Transfer Students

Before Starting First Year at Community College

Community College Semester 1 (approximately 0-30 units)

  • Meet with your California Community College counselor (CCC) and discuss goals
  • Develop a major and class plan, sometimes called Student Education Plan (SEP) or Academic Plan

Community College Semester 2 (approximately 16-30 units)

  • If you haven’t already, determine career and major interests
  • If you haven’t already, research 4-year colleges and transfer requirements
  • Meet again with CCC counselor and review SEP

Community College Semester 3 (approximately 31-45 units)

  • Connect with Admissions Departments at prospective colleges
  • Apply for transfer admission
  • Apply for Financial Aid
  • Attend college fairs
  • Meet with CCC counselors and review SEP

Community College Semester 4 (approximately 46-60+ units)

  • Complete final courses
  • Commit to enrollment at selected college (and decline enrollment at others)
  • Order transcripts to have sent to prospective college

4 semester plan based on traditional full-time enrollment in an average of 15 units per semester


  • Register for courses in consultation with advisors picking classes without consulting with an academic advisor or transfer counselor at the community college can lead to taking classes that don’t transfer appropriately.
  • View the universities’ admissions requirements far in advance. This will help you to proactively plan, which saves time and money.
  • View the impaction status (Impaction at the CSU) at your 4-year colleges of interest to learn what the GPA and/or course completion requirements are. The requirements might be campus-wide or major-specific. This may include GPA minimum, earning an ADT (Associate Degree for Transfer Major) or TAG (Transfer Admission Guarantee), or completing specific courses. (Note: Impaction is a term that means highly competitive, or that there are more applicants interested than can be accommodated. In order to determine who will be admitted, either to the university or to a major program, campuses may rely on additional requirements.)
  • The California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) both honor transfer agreements with the California Community Colleges. This allows students to complete courses and degrees at their community college that will be applicable at their 4-year university. View these early so that you can plan and enroll in the correct courses at your community college.
  • Develop a Student Education Plan (SEP) with a counselor at your community college. This is a document that outlines the path to reach your expressed goals. This should be revisited each semester and adjusted as needed.

Other useful links:

Find Your Path
CCC-Associate Degree for Transfer
Associate Degree for Transfer Major and Campus Search
Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG)
California Community College Guided Pathways

Financial Plans

  • Check out Humboldt’s library of financial aid & scholarship resources:
  • Crunch the numbers: consider different ways to pay for college to see what will benefit you best in the long run. For example, calculate the total cost of your education if you take more classes and don’t work you would graduate faster and might have less debt in the end.
  • Meet with a financial literacy counselor and determine if loans are an option.
  • Financial Aid packages, qualifications, and disbursement can vary between community colleges and 4-year universities. Learn the differences so that you are prepared and can make informed decisions.
  • Apply for Financial Aid through FAFSA as early as October prior to entering the 4-year college. This application is due March 2, but the earlier you apply the better your aid package will be. This should be done each academic year. 
  • Most scholarships require students to apply for Financial Aid through FAFSA. Even if you don’t think you qualify for Financial Aid, you should still apply just in case you qualify for future scholarships.

Other useful links:

Adult Student College Prep Checklist
Checklists for Academic and Financial Preparation

Transfer Preparation

  • Think about which 4-year college you want to transfer to and introduce yourself by meeting with their admissions counselors. They might give you advice that will help you make the most of your community college experience. 
  • Visit and to view how your community college courses will transfer. You should also check to see if your community college has a transfer center to support your planning process. If so, utilize their services and resources. Some will have literature from many universities as well as staff who can guide you.
  • Spend a good amount of time researching prospective universities, their respective majors, and their requirements. Once you’ve determined your major and/or career interest, explore which universities offer programs that support your interest. If your goals are motivated by which college you want to attend, explore the majors they offer to properly prepare. Not all colleges offer the same majors.
  • Attend college visits, fairs, and workshops. This typically takes place in the fall. Make appointments with visiting admissions counselors to determine if you’re on track to transfer and to find out what you need to meet various qualifications. Prepare in advance by researching the college and bringing your questions to the event. 
  • Create a list of priorities for making a decision about which college to attend. 
  • Universities vary on whether or not they will accept lower-division transfer students (less than 60 units earned). Connect with each respective college to determine their process. 

Other useful links:

Humboldt-specific transferology link:

If you are interested in transferring to the University of California utilize the  UC Transfer Admission Planner (UC TAP) in planning your pathway to qualify.

Connecting & Support Resources

  • Visit your community college counselors early and often. Find a counselor who is a good fit to support your goals. If possible, continue with the same counselor so that they will be familiar with your goals and individual situation.
  • Get involved! Join clubs or take volunteering opportunities that align with your personal and professional goals.
  • Most community college campuses have a variety of support resources. Take a look at all of the resources on your campus they are there to help you get through any struggle and to help you succeed. This may include services such as TRIO, EOPS, Disability Student Services, or Veterans’ Services. These programs often provide academic counseling and additional support.

Applications, Transcripts, and Acceptance

  • Check out the Steps to Enrollment at the 4-year campus you are choosing. For a sample, check out Cal Poly Humboldt’s Steps to Enrollment.
  • Most fall admission applications are due the previous November 30. Most spring admission applications are due the previous summer/early fall, even if you still have courses in progress. Look up the Admissions webpages of your universities of interest to determine their specific timeline and plan accordingly.
  • Official transcripts (your academic record) will be required to demonstrate your courses completed. Shortly after submitting your application, most universities will require an in-progress transcript that shows complete, current, and planned courses for your last semester, along with the final, official transcript once grades are posted for your final semester. Each community college has their own process for requesting these, but many institutions can do it electronically through your student portal. Check with your community college admissions and records offices.
  • Once you’ve been admitted, you will have to officially accept admission. The typical date for fall admission is May 1 for CSU and June 1 for UC. Spring admission acceptance dates vary among institutions, so check their admissions webpages as well as any individual communications sent to you.

Useful Links:

California State University application for all 23 campuses:
University of California application for all 9 campuses:
Common application for most private colleges:

Successful Transition to your 4-year College Campus

  • Make an early contact with your academic advisor. Meet regularly.
  • Find out about clubs, activities and resources.
  • Attend events and activities.
  • Apply to support programs for which you qualify such as EOP, Disability Student Service, Veterans’ Services, or Transfer and Transition programs. Utilize these resources early and often.