For California Community College Students

<p>I can't find a thread that delves into this topic enough, so here it goes...
Being a community college student and searching rigorously for the right university to transfer to, I'd like to pose a good question that just doesn't get asked enough...or likewise, answered honestly .....For those relying on the community college route in preparing for transfer to competitive universities, do you think you made the right choice? Were the academic resources/advising available at your cc adequate? Were the academics too watered down? Did you feel ill-prepared? Did the structure of the IGETC and courses offered at your cc limit your ability to explore academic passions? -- I would especially appreciate responses from those who can speak to their post-transfer experiences...Thanks a bunch...</p>

<p>To give my advice some credibility, here is my background. I went to a ccc (orange coast college in so cal) and transferred to Northwestern University after two years. I made good choices in my course selection because all of my credits transferred over, which I hear is uncommon, especially at my school.
The best advice I can give you is to finish IGETC regardless whether you want to transfer to a CSU/UC or a private school. Do not take business classes, or anything that is not liberal arts. That means no culinary, architecture, accounting, or anything remotely vocational. Also, decide whether you like math/science or social science/humanities more. If the former, take all the math classes you possibly can. If latter, take a bunch of liberal arts classes in all disciplines to survey and see what you like most. As for difficulty and challenge, if you strive for all As at your CC I guarantee you will be challenged enough. I'm double majoring in economics/mathematics at NU right now and I'm pulling off a good GPA, and I don't study that much (minus exam weeks).
Although I did take advantage of the free services at my cc such as advising, career counseling, and essay reading, I think I gained the most information by browsing this forum and asking questions. If you browse around the transfer forum at least a hour every day and read and participate in every relevant thread, there is a LOT of information to be gained. Also, from looking at stats and seeing who was admitted and who wasn't, you will get a general idea of what the adcoms are looking for. For example, when transferring to a UC, you really just need to worry about your raw stats, course selection, and completion of requirements. For a private, you're going to want to start on your essays very early and go through many drafts and make sure you shine as an individual.
If you want to transfer to UCLA/CAL then just make sure you choose a prospective major early (preferably during your first year at your cc), talk to a advisor, and plan out your two years so that you finish IGETC while completing required major courses. If you do this at a reputable cc (one that's ranked in California) and get a 3.7+, you are most likely in at both schools. If you want to transfer to a private, its a lot more ambiguous. Personally, I took a bunch of honors courses, way above the required amount, got As and had no extracurriculars. I worked on my essays for a very long time, so I'm pretty sure they were relatively good. I know people who got into Columbia University from my cc, and they were either former refuges or returning adult students who had massive amounts of extra curriculars, special circumstances, and very high GPAs.</p>

<p>Good luck, AIM me if you have any questions</p>