Best Schools To Transfer To In California

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 by

Transferring to the best school in the state of California is not easy. Many universities are known to have transfer students with high grade point averages or even multiple degrees. The student may also have completed prerequisite courses at their previous institution. Students seeking to transfer may even have undergraduate minors, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, or post-graduate degrees under their belt. Students will find that there are thousands of institutions in the state of California that they could attend because it has an assortment of two-year community colleges, four-year colleges, and five Universities.

For millions of students, the path to a degree isn’t a straight shot through a single college. In fact, more than a third of undergrads transfer schools at least once. Despite its prevalence, however, transferring can prove tricky—particularly to take the credits you’ve already earned with you. Want more information regarding Best Schools To Transfer To In California, what schools accept nursing transfers, what college has the best nursing program in california, can you transfer between nursing schools & what is the best nursing school in California.

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10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students | Money

Best Colleges that Accept Transfer Students in california

California is home to some of the best schools in the U.S. If you are transferring, you will have little trouble finding the school that best fits your needs. The Golden State has tons of options regardless of what major you are studying or how much time you have left to graduate. California also has a ton of options for students who are looking locally or just looking to transfer away from their current school. The biggest thing to consider is where you want to transfer, but once you have made up your mind, you will have tons of options regardless of how long it takes you to plan accordingly.

These community colleges will help you get on the path towards transferring to a respected four-year university.

1. Foothill College

Foothill College’s transfer center is dedicated to counseling students through the process of transferring to a four-year university. The college is particularly known for its UCLA Transfer Alliance Program, which gives select students priority consideration for transfer into University of California, Los Angeles, considered the second-best public university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. With an impressive transfer rate of 70 to 98 percent, this program has proven to be a very successful way to gain admission into UCLA.

2. Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College produces the most transfer students of any two-year college in California; in 2010, they produced an impressive 1,053. Transfers usually go to either California State University (CSU) schools or University of California (UC) schools, some of which are very prestigious, like University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley.

3. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College’s Transfer Academy program guarantees students the ability to efficiently transfer to a school in the UC or CSU system. About a third of these transfer students choose to stay in beautiful Santa Barbara to attend University of California, Santa Barbara, ranked the 11th-best public school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

4. De Anza College

Ranked 10th on CNN Money’s list of community colleges with the best graduation and transfer rates, De Anza College produced the second-most transfer students of any two-year school in California in 2010. Students can transfer to CSU schools, UC schools or independent colleges with the help of De Anza’s transfer planning program and partnership program, which help students get into great universities like University of California, Berkeley.

The nation's best colleges for transfer students | University of California

5. Irvine Valley College

The transfer center at Irvine Valley College is uniquely dedicated to helping students transfer to schools outside of the UC and CSU systems (though it facilitates students wanting to transfer to these schools as well). The program works to funnel students into respected California universities like University of Southern California, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University, and they assist students who want to attend out-of-state institutions such as Arizona State University and New York University. The center also holds special events like workshops and happy hours in order to spread information and awareness about transferring effectively.

Now that you know which community colleges to consider, you can get on the path towards transferring to a respected four-year university.

What are the Best Schools to Transfer To

If you think you may transfer, try to plan early to ensure the courses you take will count, and keep your grades up. More than eight in 10 college admissions officers said overall GPA at a prior college was of “considerable importance” for acceptance of transfer students, compared to just 10% who rated standardized test scores as important, according to an annual survey from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

Acceptance rates for transfer students are sometimes higher than that for first-time applicants. But all of the colleges below are still highly competitive. Five of the top 10 are rated as “very” difficult to get into as a transfer student, according to Peterson’s Undergraduate Database, meaning more than 50% of all students were in the top 10% of their high school class.

easiest top schools to transfer into

1. University of California-Los Angeles

University of California–Los Angeles Kyle Alexander—Courtesy of University of California–Los Angeles

  • Overall Money rank: 4
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 90%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30 for initial application; 1/31 for Transfer Academic Update

UCLA only accepts transfer students for the fall term, and the university requires they have junior-level status, meaning they’ll have completed 60 credits by the end of the spring semester before transferring. For the fall of 2017, the university received some 21,000 applications from transfer students. One quarter were accepted, with an average GPA of 3.5. 

10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students | Money

2. University of California-Berkeley

University of California–Berkeley David Madison—Getty Images

  • Overall Money rank: 7
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 90%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30 for initial application; 1/31 for Transfer Academic Update

Berkeley requires junior-level standing and a minimum GPA of 3.0, though some colleges, such as engineering, require better grades. For students from outside the state’s community college system, UC-Berkeley publishes a list of colleges with which they have articulation agreements, meaning credits for certain courses should seamlessly transfer. 

3. Emory University

10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students | Money

Emory University Courtesy of Emory University

  • Overall Money rank: 128
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 90%
  • Deadline for transfer application: March 15

For the Fall of 2017, Emory reported it accepted a quarter of the students who applied to transfer. Applicants must complete at least one year (28 credits) of college coursework before enrolling at Emory. Two colleges—the Oxford College and Goizueta Business School—do not accept transfer students. 

4. California State University-Channel Islands

California State University–Channel Islands Courtesy of California State University–Channel Islands

  • Overall Money rank: 331
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 83%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30 for fall; 8/31 for spring

Cal State-Channel Islands accepts transfer students who’ve completed at least 60 credits at another college. Unlike most of the other colleges in the top 10, transfer students can enroll at Channel Islands starting in the fall or spring semester. More than 50% of students who enrolled in the fall of 2017 were transferring into Channel Islands—the largest share of any of the colleges in our top 10. 

5. California State University-Long Beach

California State University–Long Beach Courtesy of California State University–Long Beach

  • Overall Money rank: 22
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 83%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30 for fall enrollment; 8/31 for spring enrollment

Like its fellow Cal State campus on this list, CSU-Long Beach accepts transfer students for both the fall and spring semester. Priority is given to those with junior-level standing, and specific criteria for eligibility, such as lower-level coursework, general education courses, and minimum GPA, vary by major. 

6. University of California-San Diego

University of California–San Diego Robert Benson for Money

  • Overall Money rank: 2
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 85%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30

In 2018, UC-San Diego admitted nearly one half of the students who applied to transfer. Nine out of 10 of those transfer students come from a California community college, and most exceeded the minimum academic requirements to transfer. The average GPA of incoming transfer students was 3.59. 

7. University of California-Santa Barbara

University of California–Santa Barbara Shutterstock—VDB Photos

  • Overall Money rank: 38
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 85%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30

UC-Santa Barbara has a dedicated space on campus for transfer students to get support. The Transfer Center Space in the university’s library offers two academic advisors, peer mentors, and programming to help students transition successfully to the university. 

8. University of California-Irvine

University of California–Irvine Elena Zhukova—University of California–Irvine

  • Overall Money rank: 3
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 86%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30

UCI’s Transfer Acceptance Guarantee program guarantees admission to eligible California community college students. The program is already closed for fall 2019; to qualify for admission in the fall of 2020, you need a minimum 3.4 GPA, coursework for the prerequisites in your major, and to be on track to earn at least 60 credits earned by the spring 2020 term.

9. San Diego State University

San Diego State University Ken Wolter—Getty Images

  • Overall Money rank: 79
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 82%
  • Deadline for transfer application: 11/30

Transfer applicants to SDSU are admitted into specific major programs, depending on how much space is available. That means transfer students have to select a desired major when they apply and confirm they meet the eligibility for that specific path. 

10. University of Florida

University of Florida Bernard Brzezinski—University of Florida

  • Overall Money rank: 23
  • Share of transfer students who earn a degree within 4 years: 86%
  • Deadline for transfer application: Varies by college, but most fall in March for the following fall semester.

The University of Florida also admits transfer students based on the space available in individual major programs. The university recommends contacting individual colleges to make sure you’ve taken the required prerequisites for the academic program you’re interested in. Only students who will complete at least 60 credits by the time they enroll are eligible for UF’s on-campus programs. Others can apply to the college’s online options. .

10 Best Colleges for Transfer Students | Money

california community college with highest transfer rate

California’s community colleges make up the largest higher education system in the U.S. About 2.1 million students attend 116 community colleges in California.

Students choose to attend community colleges for various reasons. Many want to earn an associate degree or an industry-specific certificate. Other learners hope to reduce educational costs by attending a community college for two years before transferring to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Many in California have worked to raise awareness about the benefits of a two-year education and believe it should be available to everyone. California’s community colleges also boast some famous former students, including actor and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, NFL star Aaron Rodgers, and writer Amy Tan.

Read on to learn more about community colleges in California and what they have to offer.

Why Study in California

  1. Educational Opportunities: California’s community colleges offer more than 200 programs. These programs give students options to reach a variety of desired goals. Some learners want to earn an associate degree. Others want to complete general education requirements before transferring to a four-year university. For these students, the system offers the Associate Degree for Transfer program. This guarantees admission and a saved spot at participating universities in California. Another program, the College Promise Grant, waives enrollment fees for qualified students. Many students at community colleges in California get financial aid to help with school costs.
  2. Economy: California boasts the highest gross domestic product in the nation. This number reveals the total market value of goods and services produced in a given year. It is a common indicator of economic strength. According to Bloomberg, since April 2020, California’s surging economy resulted in 1.3 million new non-farm payroll jobs and $164 billion in increased household income.
  3. Cost of Living: California ranked third in CNBC’s 2021 list of the most expensive states to live in, topped only by Hawaii and New York. However, keep in mind that California’s cost of living varies dramatically between its different counties and cities. For instance, it is typically less expensive to live in Los Angeles than San Francisco. Additionally, it costs significantly less to live in the eastern valleys than it does to live in coastal cities. Due to its large size and diversity, the state can accommodate individuals on a wide variety of budgets.
  4. Cultural and Community Offerings: California is home to some of the nation’s most famous attractions. The Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, Disneyland, and Big Sur are all found within its borders. The state also has culturally diverse neighborhoods and thriving artistic communities. California offers street fairs, concerts, and a legion of culturally rich community programs and events. Additionally, California contains 840 miles of beaches and some of the tallest trees on Earth. It also shares the largest alpine lake in North America. California can be an ideal home for nature enthusiasts.
  5. Climate: Much of California enjoys a temperate, Mediterranean-like climate — dry, hot summers and mild winters. Beach communities in the northern part of the state typically see daytime temperatures in the 70s, with a morning blanket of fog in the summer months. In the mountains, Californians can experience all four seasons. And those living in the deserts can see temperatures that reach above 100 degrees. Depending on where they attend school, students may need to pack an array of clothing options, from lightweight shorts and tees to warmer wear.

California Employment Outlook

Many states are in the process of recovering from the effects of the pandemic, and California is no exception. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California added 804,900 jobs in 2021 — the largest job increase in the nation. Industries experiencing the most significant growth include hospitality, education, health, information, and business services.

According to California’s Employment Development Department, some of the state’s fastest-growing occupations between 2018 and 2028 are projected to include solar energy technician, occupational and physical therapy assistant, and respiratory therapist. Many of these roles require an associate degree or other type of postsecondary training.

Respiratory Therapist$62,810The BLS projects 19% job growth between 2019 and 2029. Respiratory therapists examine, treat, and perform diagnostic tests on patients experiencing trouble breathing. These professionals may test oxygen levels, perform chest physiotherapy, and connect patients to ventilators. They also may treat premature infants with undeveloped lungs and elderly patients with chronic lung diseases. Typically, respiratory therapists work in hospitals, though some provide home care.
Physical Therapy Assistant$59,770The BLS projects 33% job growth between 2019 and 2029. Physical therapy assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist. They may treat patients recovering from injuries by helping them perform exercises or through the use of massage, gait and balance training, and other therapeutic measures. These professionals work in various settings, including hospitals, nursing care facilities, and private practices.
Occupational Therapy Assistant$62,940The BLS projects 35% job growth between 2019 and 2029. Occupational therapy assistants work under the direction of an occupational therapist. These professionals assist patients who have lost the ability to perform daily functions due to disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. For example, they may help patients perform exercises or teach them how to use special equipment. Occupational therapy assistants work in numerous fields, including pediatrics, mental health, and rehabilitation.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers$46,470The BLS projects 52% job growth between 2019 and 2029. Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, also called solar energy technicians, install and maintain solar panel systems. While not always mandatory for employment, earning certification or a degree in this field can demonstrate competency. Some states require certification for PV installers working on projects qualifying for solar-related subsidies.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers$75,920The BLS projects 17% job growth between 2019 and 2029. Diagnostic medical sonographers create images, known as sonograms or ultrasounds, of the body’s tissues and organs. They may specialize in different parts of the body, such as the abdomen, heart, and breast. These professionals also can work with specific populations, such as the elderly, children, and pregnant women.
Transferring High Schools – Impact on College Admissions | College  Transitions

best schools to transfer to after community college

1. Irvine Valley College

Location: Irvine, CA

Irvine Valley College offers a variety of academic services to around 13,000 students. IVC sits on a 60-acre campus and provides learners with dozens of associate degree and professional certificate options.

In addition to traditional on-campus coursework, students can choose from IVC’s roster of online classes. Learners can complete most general education classes through the school’s online learning platform. Many of the academic tracks are also available entirely online.

IVC is home to 11 academic schools, including business sciences, humanities, and mathematics and computer science. IVC also provides the community with an adult ESL center, an English language center, and an economic and workforce development department.

2. Moorpark College

Location: Moorpark, CA

Serving roughly 12,000 students, Moorpark College offers various academic and professional tracks that students can complete on campus, online, or in a hybrid setting. The school provides associate and transfer degree options in many departments, including business, information, and technology; health and wellness; and even exotic animal training and management.

MC also offers certificates in many fields, like accounting, business administration, and biotechnology. In response to the expansion of online learning opportunities, California’s Online Education Initiative ensures that students develop the skills they need for a successful distance-learning experience. Many MC students can complete the majority of their coursework online.

Located in Los Angeles-adjacent Ventura County, MC provides many student services to help learners reach their academic and professional goals. These include daycare, housing, and social services. Resources are also available through the Dreamers Workgroup.

3. Mt San Antonio College

Location: Walnut, CA

Mt. San Antonio College provides students with an extensive list of professional training options and community-based education programs. Mt. SAC offers more than 100 associate degree programs and over 200 certificate programs.

Associate degree programs include addictions counseling, applied laboratory science technology, and hospitality and restaurant management. Certificate tracks include fire certification and technology, computer systems technology, and radio broadcasting.

In addition to over 3,000 online classes, distance learners also have access to online counseling and tutoring services.

Mt. SAC, located in the city of Walnut, also gives students, faculty, and staff access to personal, academic, and professional support through resources like its Equity Center, El Centro Latinx Chicanx student program, and Mountie Fresh Basic Needs Resources effort.

4. Las Positas College

Location: Livermore, CA

Students at Las Positas College can choose from various online and on-campus academic options while pursuing associate degrees and professional certificates.

Learners can pursue associate degrees in subjects including administration of justice, communication studies, and LGBTQ studies. Additionally, LPC specifically designs many programs for students who intend to transfer to four-year institutions.

LPC, based in Livermore, also offers resources for students outside the classroom. The school, which educates around 6,500 students a year, provides mental health services, including behavioral health workshops, crisis counseling, and short-term mental health counseling. Students also have access to a long list of student clubs and organizations.

UC and CCC sign agreement to boost transfers, increase academic  preparationLink: UCOP's e-newsletter | Stay Informed. Stay Connected.

5. Diablo Valley College

Location: Pleasant Hill, CA

Providing its thousands of students with over 80 associate degree and certificate programs, Diablo Valley College has campuses in Pleasant Hill and San Ramon. DVC is home to a diverse population of learners, including high school graduates, transfer students, and lifelong learners.

DVC provides degree-seekers with a varied list of associate degree options, including music industry studies, computer science, and language studies in Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Career-focused certificate programs cover technical areas like HVAC, plumbing, and steamfitting.

Along with traditional on-campus options, DVC also offers a growing list of 100% online degrees and certificates. Students can complete online associate degrees in areas such as administration of justice, business, and history.

6. Imperial Valley College

Location: Imperial, CA

Imperial Valley College educates over 6,000 students annually, offering about 50 degree and certificate programs. With flexible course offerings, students can complete classes on campus and online through synchronous and asynchronous options.

IVC’s academic programs cover areas including agriculture, business, and STEM. In addition to traditional associate degrees, IVC — located east of San Diego — provides academic opportunities for degree-seekers planning to transfer to a four-year institution. Students also have access to fire, police, and correctional training programs.

Student services at IVC include career guidance, counseling, online and in-person tutoring, and food and housing help during hardships.

7. Santiago Canyon College

Location: Orange, CA

Serving Orange County students since 1985, Santiago Canyon College offers associate degrees and technical certificates in a variety of disciplines. Depending on the focus, SCC designs its two-year associate degree tracks for learners interested in entering the workforce or transferring to a four-year college or university.

Students can earn associate of science and associate of arts degrees in academic disciplines such as economics, art, and astronomy. Career-focused associate degrees include cosmetology and real estate. Students balancing personal and professional obligations can select from a wide variety of online learning options.

SCC also provides learners with nonacademic resources through its health and wellness services, Office of Student Equity and Success, and veterans resource center.

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8. De Anza College

Location: Cupertino, CA

De Anza College is one of the larger community colleges in California, educating over 15,000 students. Learners pursuing an associate degree have access to transfer planning that can help facilitate their admission into out-of-state and California-based colleges and universities.

De Anza offers over 75 associate degrees and over 100 certificates. While most degrees require some on-campus participation, De Anza does offer 100% online associate degree programs in business administration and environmental studies. Additionally, learners can complete certificates in entrepreneurship and network basics entirely online.

Like on-campus learners, remote students have access to several resources, including psychological services, online tutoring, and library services.

9. Pasadena City College

Location: Pasadena, CA

Founded in 1924, Pasadena City College serves over 18,000 students and offers over 140 associate degree programs. The school also oversees about 100 certificate of achievement programs and over 40 noncredit certificate programs. PCC’s 11 academic divisions include business, engineering, and technology; kinesiology, health, and athletics; and math and computer science.

PCC also provides adult learners with an extensive list of free and flexible noncredit courses that do not require prerequisites. Adult education topics include job training, GED preparation, and parent education classes.

Students at PCC can pursue study abroad opportunities. Through both semester-long and short-term programs, students can study in places like Italy, England, and Japan.

10. Hartnell College

Location: Salinas, CA

Located in Salinas, Hartnell College educates over 17,000 students. Founded in 1920, Hartnell is a Hispanic-Serving Institution dedicated to expanding educational opportunities to underserved populations.

Hartnell awards associate degrees and professional certificates. Academic divisions include nursing and health sciences, fine and performing arts, and STEM. Through various online programs, Hartnell offers classes in flexible formats to meet the needs of busy students with personal and professional commitments.

Hartnell also provides extensive resources to help students outside of the classroom. Popular resources include programs for Dreamers, services for veterans, and resources to help with emotional wellness.

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