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What do you do in Community College?

Due to financial situations, I will most likely be going to either Santa Monica, LA, or Pasadena Community College. However, I do not want to waste time and make sure I spend time making sure i can transfer into UCLA during my 3rd year. What should I do to make sure I'm setting up my future? What classes should I be taking? (Majoring in Computer Science) #college #college-bound

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Nancy B.’s Answer

Hi Sean!
Community college is a wonderful opportunity to save money and complete your general education courses. All of the community colleges you listed have different programs that ensure student success and transfer. Joining a student support program can be very beneficial. Many offer priority registration so you get to enroll in classes earlier and you meet with the same counselor once per semester to make sure you are on track. First Year Experience is one program and it is available at both SMC and LACC. Some programs like EOP or PASS at Pasadena, have income eligibility requirements so make sure to do some research.


When you meet with a counselor at the community college where you enroll, let them know your major of interest and university system you plan to attend. They direct you to the specific classes you need to take to transfer to UCLA. You want to make sure that you are meeting regularly with a counselor and taking the required courses to transfer. Don’t forget to ask for help if you run into academic difficulties. All community colleges have Transfer Centers as well as math and writing labs to make sure you do well. Best of luck!

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Elisa’s Answer

Hi Sean,


I myself was a transfer student, and I certainly can relate to your situation. I don't know if UCLA offers any kind of transfer admission agreement program (that's how I got accepted by UC Davis), but I would definitely recommend that you research into that. Followings are some of the things I would do if I knew then what I know now.


Know the game. Nancy is right, please do communicate with counselors and advisors at the community college and UCLA if possible. As a transfer student, you will be dealing with multiple sets of requirements: transfer admission requirement, course articulation agreement between community college and UCLA, undergrad/GE requirement, and graduation requirement, just to name a few off the top of the list. It is quite an overwhelming maze to navigate through.


Different majors/UCLA colleges may have different lists of courses or number of transferable units that you will need to complete in order to be eligible for transfer admission. Counselors and advisors should be able to give you resources on that.


There are differences between community college GE requirements and UCLA GE requirements, so choose your courses carefully. For example, community college might require you to take course A to complete a GE requirement, however, that course might not be transferable to UCLA or transferable but not eligible for satisfying UCLA GE requirement. I recommend that you cross reference both requirements at both schools and course articulation agreement at http://www.assist.org/web-assist/welcome.html. Definitely try taking courses that both school accepts.


Understand UCLA's graduation requirement and maintain an up-to-date quarterly course plan through graduation. Do keep in mind, this requirement might change, and could be very well in your favor. Statics states that on average, college students take about 12 units of courses that they don't need by the time they graduate. That adds up to a lot of money and time. So understanding graduation requirements, course prerequisites, and how they impact the number of quarters needed for you to graduate. This will also let you know what courses you can take at community college to help the situation.


Understand the pros and cons of being a transfer student. Pro, you get to save a lot of money and have more room to repeat courses if you need to bump up your GPA. The down side is that after transfer, you'll be facing more intense quarters at UCLA. By completing the bulk of lower division and GE requirements at community college, you also lose the option of mixing easier courses with more difficult upper division courses. When you get to UCLA, you'll have mostly upper division courses to pack into each quart, and that can be tough.


Keep pace with UCLA students who entered as freshmen. Study the UCLA Computer Science curriculum and understand what you're "missing". In my case, the community college I went to taught C++ for object oriented programming, the school I graduated from taught the same subject using Java, and my coworkers from Cornell said they used Python. If you can find syllabus posted online for those courses, I would say do some self-study so you wouldn't have so much a shock from the "knowledge cap".


This is what I can come up with at the moment. I hope it help. Best of luck, and hope that you would find software development as sublimely fun as I.

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