With the filing period for the University of California (UC) transfer application quickly approaching (November 1-30th), I wanted to share advice from someone who has successfully gone through the UC transferring process! Even though there are quite a few similarities between the transfer and regular freshman application process, it’s still good to have everything ready to go so that there isn’t a mad scramble during November.
Make Sure Your Course Requirements Are In Order
This is particularly important for people outside of the community college system. Making sure that all of your class requirements are taken care of can be a difficult process. Try to have all of your coursework verified in advance so that you’re not left with a hot egg on your face if you realize that you needed to sign up for a class on deadline day! Also remember that all of the UC schools give you until the end of your second year to complete all requirements, so you’ll have either one more semester or two more quarters to wrap up those course requirements at the time you apply. Getting in touch with the schools’ admissions office to clarify any other questions ahead of time is also always a great idea. For those of you at community colleges, ASSIST.org is the way to make sure that you’re fulfilling all of the course requirements for the schools you want to transfer to. For UC to UC transfers, it gets a little more complicated.
Typically, course requirements for transferring are split up into two sections: general education requirements and major requirements. To split it up even further - for most schools, you can fulfill the GE requirements in two ways: College Requirements and UC to UC Reciprocity. College requirements (ie: College of Letters and Sciences, College of Engineering) can typically be found on the college’s website, and usually consist of a combination of various subjects. This can be a bit annoying to fulfill though, since the requirements can be quite broad and confusing to transfers outside of the community college system. The more simple, guaranteed way to fulfill GE requirements for students looking to transfer from a UC to UC is to fulfill UC to UC Reciprocity. This means that fulfilling the General Education requirements at your current UC within your two years there will let you fulfill the GE requirements at any other UC campus.
Depending on the major, there are different requirements for classes you must take to transfer. You can check the department websites to find these specific requirements or check ASSIST.org. Unfortunately, similar to the college requirements, there isn’t a surefire way for UC to UC transfer prospective students to “check” if their classes line up with classes at others UCs before you get admitted like you can for community colleges. That being said, it’s quite easy to tell if you are fulfilling the major requirement classes, as they are relatively straightforward. For example, they might ask you for a “linear algebra course”, which is relatively universal across schools.
Start the Application Ahead of Time
This seems like such an obvious tip. But trust me, just because you might have been through this process before in high school doesn’t mean that you can leave the application until the last second this time around (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience…). The application isn’t just a matter of filling in your classes and other quick information, there’s also plenty of important factors regarding your financials and scholarships that require a lot of prep time.
Make sure this is done several weeks before the deadline so that you can focus all of your attention onto the most important and time-consuming portion of your application: the personal insight questions.
Starting your essays ahead of time also means you can spend more time really curating your application’s “story”. One of the most helpful pieces of advice I got when I began writing my college application essays was to not leave each of my essays in a vacuum. While they should all tell a unique part of your story and personality, that shouldn’t mean that they need to all be completely separated from each other. For example, I tried to weave my experiences of living as an immigrant in the United States throughout all of my essays. I wanted to help the readers understand why I participated in certain extracurricular activities and how my immigrant background contributed to these motivations. I really recommend creating a visual map of how your essays can work off of each other and really connect so that readers can get a comprehensive understanding of who you are.
If you have any questions about UC to UC transfer advice or application essays, schedule a College and Career Coaching call with me!
David is a Consultant on the Study Hall Consulting team. David is currently a fourth-year student at UC Berkeley studying Economics and minoring in Data Science. Going into his junior year of college (Fall 2019), David transferred from UC Santa Barbara to UC Berkeley. For more application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at: shcollegeconsulting.com.