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Any UC transfers here?

  1. Feb 16, 2013 #1
    I'm interested in hearing from anyone who transferred to a UC from a community college. I'll be transferring as a junior in the fall for physics, and I'm looking for some advice on how to prepare, what to expect, or anything else you'd like to share!

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2013 #2
    I still go to a community college, but I am cross-enrolling at a UC. Honestly, it isn't THAT different except for the fact that you're on the quarter system. The classes seem significantly faster. The course material is harder, but I'm taking an honors math class so that is to be expected. I've audited classes also. If you were a very good student at your community college, then I think you will be fine. You'll just have to get used to 10 week terms (unless you're going to Berkeley).

    The only other difference I noticed is that the tests are harder. They give less time and more difficult questions (again, this is in an honors class). But this should not be any problem if you are a good student, as I mentioned before. The hardest thing for me is being on the semester schedule at my community college while being simultaneously on the quarter system at the UC. It is a big pain in the butt juggling different schedules and attending courses at both campuses.
  4. Feb 16, 2013 #3
    I went from a community college to UCSD. Most people I have spoken to found the university system to be more challenging and faster. I personally didn't find much difference in difficulty (outside of the fact that the coursework is inherently more advanced) but many do.

    What are you planning on taking? I did not realize until well into my time at UCSD that CC did set me back quite a bit and it would of been worth spending a 3rd year there.
  5. Feb 17, 2013 #4
    I agree with Jorriss about taking a third year. That would probably be ideal if manageable... and I've even been taking UC classes while in CC!
  6. Feb 17, 2013 #5
    I actually decided to stay at my CC for an extra year so I can finish all the prereqs and the IGETC. I am hoping to start out in upper division physics and math methods the first semester (some UCs like UCSC and UCLA require me to retake some lower division physics and possibly retake vector calculus).

    dustbin - this is what I expected of the exams; how was it adjusting to this? I'm thinking of possibly retaking a lower division math class (or even start math methods) over the summer to refresh and adjust to the new environment.

    Jorriss - were you able to finish everything you wanted to within two years? And about how many units/courses would you be taking a quarter?
  7. Feb 17, 2013 #6
    No, I was not even close to able to take everything I wanted, but I was able to take a few more classes than required by the degree. I 'wanted' to take enough courses to more than triple major in chem, physics and math and that was obviously not possible given what I came in with.

    My lightest quarter was 3 Upper division courses, my biggest load was 5 courses 2 of which were graduate. If I worked, four courses was in general very manageable. I had some quarters where I took four courses and could slack off tremendously. Other times, an individual class is harder than the others combined - as was the case when I took grad math methods.
  8. Feb 17, 2013 #7


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    I didn't transfer, but I did take classes at a community college before going to UCI (for engineering). The classes definitely go faster, and they tend to be harder. You may not get as much attention from the instructors as you might be used to.

    Keep in mind the junior year is when the courses tend to get much harder. Upper-division courses are where you find out if you're really cut out for the major.

    A normal course load is 16 units a quarter. I liked to take 20 because I wanted to get my money's worth (and that was when it still cost only $500 a quarter in fees). :wink:
  9. Feb 17, 2013 #8
    Oh, I see. I'm not ambitious to the point where I'd like to triple major, but I'd like to take some advanced classes with several upper division prerequisites. :)

    Do you feel that the CC curriculum prepared you well enough?
  10. Feb 17, 2013 #9
    I didn't fail out, so yes, but it was not as encompassing as the UC courses. I would of much rather had taken all my courses at UCSD rather than CC. There were many gaps in my education that resulted from my going to CC that were not filled in until very late.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  11. Feb 17, 2013 #10
    This is probably my main concern at the moment. While I haven't had any difficulty at the CC, I have the suspicion that there is much I missed out on in regard to university-level material. For this reason, I am going over E&M again using Purcell and would like to do the same for other subjects. I am just trying to make the best of my situation. :)
  12. Feb 17, 2013 #11


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    Were these gaps in the math and physics courses? I'd expect the material in these courses to be pretty much the same at a CC or a UC.
  13. Feb 17, 2013 #12
    They were in math & sciences.

    1) Calculus at neither school is entirely proof based (outside the honors sequence at UCSD) but CC calculus had no proofs at all and some methods, such as lagrange multipliers, were not covered at all.

    2) General chemistry in CC covered almost no quantum at all.

    3) Third semester intro physics at CC did not cover quantum at all. It was only optics and thermodynamics. Electromagnetic radiation was not covered in E&M.

    That's what I remember now.
  14. Feb 17, 2013 #13


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    Wow. I'm surprised the UCSD accepted those courses for transfer, especially the physics sequence. Those are pretty big omissions.
  15. Feb 17, 2013 #14
    I agree with Jorriss. When people tell me they have the option of going to a university, but are considering doing their lower divs at a CC I tell them to think again! The coursework is pretty sucky at CC's (unless you get lucky) and applying to transfer is no fun (especially if you chronically overschedule yourself like I do). I got lucky and had a calc 2 instructor at my CC who proved everything, assigned proofs on the homework, and even put some on tests.

    As for the getting used to the tests...
    I do pretty average on the midterms, which have a lot of time pressure and very challenging problems (again, honors sequence courses). However, I scored very high on the final for which we had a decent amount more time per problem. I have improved my midterm scores every time by taking practice exams and working large numbers of problems under time constraints. I've also found it useful to memorize all of the theorems and definitions so they just roll off your tongue! But I tend to freeze up on these time-crunched, high pressure exams so you may not have the same problem (again, my only experiences are in honors courses so I cannot comment on the normal ones). As for the homework, I have only once not gotten a perfect score but that was also an A. The homework is comparatively difficult to the exams proportional to the time given. So like I said, if you're a good student and would consider yourself prepared... you will be fine, I think, but hard work and adaptation will probably be required.

    As for taking the summer courses, I would recommend it! But I heard quarter system summer courses are only 4 weeks long... so it will feel exceptionally fast. Alternatively, if you can find an instructor who will let you audit in such a way that you can hand in homeworks and sit the exams I would highly recommend that! Then you could audit a hard course you will be taking the coming quarter, which would ease your troubles (or intensify your fears I suppose).
  16. Feb 17, 2013 #15
    Also, taking summer classes could allow you to get in more courses over your two year stay. I'm contemplating spending 3 at whatever uni I transfer to.
  17. Feb 17, 2013 #16
    I only took physics I at UCSD, but I was familiar enough with the course content at both to comment. I only took calc I-III, gen chem I,II and Physics I at CC.

    Infact, calc III at CC did not even cover stokke's theorem, divergence theorem or greens theorem, so I had to take a separate course on vector calculus - although that is apparently not that rare.

    In any event, the course catalogs in most classes say the same thing at either school, its just what I received in practice was less rigorous and complete.

    The only exception was my physics I class which did cover everything one sees at a UC + some pretty challenging homework sets.
  18. Feb 17, 2013 #17
    You are making me feel better, Jorriss - I've covered all of those topics you mentioned in my courses, except perhaps rigorous proofs. :p The only proofs I have been required to do on an exam were for linear algebra and occasionally in calculus.

    dustbin - thank you for the insight... That's exactly what I'd like to prepare for! My first choice is Berkeley and their summer sessions range from 6-8 weeks, so I think retaking their lower division differential equations & linear algebra course would give me a good introduction to the school.
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