My counselor thinks I should take three years to transfer instead of two

I feel so down. I just had a meeting with my counselor and she thinks my student education plan is too course heavy and I should instead take three years to transfer. I’m currently taking 19 semester units and have all As so far. She’s right that it’s hard and I’m spending all my time on school. Ugh. This is all because the counselors talked me into changing my major in preparation for grad school, but still want me to earn an Associate’s to Transfer in addition to completing my IGETC and required major courses. I feel torn in two different, opposing directions. Does anyone have feedback? I’d love a sounding board.

You will have to be more specific. Usually, there is a set path for transfer from a community college to a public 4 yr college via the transfer agreement, with specific major-related first and second year classes, and a body of classes that fit the gen ed requirements.

I strongly urge you to make an appointment with an academic advisor for your intended major at the institution to which you plan to transfer. The accepting institution knows more than the community college about what you need to have, since they will determine whether or not to accept your transfer, and whether or not to give credit for specific classes taken at the community college

Usually, community college classes are easier than UC classes, so even though a 19 credit course load sounds tough, if you can do it, and you want to move quickly to be done with the AA in 2 yrs, it’s possible. Spending all your time on school is okay, if you can manage it, especially if your family can support you so that you don’t have to work to earn money. Another way to get through more quickly is to attend school year round, instead of taking summers off.

Honestly, I would have wanted to rush through community college as quickly as possible, in order to get to the “real” college experience at the UC more quickly. If you can handle the course load and still get straight A’s, go for it. Just make sure you check with the targeted transfer UC to make sure that you’re taking the right classes to be accepted for transfer with full credit as a junior.

It may help others help you better if you describe your intended major and possible graduate school plans better, along with the course work you have taken or are taking.

Note that the AA-T/AS-T and IGETC tend to be more closely aligned with CSU requirements. IGETC closely approximates CSU general education requirements, but may be more voluminous than the general education requirements at most UCs. However, UCs have more variation in their general education requirements, so covering all of them may require more courses than covering just one (meaning that IGETC may be the most convenient way to try to cover multiple UCs as well as CSUs).

@Gumbymom perhaps you can ask the right questions here. This doesn’t make sense to me.

@ucbalumnus already asked some important questions.

It may help others help you better if you describe your intended major and possible graduate school plans better, along with the course work you have taken or are taking.

Also the information regarding IGETC and AS-T is spot on. Until we know intended major, courses already taken and the grad school plan, it is difficult to give advice. Also target UC’s would be helpful.

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It’s complicated, or at least it seems complicated to me. I was intending to be a communications or media studies major, but since my end goal is to get an MA in Counseling and Guidance or an MS in Counseling with an emphasis in College Counseling I was told I needed to major in psychology or a related major like sociology or social welfare. For community college purposes I was put down as a psychology major pursuing an AA-T through the CSU GE pattern while also pursuing my IGETC completion and the major requirements for social welfare. Switching majors means that three of the classes I’ve taken aren’t needed, but will go towards my 60-70 semester units. I can take the rest of the classes needed if I take 6 units during summer, 15 during the fall, and 15 during spring. But that would mean dropping out of honors, which requires a seminar. I was told I’d be more successful in applying to Berkeley’s social welfare program if I took my major requirements before applying, but that would mean taking Intro to Sociology and General Psychology in the summer, and I was told General Psychology was too hard to take in the summer. I also still have my second English course in critical thinking too take, and I was told that was too hard to take in the summer. So it was advised, instead, that I take the summer off, take 12 units in fall 2023, 12 units in spring 2024, and apply in fall 2024 when I’m taking my final 12 units. At that point I’ll have 66 units completed or in progress, so I can take classes in spring 2025, but I’ll only get subject credit for whatever is above the 70 unit threshhold.

How could those classes be too hard to take in the summer? You write well, so I’m assuming that you have the capability to take those classes in the summer. I don’t consider General Psychology to be a particularly challenging class, same goes for the second English class. The only reason that I could see that someone would tell you that those classes are too hard to take at a community college in the summer is if you had a serious learning disability that made you a very slow learner. I think that you need to get a second opinion on this. Also, if your goal is Berkeley, get an appointment with an advisor at Berkeley so that they can tell you what you need to do to get accepted as a transfer student there. Also, honors at community college doesn’t mean a thing, as long as you get accepted to your target UC. So if you need to drop the honors in order to get done as quickly as possible so as to transfer quickly to the UC, do it.

If you are doing well in 19 units now, would taking that course load and adding the honors seminar somewhere be doable? Or are you increasing outside commitments (work, ECs, etc.) that would make 19 units in future semesters (or 9 units in the summer) too much work?

Summer courses at a semester system school cover material twice as fast as in regular semesters, but you would ordinarily take half as many courses or credit units in the summer (i.e. 6 for minimum full time, 7-8 for typical full time).

I did look up some MA programs in counseling and guidance; they did not specify a specific college major, although it is likely that some social science or social welfare majors may incorporate more adjacent course work and/or relevant field work.

If you are targeting UCB, then shows that the psychology major has more voluminous major preparation requirements than sociology or social welfare. However, other UC and CSU campuses may have more, fewer, or different major preparation requirements.

I contacted three grad school programs- SJSU, East Bay, and SF State. Only SF State has recommended preparation - three out of fours courses: General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology.

The honors seminar is only a 2 unit class, but you do undergraduate research for your foundational course to earn honors credit for that course. I’m doing well so far, but I haven’t started midterms, so it remains to be seen if I can keep up. I am in a club, and I tried to get on a board for student government and was told they’re not taking new members. So I’d like to ramp up to a leadership position in my club and join student government. I don’t know if that would mean my increasing outside commitments would make 17 units too much work next fall and spring. I was also hoping to get a job as a student ambassador on campus next year. But it’s supposed to be very flexible with your school schedule.

I had an appointment with the Berkeley representative for my home college, and he was very encouraging. He said he had a degree in English before going to grad school for college counseling, so if Media Studies was what I wanted, I should go for it.

My counselor at my home college, however, said that this district pay scale takes your undergraduate degree into account, so I could end up making more money if I was a psychology major or in a related major like sociology or social welfare.

The associates to transfer would only include one of the classes I’d need for my major prep if I get into SF State for their MS in Counseling program. I just don’t see the value in getting an associate to transfer.

They also want me to take an ethnic studies course to fulfill a CSU requirement. I don’t see a lot of value in that, either.

You may want to investigate several potential employers to see if their pay scales vary based on bachelor’s major and how much.

What colleges are you targeting besides UCB?

I know it’s bad, but UCB is the only school I’m targeting so far. If I don’t get in, I’ll probably go to San Francisco State or San Jose State.

Since SFSU and SJSU are CSUs, consider course work applicable to your desired major and general education requirements for CSUs as well as UCs.