erase the bad grade from GPA calculation and fulfill your course requirement (although you MUST report both the non-passing grade AND the repeated grade on the UC Application when you apply). For courses you didn’t pass and don’t intend to repeat, make sure you look into “academic renewal” (AR) at your community college; the process is different at every college so make sure you time everything just right so you have it done by the time you apply to the UCs (you MUST report every AR you have received on your UC Application).

BONUS! What You Should NOT Worry About

An occasional W is not a big deal; the UCs simply disregard them during admission evaluation. If you have a string of Ws, then you should provide an explanation on your UC Application. Remember: you MUST report every W grade you have received on your UC Application. Exceptions: 1) Haas School of Business frowns upon Ws in major prerequisite requirements so you MUST provide an explanation if you have any Ws in those; 2) Merced prefers that you provide an explanation for every W you received.

Additional UC Transfer Resources

Sign up for the UC Transfer Admission Planner and update your community college coursework and grades at the end of each term. The UC TAP allows you to express interest to the UCs where you plan to apply and the information you fill in can be used to apply for TAG later.

Check out Quick Reference Guide to UC Admissions, a comprehensive resource guide put together by the UCs that explains EVERYTHING there is to know about freshman and transfer admissions (if you need something in writing as proof, this is where you’ll find it).


Know someone who can benefit from this information? Share the page with family and friends using a button below!

Help support this blog by making a contribution today! Any amount is greatly appreciated!

10 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

R. Millerreply
April 22, 2022 at 4:19 am

I messed up and didn’t realize HOW important it was to take the English Writing course by end of Fall semester. I’m just taking it now, and that blew up my TAG into UCD. Will the UCs even notice that I got a 5 on my English Lang & Comp AP? I’ve been accepted at Cal Poly SLO, rejected at UCSB. Waiting for UCLA, UCSD and UCD. Econ major with a 4.0 CC and unweighted 4.0 10th-12th. APs also in Stats, Lit and Econ.

Ms. Sunreply
April 22, 2022 at 2:59 pm
– In reply to: R. Miller

If you have two English done with the AP English exam (so one AP English exam, one English course), then you should meet the UC English requirements. If you are saying that you are taking the English course now (so the only thing you had was the AP English exam), then that could get a little tricky. In my experience, spring in-progress English is kind of a deal breaker for a lot of the UCs.

Tim A.reply
May 6, 2022 at 6:46 pm

My son was offered UCLA admission next Fall for Sociology. This semester he is taking non major prep science courses in case he wants to do PA school and since he is done with all IGETC, major prep. He is not performing as well as he usually does and will probably get all B’s, maybe one C this semester bringing his overall GPA down from a 3.8 to a 3.4. Is there a risk his offer would be rescinded? The contract states he needs to maintain his GPA and we don’t know what that means. It also states to report a drop in performance including two or more C grades, any D and/or F grades, and any C grades in major preparatory classes. The admissions email does not allow emails with these potential situations.

Ms. Sunreply
May 6, 2022 at 7:32 pm
– In reply to: Tim A.

As long as he doesn’t get two C’s or more, or D or F grades, he should be fine. To be on the safe side, I’d aim for a 3.0 or better for the semester.

Ethan Loreply
June 25, 2022 at 3:33 pm

i am applying for fall 2023 as a UC transfer from community college here in CA, my major will be computer science. i have been taking all the electives, but i am behind in math, I will take pre calu, and hopefully linear algebra next spring and calu next winter or spring. Am I to late? on the other hand, I have been taking a lot of computer science related classes, my GPA so far is 3.90, What is my chance?

Ms. Sunreply
June 25, 2022 at 8:20 pm
– In reply to: Ethan Lo

Most community colleges require completion of calculus before you can take linear algebra. Depending on the UC campus, you need to have at least a year of calculus and likely more advanced math beyond that. Based on what you said, your priority right now should be finishing your yearlong calculus sequence as soon as possible.

Ethan Loreply
June 25, 2022 at 9:06 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

thank you for your fast response. I will do the pre calu this fall, do calu next winter if the school offers, and linear algebra next spring, and I will try to more advance math class and more
computer and physics classes. so in case I dont have enough calu or math classes, do you think UCs wil reject my transfer?

Ms. Sun
June 25, 2022 at 10:35 pm
– In reply to: Ethan Lo

The Computer Science major is part of the engineering school at most UCs and major prerequisite requirements are enforced; if you are missing required coursework, you become ineligible for transfer admission consideration.

Ethan Loreply
June 25, 2022 at 9:30 pm
– In reply to: Ms. Sun

HI Ms Sun, what kind of consultation service is suitable for me? I need to have someone help me with the application and essays also. thanks..Ethan

Ms. Sun
June 25, 2022 at 10:37 pm
– In reply to: Ethan Lo

Take a look at my UC Application Service to see if any of the options works for you.

Questions or Comments?