I am a California community college transfer student. What are my chances at UC/CSU admissions, and should I apply to out of state schools?
This all depends on your current GPA and/or location is California. Due to the fact that California is in a severe financial crisis, Colleges (especially State schools) have experienced major budget cuts which have cut many programs and laid off several instructors. That being said, many schools can no longer accept all qualified applicants. Local students to CSU's, do not need as high of a GPA as non-local students and can usually be accepted with a 2.4-2.5 depending on choice of major (please note that California UC's do not give first priority to local students and all applicants will be treated the same). Unless the student has taken most or all of their prerequisites at a local area CC, then they must go above and beyond in their major of choice to be admitted to certain colleges. These schools are the CSU's which are fully impacted (i.e. San Jose State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State). If you want to better your chances of being accepted, I would advise becoming involved with extracurricular activities at your local CC (Whether it be student council, joining a social club, honors society, athletic team, theater, ambassador programs, abroad studying, volunteer work, etc.). State schools are much cheaper than the California UC's and therefore more sought after. In addition, the UC's and State schools have a different type of curriculum. The UCs are the research universities in California. That means that they are better funded, support graduate education, and tend to hire more renowned faculty within their fields. They may have professional schools, such as medical or law schools associated with them. On the negative side, you are more likely to have a lot of your teaching done by graduate student TAs, rather than by the professor him/herself. Your degree from a UC would have more prestige, and especially if you are in the physical sciences, you would have better lab facilities and more opportunities to be involved in research earlier in your education. The CSUs are the teaching institutions in the state. You are more likely to be taught by the professor, but the professor won't have the "name" of the ones at UCs. Faculty at CSUs spend more of their time teaching, and less doing research. The system was originally designed for undergraduates only, but in more recent years has offered master's degrees and is now offering a very few, limited, doctorates in education (as far as I know, there aren't any doctorates in other fields at the CSUs). If you're a California resident and your GPA is between a 3.0-3.5, you may TAG into one (and only one) UC of your choice. Once the tag is approved, you'll be guaranteed admission as a transfer student for the fall semester if all requirements are met. As for out of state school transfers, they too are going to require a higher GPA than local applicants. However, if your GPA is competitive in the State of California, it will be competitive anywhere. Just make sure to get all the information that you can obtain from the school and check out their application deadlines, as it may be different from California colleges. Finally, make sure to speak to a counselor at your current CC to advise you on the courses that you should take to pursue the college of your choice. Good luck!