All You Need to Know from the UC's Ensuring Transfer Conference
by Meilin Obinata
Recently, a group of Enlighteens Education Consultants attended the UC's “Ensuring Transfer Success” Conference. It was an information-packed day for a group of veteran educators! After a long day of running between countless sessions, the takeaways made all our time (5 full-time education consultants' entire work day) - and pricey tickets - worth it.
The majority of conference-goers seemed to be community college staff who were staying on top of the latest and greatest UC info. The conference had many great sessions, each of which gave us extremely specific details to consider as we advise our transfer students. Overall, the conference did a good job of putting a friendly face on UC transfer admissions staff and also motivating us to seek yet more detailed information. And there were some overall big-picture messages from the UC system too.
Firstly, that the UC has a serious commitment to transfer applicants - a 1:2 ratio - 1 for every 2 freshman admits
Many parents might know that getting to a competitive UC campus is not very different from getting into a less-competitive UC campus with an impacted major; there is a huge demand for either of these outcomes while there is a limited supply of seats - thus not easy to attain.
Applicants need to seriously plan, research and prepare their path to a MAJOR. We clearly heard the message that applicants should diversify away from impacted majors whenever possible. We heard the phrase “major prep” over and over again, in unrelated sessions! So - say it with me - “major prep!” Note the slide below!!!
Before we dive further into transfer stuff, you will need to know about “TAG.” It stands for “transfer admissions guarantee” which are defined program students can follow in order to ensure their admissions into particular UCs. At the time of this writing, there are 6 participating UCs: Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. The goal is to encourage students who attend California Community Colleges to get onto a path towards college. BUT UC TAG programs don't “guarantee” admission to popular majors such as engineering, business, nursing, etc. For specialized program details, read the next paragraph.
SPECIALIZED PROGRAMS = SPECIALIZED PREPARATION - and supplemental materials for the application process. Desirable programs have requirements clearly above typical TAG (transfer admissions guarantee) requirements: Ex: UC Irvine's Quantitative Econ major requires Linear Algebra prior to transfer. That would mean you as an applicant need to plan - and get - your math courses in a specific sequence in time for your transfer application - this could be multiple years of course planning depending on the highest level of Math you completed in high school! Not only that, but, many pre-professional / specialty programs require letters of rec, portfolios, resumes, auditions, and so on.
Program departments differ in terms of how much interaction they want, or don't want, from applicants. Be prepared to do your own research before calling their staff.
Attention! IMPACTED MAJORS. Beware of impacted majors! Multiple speakers from different UCs practically BEGGED attendees to encourage students to diversify their major choices. This was due to the fact that popular majors are seriously impacted and act as something of a chokehold on the transfer process. There was even a running joke throughout the conference about the tiny numbers of people applying as German studies majors, so, after the first UC person talked about it, others picked up on it and mentioned however many applied for Fall 2019 (and how many got in!). Disclaimer: we are not endorsing that you all start applying as German Studies majors!
In related thinking, my colleague Daniel, the English instructor at De Anza College mentioned that another thread in the UC/California Community College (CCC) relationship is AB 705. It is a piece of legislation which will act as a “pull” factor in encouraging CCCs to permit various ways to satisfy Math & English requirements such as high school GPA and specific class grades to go beyond traditional placement tests. The intention of the bill is to get CCC students to maximize the probability of completing transfer-level work within one (1) year, i.e., to accelerate the rate of transfer.
MIXED RECORD STUDENTS. Students who have attended high school or college courses outside of California, such as international schools or community colleges in other states, need to be mindful of how their Math and English courses will be interpreted as meeting UC Math/English requirements - or not. The evaluators will read the transcripts to assess whether the course contents are comparable. There are some nuances about satisfying the Language Other Than English requirement, i.e., foreign languages, when studying in another country with a non-English language of instruction.
I'm also including a picture here to remind you that the selection criteria has not technically changed - but the GPA / major preparation standards are HIGHER than ever before.
And here's a picture of us rocking our Enlighteens shirts and looking like a music band from the 1970's! This was a positive experience and a lovely lunch was included actually!