Community College to UC Transfers: What do Admit Rates Really Look Like?



The University of California, the absolute leading institutions among all public universities in the US, has two main channels of recruiting undergraduate students: freshman admission and transfer admission.


On UC campuses, transfer students is certainly in the minority, making up almost one-third of the student population in the entire UC system. At UC Berkeley, 4,881 transfer students were admitted to the Fall 2021 class alone.


Many see transferring as a shortcut to UC, since the acceptance rate for transfer applicants is higher than that for freshman applicants.


Fall 2021 UC Campuses Transfer and Freshman Acceptance Rates


In the above table, aside from UC Merced, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz, for all other UC campuses, the transfer acceptance rate is much higher than the freshman acceptance rate. For UCLA and UCB, that difference is nearly 8%.


But numbers can be misleading. There are unseen hardships behind such high acceptance rates, and it might not apply to every transfer applicant out there.


A closer look at the data reveals that 92% of accepted UC transfer applicants are graduates of California Community Colleges (CCC). For all campuses, no less than 92% of all admitted transfer applicants came from CCC.


2021 Fall Percentage of CCC Students in UC Transfer Acceptances


In that sense, even the UC San Diego campus, with the largest number of transfer admissions, admitted less than 1,000 applicants from outside CCC.


At the end of the day, among the 12,330 students admitted to UCSD, a total of 3,594 chose to enroll, of which 3,200 were transferring from community colleges. Transfer students from community colleges De Anza, Santa Monica, San Diego Mesa and Pasadena City make up 1/4 of the enrolled transfer students at UC San Diego that year.



In the Fall 2021, 239 students from Diablo Valley College transferred to the UC Berkeley, making up as much as 1/10 of all transfer students admitted to UCB.


There is no doubt that the University of California has a "preference" for admitting graduates from California community colleges, not to mention that some even offer "guaranteed" admission policies.

The so-called "guaranteed" admission policy is actually a transfer admission guarantee agreement between the six campuses of the University of California (UCSB, UCI, UCD, UCR, UCSC and UCM) and California community colleges, the Transfer Admission Guarantee, known as TAG. Each applicant can apply one and only UC campus through TAG, and all they need to do is make sure to complete all TAG requirements of the selected campus to secure admission.


Three of our students successfully transferred to UC Berkeley and UCLA campuses, two of the most popular UC campuses. These students come from California community colleges or other private universities.

At Enlighteens, we believe that students’ learning experiences are just as important as admission results, and we understand that the learning process can look different for everyone. For that very reason, through personalized consulting and planning, we are dedicated to helping all students with different backgrounds align their short term goals and long term plans.

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