Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Transferring - Transfer Center


Q. What is the difference between a CSU, UC, and Private School?

A California State University, or CSU, is a university system focusing more on applied majors such as accounting or the arts. Examples of CSU schools include Cal State East Bay, San Jose State, San Diego State, and Chico State.

The UC Berkeley are all examples of UC schools.

Most private colleges such as Stanford University, Notre Dame de Namur, Saint Mary's, and Santa Clara University belong to the Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities (AICCU) association. Many are liberal arts colleges and offer a wide variety of majors, specializing in smaller class sizes and their ability to provide more personalized attention.

Q. What do I need to take in order to be minimally eligible for transfer?

The minimum requirements vary between the different segments of higher education (CSU, UC, and Private).

Students interested in transferring to the CSU system must complete at least 56 transferable units, although many campuses are beginning to give priority to students applying with a minimum of 60 transferable units, with a 2.0 grade point average (GPA). 30 of these units, with a grade of "C" or better, must be selected from general education and include an approved course in written communication, oral communication, critical thinking, and mathematics.

To transfer to the UC system, students must complete at least 60 transferable units with a 2.4 grade point average. It is important to note that selectivity, which varies by applicant pool, will increase the minimum gpa. Course requirements vary from one UC campus to the next; therefore, students should work with a counselor to first select a particular UC campus and then formulate a strategy for completing that campus' admissions requirements, major preparation requirements, and appropriate general education requirements, if necessary.

To make transferring to a private college smooth, it is recommended that students contact the particular institution as soon as possible, obtain a catalog, and work closely with a counselor to plan their course of study. Some private institutions will allow students to transfer with less than 60 units and may accept the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) pattern. Work with your counselor to determine which approach is best for you.

Q. Is there a maximum number of units I can transfer?

As a general rule, the number of units accepted for transfer will be 60 semester units. However, most colleges and universities will accept a maximum of 70 semester units towards the total number of units needed to complete your bachelor's degree. If you have taken more units than that, the content of the courses will be used to satisfy the needed requirements without penalty. If you have attended a baccalaureate institution (4-year) prior to attending Ohlone College, be sure to inform your Counselor and inquire about unit limitations in admission for applicants with combination records.

Q. What is the difference between a quarter and a semester?

Each college/university has an academic year with terms marking the beginning and end of classes. A quarter is one type of term within an academic year. Each quarter is approximately 10 weeks in length, and include fall, winter, spring and summer. A semester is the other type of terms within an academic year, and can last anywhere from 15-18 weeks in duration. Schools functioning on a semester system offer fall and spring semesters, a Summer term(s), and possibly a winter term in the academic year.

In addition, some colleges offer a fourth term during the summer. Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Cal State East Bay, for example, each have a summer quarter. Most other colleges offer summer classes; however, summer is not considered an official term of the academic year and is often run through the continuing education office which may have different fees and unit limitations.

Q. What is the difference between an Associate's Degree and a Bachelor's Degree?

An Associate's Degree (AA/AS) is a "two-year" degree granted by a community college to students who complete a specified program of study, totaling 60 units. A Bachelor's Degree or Baccalaureate (BA/BS) is a "four-year" degree granted upon completion of at least 124 semester units or 180 quarter units. The California State University system, the University of California system, and many private/independent colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees.

Q. Where do I go to get transcripts sent to another college?

You can request transcripts via MyOhlone. Visit Admissions and Records Transcripts for additional information.

Q. What is a major?

A major is a program of study which leads to a degree. It is the primary area of study in which the greatest depth of knowledge will be developed. Although there are a dozen or so popular majors, there are literally hundreds of other, lesser known, majors. By reading university catalogs, you can familiarize yourself with the array of majors offered at each campus and the scope or philosophy of that particular program. For example, a psychology major at one campus might offer concentrations in clinical or psychobiology, but a different campus might offer concentrations in industrial psychology, human development and abnormal psychology. Be sure that the campus you select offers a scope or concentration that is appealing to you.

Q. What is a minor?

A minor is a secondary field of study, not as comprehensive as the major. Most minors require approximately 18-20 semester units.

Q. Do I need to declare a major before I transfer?

Not all colleges require you to declare a major prior to transfer; however, most universities prefer that you have a declared major. Many universities make admissions determinations based upon the number of lower division major preparatory classes a student has completed. Completing your major preparation prior to transfer will mean you are less likely to take additional time to graduate after transfer. This could also save you money. You should always check with a counselor for help in determining which lower division preparation is necessary for submitting a competitive application.

Q. What is an impacted major?

An impacted major is one that is very popular and for which more applications for admission are received during the priority filing period than the campus can accommodate. If you are applying to a major that is impacted, the GPA for admission may be higher and you may have to complete lower division courses for the major prior to transfer. Impacted majors change from year to year, and vary amongst universities/colleges, so check with your counselor for a list of this year's impacted programs.


This is a general education pattern that students can use to fulfill their lower-division general education requirements for a California State University. A total of 48 semester units are needed to complete the CSU General Education-Breadth requirements. Of the 48 units, 39 can be certified by Ohlone College and the remaining 9 units must be completed in upper-division coursework at the CSU campus. While a grade of "D" is acceptable (except in AREA A and MATH), at least 30 units must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. For more information, please see the Ohlone College Catalog for the current year.

Q. What is IGETC?

The IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum) pattern is a general education pattern that community college transfer students can use to fulfill lower-division general education in the CSU system, many colleges in the UC system, or some private colleges, without the need to take additional lower division general education requirements after transfer. The IGETC is not advisable for all students planning to transfer. It is only one way to fulfill the lower division general education requirements of the UC or CSU. Exceptions exist for which IGETC is not appropriate in the UC system. They are: UC Berkeley - several schools and colleges such as business and engineering; UC San Francisco; UC San Diego - Eleanor Roosevelt and Revelle Colleges. For further information, consult your Ohlone College Catalogand discuss with your counselor what option might be best given your specific situation. No grades of "D" are allowed with the IGETC pattern.

Q. What are CSU GE and IGETC certifications?

Students who have completed the CSU general education breadth coursework can request that Ohlone College certify this completion. Of course, students must also complete any additional upper-division general education units specifically required by the CSU campus. Requests for general education certification may be obtained through the Ohlone College Office of Admissions and Records. This should be completed after all general education courses are completed and prior to beginning courses at the transfer institution.

Students who are missing a breadth area requirement may request that Ohlone partially certify the CSU GE BREADTH pattern. Students would then be required to complete the remaining general education requirement at the transfer campus according to its own procedures and rules.

Upon completion of all IGETC courses, and before beginning courses at the university, students must request that an IGETC certification be sent to the university they will be attending. Certification of IGETC ensures that a student has completed the entire pattern with a grade of "C" or better (C- is not acceptable).

Q. How do I qualify for financial aid?

The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete and file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This can be done at The FAFSA will allow you to list up to 6 universities. The next step is to contact the financial aid office of the university you are planning to attend. Many universities have a supplemental financial aid application that is required. Financial aid is determined by calculating the families expected contribution and subtracting that from the college's cost of attendance. The cost of attendance varies from college to college, but your expected family contribution remains the same.

Q. What are the deadlines for financial aid that I need to follow before I transfer?

In order to qualify for the Entitlement CalGrant, you must file your FAFSA before March 2nd. Ohlone College sends the necessary GPA verifications for all students.

Each campus sets its own priority deadlines for financial aid. It is important to contact the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend. Most of the colleges post their deadlines on their financial aid web pages.

Q. Do I have to give my parent's information if I don't live with them?

In most cases you will be required to provide financial information on your parents, as federal law expects parents to contribute to their student's education until the student reaches the age of 24. However, if there are some extreme extenuating circumstances that you think make you an independent student, contact the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend and request a Dependency Override.

Q. Do I have to be a full-time student in order to receive financial aid?

No. For federal student aid, you must be enrolled at least half-time (minimum 6 units). Some colleges offer additional campus-based aid, so, once again, you should check with the Financial Aid Office of the college you plan to attend.

Q. I want to complete my UC / CSU application but the application fees are too much. What can I do?

Fee waivers may be available for most college admissions applicants. Check with the financial Aid Office of the college you plan to attend for instructions on obtaining a fee waiver.