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Transfer Planning

Transfer Center
Transfer Planning

"Transfer" is continuing your education at a baccalaureate-degree granting college or university, usually after completing your first two years at a community college.

Making Your Decisions

Your career objective will determine the type of degree you need and your choices for selecting a major. For assistance with investigating your career options, visit the Career Center.


A major is a field of study that you select for your degree. You are required to major in specific academic subject to demonstrate sustained high level work in one field. Most institutions require that you declare a major for transfer. test


A minor is an optional field of study that you select in conjunction with your major. The coursework for a minor may not be as intense as for the major. Generally you declare your minor once you are attending your transfer institution.

Double Major

Many institutions offered the opportunity for you to major in more than one field of study. Students who select to double major are held to all of the requirements of each major.

How to Pick a Major
  • Understand yourself and how your personality relates to skills, abilities, and career interests. This can be done by using the services of the Career Center and working with a counselor.
  • Determine your career objective. Your career objective will determine the type of degree you need and your choices for selecting a major.
  • Select your major. Selecting your major will help you determine the courses you need to take.

Educational Planning

Transfer Planning Workshop

Small, hands-on group sessions cover admissions requirements to your target universities and how you can best prepare yourself. You will obtain information on creating an educational plan for transfer, learn about the requirements, what courses you should plan for, strategies for course selection, grade point average requirements, general education and major preparation courses. See the Events page for workshop schedules.

Preparation for the Major (or Prep for Major) are lower-division courses that are required or recommended to be admitted to a major upon transfer.
Many majors require or recommend introductory or prerequisite courses, most of which are offered in California Community Colleges. The following resources can aid in identifying the preparation for major courses.
ASSIST: Displays articulation reports of how course credits earned at San Diego Mesa College meet the requirements for preparation for major, general education and transferability of courses to the UC and CSU systems. You can also utilize ASSIST to explore majors offered at the UCs and CSUs. Visit ASSIST at www.assist.org
Mesa College has a number of articulation agreements with local private universities, including information on preparation for major. Please view these agreements under the Articulation page.
AICCU: Displays transfer information for private colleges and universities of California. Visit www.aiccu.edu

General Education requirements are courses required of everyone regardless of major. Each university has different general education patterns. Utilize the Mesa College Catalog for detailed information on selecting the general education options that is right for you. Mesa students can choose from the following: Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern of courses acceptable at all campuses of the UC and CSU and some private institutions 2015-2016 IGETC Sheet California State University General Education (CSU GE) Breath pattern of lower-division courses acceptable at all campuses of the CSU system 2015-2016 CSU GE Sheet Specific requirements for an individual university (check out the articulation agreements for some GE patterns for private universities) It is strongly advised that you work closely with a counselor before making a decision. For questions about General Education Certification, please check here.

Electives are additional courses taken to meet the number of required units or to meet additional lower-division graduation requirements. Make sure the courses you select are transferable courses by referring to the course descriptions in this catalog.

Course Units

Course Units are the credit you earn for a particular course. They are sometimes called "credit hours" or "credits".

Colleges and Universities operate on either a Quarter system or a Semester system. San Diego Mesa College operates on a Semester system.

For transfer to CSUs and UCs, a minimum of 60 Transferable Units is required for admission. Some CSUs do accept less units. Please check with a counselor for these exceptions. For transfer to private institutions the number of Transferable Units required for admission may be found on the university's website.

Universities may have a maximum limit on the number of Transferable Units. CSUs and UCs have a maximum of 70 semester or 90 quarter Transferable Units towards a bachelors degree. Other institutions may have unit limitation. Check with your target institution for limitations. Any course work completed above the unit maximum will still count towards meeting degree requirements.

Universities may have a maximum limit on the number of Transferable Units. CSUs and UCs have a maximum of 70 semester or 90 quarter Transferable Units towards a bachelors degree. Other institutions may have unit limitation. Check with your target institution for limitations. Any course work completed above the unit maximum will still count towards meeting degree requirements.

Any course taken at a regionally accredited institution, regardless of when it was taken, counts towards your overall number of units. Regional Accreditation Agencies:

  • Northwest Association of Schools
  • Southern Association of Colleges & Schools/Commission on Colleges
  • Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools
  • Western Association of Schools & Colleges
  • Northern Central Association of Colleges & Schools
  • New England Association of Schools & Colleges, Inc./Commission Institute of Higher Education
  • For more information on accreditation and to search for a college's or universities' accreditation, visit the US Department of Education.


A Grade Point Average (GPA), a mark of your current academic standing. Many universities require a certain GPA for admittance. For transfer purposes, your GPA may need to be calculated in different ways to meet different transfer requirements.

This includes all transferable coursework to your target institution. Some universities require a certain Transferable GPA to be admitted into the university and/or a particular major. To determine if a course is transferable to a specific university, refer to the course descriptions in the Mesa College Catalog, on ASSIST.org (UCs and CSUs only), or articulation agreements.

Some UCs and CSUs may specify that for a core set of courses for your major you must meet a certain GPA. This information is on ASSIST.org.

This includes all coursework taken in higher education.

Course repetition policies vary at each institution. Check with your target institution for their policy and work with a Mesa counselor to determine how these policies apply to your GPA.

Any course taken at a regionally accredited institution, regardless of when it was taken, counts towards your GPA. See Course Units for more information.


Applying to your target institution or institutions can be the most exciting and nerve racking thing you do in your transfer process. Most universities require you to apply for admission about one year prior to your expected transfer date. Below are some application deadlines, application websites, tips and tools to help you along in this process. We encourage you to use the Transfer Center to file your applications. Workshops, student computers and staff are available to assist you.

To make your application process as smooth as possible have the following materials ready:

  • Unofficial Transcripts (or grade reports) of ALL college/university course work taken.
  • Any Advance Placement (AP) scores.
  • Any International Baccalaureate (IB) scores.
  • Any College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) scores.
  • A copy of your educational plan (from your counselor), including your general education, preparation for major / articulation worksheets.

Applications may also involve the following

  • Essays/Personal Statement. Use the Writing Center.
  • GPA Calculation
  • Recommendation letters. Start networking with your instructors now. Do not wait until it is time to ask for the letters. Inform them of your career objective and choice of major and universities.
  • Statement of Academic Standing. These are usually forms provided by your target institution.
  • Estimated income from the prior year (family income if you are a dependent).
  • Details on extra curricular activities.
  • Resumes

Free application assistance is available in the Transfer Center on a walk-in basis. Student computers and knowledgeable staff enable students to complete their application is a supportive environment. Students are encouraged to complete their application early to avoid extended waiting times and technical issues.

  • Transfer planners and resources are available at:
  • California State University: CSU Mentor
  • University California: Transfer Admissions Planner (tips for applying and personal statement)
  • All California Colleges: CaliforniaColleges.edu

Application deadlines vary from institution to institution, so it is important for you to track your application process and know all the application deadlines. In general application deadlines are about a year in advance of the term in which you expect to transfer. Students need to keep apprised of supplemental applications or application updates deadlines. Please note that all UC and CSU may be open for Winter or Spring admissions.

University of California (UC)

California State University (CSU)

  • csumentor.edu
  • Spring: August 1 - 31
  • Fall: October 1 - November 30

Common Application

  • Over 480 colleges use the Common Application

Other Colleges and Universities

  • Check the individual college and university websites.

  • Check your email frequently (especially the spam/junk mail folder). Many institutions will communicate with you via your email.
  • You must send official transcripts from all the institutions you have attended. See Transcript section below for more information.
  • Submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov
  • A number of institutions offer housing and some offer specific housing for transfer students and families. Check your target institutions and apply early.


Official Transcripts is the way by which a student transfers credit for coursework from one institution to another.

To transfer coursework from another institution to Mesa College, you can request that your previous institution(s) send your transcripts directly to the college, or you may hand carry your UNOPENED transcripts to the counseling office (note: opened transcripts cannot be accepted as official transcripts.) Please directly contact your previous institution to request these transcripts.

Part of the transfer application process is to submit official transcripts to the university from all previously attended institutions. Please directly contact your previous institution(s) to request these transcripts. Each university has different or multiple transcript submission deadlines, so be sure to confirm these dates and how to submit transcripts.

How to request your Mesa College transcripts be sent to another university.

At times during the application process and when meeting with a counselor, you may need a copy of your previous coursework from Mesa and other institutions. Many colleges, including Mesa College, have web portals in which students can access unofficial transcripts/grade reports. Students can use the computers in the transfer center to access these web portals.