The months of October and November are officially transfer application months. You might know a few things to get you started. You’ve done your research on some of your top schools. You know where to find the California State University and University of California applications. You probably also know that the Southwestern College Transfer Center is hosting application workshops and reviews.
Still, there’s a lot that goes into transferring, and the best way to make that a reality is to be prepared. That’s why the Transfer Center put together these five tips every Southwestern College student needs to know to help them transfer to a four-year college or university.
1. Have a Student Educational Plan and Semester-by-Semester Plan
Sitting down with a counselor and getting both these plans will give you a clear path to complete all your prerequisites, your general education courses and your major requirements. This way, by the time you open up the CSU and UC applications, you won’t be surprised by a requirement or two you may have missed.
“The reason you need both is because they give you a complete overview of what you need to accomplish here at Southwestern College,” said Transfer Center Coordinator Nicholas Nguyen. “If you have a clear goal, you’re going to finish on time.”
These plans also help students complete all their basic skill courses first such as English, math and reading. Once those are done, students can start taking their major requirements. Still unsure what you want to major in? Stop by and visit the Career Center.
2. Pay attention to your Grade Point Average
Taking the right classes is one thing, but a good GPA keeps you at the top of the list of applicants. As universities get more competitive, admissions departments at four-year colleges and universities are using GPAs to rank students on who gets an acceptance letter.
“A strong GPA will make you competitive as a transfer student,” Nguyen said. “If you really want a certain university, a good GPA helps you get in.”
Each class matters to your GPA, not just major requirements, and a higher GPA will equal to more acceptance letters from more universities. If you’re looking to turn that B into an A or to prepare for that big final, head to the Academic Success Center for help.
3. See your counselor often
Information changes, requirements change, deadlines change and the Transfer Center counselors are aware of all those changes.
“Even though you have your two plans, you need to stay up-to-date,” Nguyen said. “If you’re making any minor changes to your class schedule, see your counselor to make sure you’re staying on the right path.”
Make your appointments, develop a good relationship with a counselor and see them often.
4. Keep your options open
San Diego State and U.C. San Diego are great schools and deserve to be on the top of your transfer choices, but those are not the only schools out there. Apply to your top choices, but take advantage of the Transfer Center’s free field trips to other universities (the next one is to the University of Southern California) to see if there are other schools you might want to attend.
“You want to explore all your options,” Nguyen said. “Apply to your top choices, but look at what else is out there. Visit as many campuses as you can.”
5. Be aware of all deadlines
Nov. 30 is the deadline for both the UC and CSU application, but the deadlines don’t stop there. There’s much more to do after you apply. There are deadlines to submit official transcripts, deadlines to submit letters of intent and some schools even require supplemental applications.
A great way to meet your application deadlines is to start the applications early. That keeps you aware of everything you’ll need, even if you’re not ready to submit yet.
“We’ll walk through the application step-by-step with every student,” Nguyen said. “We offer workshops for the UC and CSU applications, and private counseling for any other application we may not offer a workshop for.”
If you still have questions or if you’re looking for more tips, head to the Transfer Center and make an appointment with a counselor. The Transfer Center offers counseling, workshops, campus tours and more.