Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between a CSU, UC, and Private School?
A California State University, or CSU, is a public university system focusing more on applied majors such as accounting or teacher preparation. Examples of CSU schools include Cal State East Bay, San Jose State, San Diego State, and Chico State.
The University of California is known as a public research institution and typically offers a more theoretical approach to instruction, and offers students more opportunities for research. UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Berkeley are all examples of UC schools.
Most private colleges such as Saint Mary’s College, Mills College, University of the Pacific, and Stanford University belong to the Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities (AICCU) association. Many are liberal arts colleges and offer a wide variety of majors, specializing in smaller class sizes and their ability to provide more personalized attention.
Q. What classes do I need in order to be minimally eligible for transfer?
The minimum requirements vary between the different segments of higher education (CSU, UC, and Private).
Students interested in transferring to the CSU system must complete at least 60 transferable units, with a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). At least 30 of these units must be selected from general education and include earning a 'C' or better in approved courses in written communication, oral communication, critical thinking, and mathematics.
To transfer to the UC system, California residents must complete at least 60 transferable units with a 2.4 grade point average. It is important to note that selectivity, which varies by applicant pool, will increase the minimum gpa for some majors and most UC campuses. Course requirements vary from one UC campus to the next; therefore, students should work with a counselor to select a particular UC campus and formulate a strategy for completing that campus’ admissions requirements, major preparation requirements, and appropriate general education requirements, as needed.
To facilitate transfer to a private college , it is recommended that students contact the particular institution as soon as possible, obtain a catalog, and work closely with a counselor to plan a course of study. Some private institutions will allow students to transfer with fewer than 60 units and many accept the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern. Work with your counselor to determine which approach is best for you.
Q. Is there a maximum number of units I can transfer?
The UC and CSU campuses will accept a maximum of 70 semester units towards the total number of units needed to complete your bachelor’s degree. If you have taken more units than that, the content of the courses will be used to satisfy requirements without penalty. If you have attended a baccalaureate institution (4-year) prior to attending Las Positas College, be sure to inform your counselor and inquire about unit limitations in admission for applicants with prior university records.
Q. What is the difference between a quarter and a semester?
Each college/university has an academic year with terms marking the beginning and end of classes. A quarter is one type of term within an academic year. Each quarter is approximately 10 weeks in length, and may include fall, winter, spring and summer quarters. A semester is another type of term within an academic year, and can last anywhere from 15-18 weeks in duration. Schools which function on a semester system may offer fall and spring semesters, a Summer term(s), and possibly a winter term in the academic year.
Q. What is the difference between an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree?
An Associate's Degree (AA/AS) is a “two-year” degree granted by a community college to students who complete a specified program of study, totaling 60 units. A Bachelor's Degree or Baccalaureate (BA/BS) is a “four-year” degree granted upon completion of at least 120 semester units or 180 quarter units. The California State University system, the University of California system, and many private/independent colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Although commonly referred to as "two-year" and "four-year" degrees, the time students actually take to earn the degree may vary.
Q. Where do I go to get transcripts sent to another college?
Admissions and Records in Building 700 houses all student records: http//www.laspositascollege.edu/admissions
Q. What is a major?
A major is a program of study which leads to a degree. It is the area of study in which the greatest depth of knowledge will be developed for an individual student. There are literally hundreds of majors from which a student may choose. By reading university catalogs, browsing university websites, and visiting www.assist.org, you can familiarize yourself with the array of majors offered at each campus and the scope or philosophy of each program. For example, a psychology major at one campus might offer concentrations in clinical or psychobiology, but a different university might offer concentrations in industrial psychology, human development and abnormal psychology. Be sure that the campus you select offers a scope or concentration that is appealing to you.
Q. What is a minor?
A minor is a secondary field of study, not as comprehensive as the major. Minors typically require a minimum of 18 semester units (or equivalent), the majority of which are upper-division (junior or senior) level courses.
Q. Do I need to declare a major before I transfer?
Not all colleges require you to declare a major prior to transfer; however, almost all universities prefer that you have a declared major when you apply for transfer. Many universities make admissions determinations based upon the number of lower division (freshman and sophomore) major preparatory classes a student has completed. Completing your major preparation prior to transfer will mean you are less likely to require additional time to graduate after transfer. This could also save you money. You should always check with a counselor for help in determining which lower division preparation is necessary for submitting a competitive application.
Q. What is an impacted major?
An impacted major is one that is very popular and for which more applications for admission are received during the priority filing period than the campus can accommodate. If you are applying to a major that is impacted, the GPA required for admission may be higher and you may have to complete lower division courses for the major prior to transfer. Impacted majors change from year to year, and vary amongst universities/colleges, so check with your counselor for a list of currently impacted programs.
Q. What is CSU GE BREADTH?
This is a general education pattern that students can use to fulfill their lower-division general education requirements for a California State University. A total of 48 semester units are needed to complete the CSU General Education-Breadth requirements. Of the 48 units, 39 may be certified by LPC and the remaining 9 units must be completed in upper-division coursework at the CSU campus. Once completed, CSU GE certification may be requested to be sent to the CSU campus after you have accepted an offer of transfer admission. Please visit the Office of Admissions and Records in Building 700 or visit http//www.laspositascollege.edu/admissions to submit your certification request.
Q. What is IGETC?
The IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) pattern is a general education pattern that community college transfer students can use to fulfill lower-division general education in the CSU system, most colleges in the UC system, or some private colleges. The IGETC is not advisable for all students planning to transfer. Exceptions exist for which IGETC is not appropriate in the UC system, including majors in Engineering, Business at UC Berkeley, and others. All IGETC courses require a grade of 'C' or better. Please see a counselor for additional information. Once completed, IGETC certification may be requested to be sent to the UC or CSU campus after you have accepted an offer of transfer admission. Please visit the Office of Admissions and Records in Building 700 or visit http//www.laspositascollege.edu/admissions to submit your certification request.
Q. How do I qualify for financial aid?
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete and file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This can be done at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA will allow you to list up to 6 universities. The next step is to contact the financial aid office of the university you are planning to attend. Many universities have a supplemental financial aid application that is required. Financial aid is determined by calculating the families expected contribution and subtracting that from the college’s cost of attendance. The cost of attendance varies from college to college, but your expected family contribution remains the same.
*FAQ Adapted from Ohlone College Transfer Center, 2012. Used with permision.