Some Sacramento State transfer students forced to take additional classes

Kayla Nick-Kearney

With more than 4,300 transfer students admitted this fall, many will find themselves enrolled in classes they believed they did not need before coming to Sacramento State.

Students transfer from community colleges after having completed 60 transferable units, and between 37 and 42 must meet general education standards.

While students trust their adviser to confirm they have met all the transfer requirements, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Sheree Meyer said there is room for error between universities and community colleges, despite best efforts to ensure accuracy.

“A lot rests on advising at the community college where there are thousands and thousands of students, where they have to advise for CSU and UC systems,” Meyer said.

Students can also use tools such as and online concurrent enrollment, a new system allowing students to enroll in online courses in other California State Universities to satisfy general education requirements.

While these systems make transfer requirements simpler to understand, Meyer said advisers at Sac State still face challenges.

“Our numbering system for our sub areas was not numbered the same as the CSU,” Meyer said. “The new [general education changes] that starts in fall 2014 will have the same numbering system. They will line up nicely.”

English major Louis Osofsky, 64, transferred from Feather River Community College five semesters ago, after spending five semesters earning units there.

“The adviser let me know at my graduation that it was clear that my courses would be transferable to the California State system,” Osofsky said. “The matrix she had said that I had satisfied everything lower division-wise.”

But at Sac State, Osofsky had to petition to change catalog requirements, under his adviser’s counsel.

Sac State students who do not have time to see a counselor can use the online advising available on the academic advising website.

Stephen Freeman, 33, completed an associate’s degree in network management but had to petition to make the courses count towards his transfer to Sac State.

“There was one moment I didn’t meet with my regular counselor and got into classes I didn’t need,” Freeman said. “We had to work the system so I took classes that we made count but I didn’t even need them. That whole situation put my heart in my throat because I thought I’d be there another year.”

Adrienne Duarte, chair of student services and transfer counselor at the College of the Sequoias, said she believes the difference between prerequisite lower division courses attached to a specific minor and lower division general education is unclear.

“[College of the Sequoias] in particular does a good job of certifying everyone so they might be confused, thinking that their upper division GE is done,” Duarte said.

Sac State transfer students know from experience the writing intensive course and race and ethnicities requirements may only be fulfilled using courses taken at Sac State.

“Lower division major preparation may not be certified because we do not offer it,” Duarte said. “That is a major issue with our graphic design program, because we don’t have classes. We don’t always offer the courses that the majors require, therefore they have to do them when they get over there.”

Attending a university not associated with a student’s community college district may also make transferring units difficult.

Associate degrees for transfer programs, a new option at some community colleges are meant to help alleviate undergraduate confusion, Duarte said.

“Basically what the students do at our level is if they complete these, it guarantees at your [Sac State] level, they are given priority admission with a CSU and promised they only have 60 more units to go,” Duarte said.

Beginning fall 2013, transferable courses can count for both general education and major general education, according to the Sac State Graduation Program Requirement website.

Meyer said no longer limiting the overlap of units counting for both general education and major courses will assist some students to meet both requirements.

“For most students there is a kind of built in limit but by policy there is no limit,” Meyer said.

Students must keep track of their classes, Freeman said.

“It’s important these kids coming in and wanting to transfer are organized,” Freeman said. “The counselors are there to guide you into the classes you need. But for anyone going in there disorganized, forget it.”