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How to apply to a UC

Cuesta College South County Transfer Career Center, located in the 3300/3400 building. Photo by Guadalupe Angeles

UC Merced, UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz have extended their deadlines to fill out transfer applications for fall 2020; the new deadline is January 3.

UC transfer requirements:

  • Completion of the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum or the UC minimum transfer admission requirements
  • Completion of the required Major Preparation classes
  • Minimum completion of 60 UC transferable credits, and a minimum 2.4 GPA in UC-transferable courses. Nonresidents minimum requirement is 2.8 GPA 

Keep in mind

Before applying to a UC, make sure to have completed the required units for transfer. To find out the required units, visit the Transfer Career Center located in the 3300/3400 building and/or talk to a counselor. Most universities will require a specific completion of courses depending on the major and maintaining a certain grade point average.

A great tip for keeping track of grades and units taken is creating a UC Transfer Admission Planner. The UC transfer admission planner organizes the classes taken, and it calculates an estimated UC GPA.

The application process 

The application process is a questionnaire to help the university know each applicant better. There is no wrong or right answers. Before starting the application, create an account and have the necessary documents ready: household income, family information, transcripts and test scores.

The application consists of seven major sections: About you, Campuses and Majors, Academic History, Test Scores, Activities and Awards, Scholarships and Programs, and Personal Insight. At the end of the application, each applicant has the chance to review everything before submitting it.

About you

This section includes questions about personal information, contact information, citizenship and residency, demographics, applicant background, household, and parent information. 

Campuses and Majors

This section will inform the applicant about the campus community principles, and will ask the applicant to agree to their policies. The applicant also has to fill out the campus where they want to transfer, and the current level they are at. At the end of the section on the review page, the application will have an estimated cost of attendance for the university the applicant plans on transferring to.

Academic History

In this section, the applicant has to fill out their classes and grades for grades seven to their current grade level. 

Test Scores

This section is similar to the Academic History section, but instead of filling out class grades, the applicant has to submit their ACT, SAT, SAT subjects Test, AP exams, IB exams, TOEFL or IELTS, and international exam scores.

Activities and Awards

This section is where the applicant has to write about any accomplishments such as: activities and awards or honors, educational preparation programs, extracurricular activities, other coursework, volunteering/community service and work experience.

Scholarships and Programs

This section allows the applicant to apply for scholarships and programs, according to the campus previously selected in the application. 

Personal Insight requirements 

For this section, the applicant is required to answer one question (applicants also have the choice to answer three additional questions of the seven choices they have). 

These questions are designed to get the UC to know the applicant better that includes: interests, activities and passions. UC suggests that the applicant use their own voice when answering each question and that the applicant also takes their time to answer each question thoughtfully. 

At the end of the section the applicant has the chance to ask any additional questions, comments or concerns they have; they can write about unclear questions throughout the application or family circumstances.

Review and submit

This is the last section of the application. The applicant has the choice of reviewing all the submitted work. Cuesta College Transfer Center faculty highly suggest that before applying to attend a workshop for help and to talk to a counselor.

What to do after applying 

Check your email often. Update your grades and courses in January. Make sure to send transcripts when they are requested. You will need to submit your Statement of Intent to Register by June 1.


Attend the UC application review workshops, available every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Transfer Center on the SLO Campus. (The workshops are available from October 22 to November 27)

“I recommend that students apply broadly so they have options,” said Kate Porter, Cuesta College Counselor and Transfer/Career Center Coordinator. “Spend time researching universities and try to tour the campus you are interested in applying to. Work with a counselor to start planning your path to UC transfer early. Learn about UC scholarship opportunities – 57% of UC undergraduates pay no tuition. 

“The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers UC systemwide tuition and fees if your family income is less than $80,000 per year, and the Middle-Class Scholarship Program will cover up to 40% of tuition and fees if your family income is less than $177,000,” Porter continued. “Come visit us in the Transfer Center for more information.” 

Use resources in the Student Success Center when needed. The resources include tutoring, Math Lab and Writing Center.

Need help? Questions? 

For any additional help or questions, visit the Transfer Center and/or contact the application helpdesk: ucinfo@applyucsupport.net