Either you are in or out

Christopher Milholland

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Whether you have just arrived at Mesa or are preparing to leave soon, there are some things you should know about transferring to a four-year college.

Before you take any steps toward applying, it is a good idea to talk with a counselor about your status. First of all, they will know if you have completed the minimum number of units to even be eligible for transfer. They can also find out if the classes you have been taking qualify for your major-specific required units.

“It is advised that students pick up an IGETC or GEB form and visit a counselor before planning their classes,” said Mesa College Transfer Center Coordinator, Naomi Grisham. “Our biggest fear is that students try to do it on their own, and end up missing out on something they need.”

The counselor may tell you that you are eligible to transfer, or they may say that there are still a few classes needed before you are ready. If there are still more classes needed for your particular major, they can help you plan classes to fulfill the requirements.

If you have completed or will have completed the required number of units and classes for your major by the end of the spring semester, then congratulations, step one finished.

You are now ready to begin applying to schools.

All 23 schools in the California State University system, or CSU, use an online application process. To access the online resources for the CSU system, visit www.csumentor.edu, which is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week. They are accepting applications for the Fall 2007 semester from now through Nov. 30.

The same thing goes for the University of California, or UC system, whose website is www.universityofcalifornia.edu. They are also accepting applications through the end of November for the Fall 2007 semester.

Most CSU and UC schools have closed their application process for the spring. The websites will display which schools are still accepting students.

Here, as an example, are the general requirements for the CSU system. These requirements are for California community college students, the requirements for out-of-state and foreign students are a bit tougher. These are the minimum requirements to be eligible to apply, and do not guarantee admission.

Students must have completed 60 semester or 90 transferable quarter-units with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (2.4 for non-residents). Of those, 30 semester or 45 quarter-units must be under general education requirements and be passed with a minimum grade of C.

The number of units needed to transfer to a UC school is the same as the CSU, but they require a minimum overall GPA of 2.4 for California community college students and 2.8 for out-of-state students.

More popular majors are ‘impacted,’ which means that there is more competition to get into the major.

“The required GPA may be higher, depending on the impaction status of your major,” said Grisham.

There are two ways that students can go about transferring, the General Education Breadth (GEB), and the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC). Students are advised to consult with a counselor to find out which best suits their needs.

Under IGETC, students must complete specific courses in 5 fields in order to be eligible for transfer.

Two of these courses fall under English Composition (also one oral communication class if transferring to a CSU). One course is needed for Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning; three courses for the Arts and Humanities; three courses under Social and Behavioral Sciences; and two courses under Physical and Biological Sciences.

Proficiency in a foreign language equivalent to two years of high school is also required for UC transfer students.

The benefit of completing the IGETC transfer requirements is that students get their lower division general education classes out of the way, and can spend more time working on upper division and major-specific courses once at the four-year college. It is most beneficial to students who either haven’t decided on a major, or have yet to pick a specific school.

According to the UC website, IGETC may not be as helpful for students who have chosen a major with many lower-division prerequisites, such as those in the physical sciences. Those students are advised to concentrate on their major pre-requisites rather than focus on general education.

The GEB certification is aimed at students who have decided on transferring to a CSU. It focuses on getting a well-rounded general education, before moving on to major specific courses.

Mesa also has admissions agreements with several schools, including UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, UCSD, and SDSU. Visit the transfer center to find out details on these programs.

There’s still more to do once you have submitted the application, and been accepted.

“It is important for students to remember that they are not done once they have submitted the application,” said Grisham. “After the actual application, students still must submit their intent to enroll and make sure that the college they are transferring to has their official transcripts.”

The Mesa counseling staff is available to assist with any step in the application process. The transfer center offers application review sessions in which people are available to answer any questions that may come up and help students to complete their applications. The transfer center is located in I3-202

Each Wednesday there is also Transfer Hour held in the main quad, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, where students can have any questions answered about the transfer process.

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