Transfer admissions deadlines are fast approaching and City College of San Francisco students applying to California’s public universities next fall could be facing an uphill battle.
Not only are public universities accepting fewer students—most California State University schools did not admit transfer students for spring 2010—but some schools say popular undergraduate programs are not taking as many new students because of tighter budgets, making admission more competitive. San Francisco State University is also requiring higher grade point averages for students from outside the seven Bay Area counties.
So what does that mean for students?
“Anxiety,” said Larry Damato, chair of the Transfer Counseling Department at City College. Students are concerned about how they will pay for tuition increases when they transfer to a four-year college and how they’ll manage to add courses when they’re competing with returning students.
“There’s a lot of negative talks about the cut backs in classes,” Damato said.
The application deadline for the California State University and University of California systems is Nov. 30. Up until this year, some state colleges accepted transfer applicants beyond the deadline.
City College is hosting a series of workshops to help students prepare their admissions application packets, including sessions on how to write a personal statement and apply for financial aid.
More than 40 colleges and universities from across the state held a college fair Thursday at City College. The top three transfer schools for City College students are San Francisco State, UC Berkeley and UC Davis, Damato said.
But just how many transfer students will be admitted remains to be seen.
At San Francisco State—the number one transfer destination for City College students—about 3,300 admissions spots for fall 2010 will be set for transfer students.
While the number is slightly more than the 3,100 fall 2009 spots, the university expects to receive more applications this time around. To fill the number of admissions spots, the school sends out more than 8,000 admissions letters.
“It’s largely due to the fact that we didn’t accept new applications for the spring,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management at San Francisco State.
Since the fall 2010 admission cycle opened nearly three weeks ago, the university has received 3,944 admissions applications, compared to 1,584 this time last year, Volkert said.
Four popular programs at San Francisco State have been added to the list of “impacted” programs, including psychology, journalism and dietetics, bringing the total number of impacted programs to seven. The nursing program at the university is one of the most impacted.
To ensure local student still have access to the university, the school has given priority to students in six nearby counties. They will be admitted under normal standards, while outside students will need a higher grade point average. The six counties are: Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara.
“I’m just hoping they’ll accept me,” said Patricia Santos, a nursing student who lives in San Francisco.
Santos, 38, has been attending City College off-and-on for 10 years.
She has completed the required classes she needs to transfer to a four-year university. She’s counting on her grades, previous experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant and her volunteer work in a soup kitchen and nursing home to make her a strong candidate.
“I guess I just have to hope and pray,” Santos said.
Overall, the California State University System will take 40,000 fewer students over the next two years to make up for the $564 million in budget cuts from Sacramento.
“We’re telling students to apply to three schools,” said Damato. “You can’t assume anything.”
Each admission application to a California State System is $55 a pop. For UC system it’s $60.
Nursing student Cai Zhang, 22, said she’s not taking any chances. Zhang applied to three Cal State Universities to increase her chances of getting into a nursing program.
“I’m afraid there’s a lot of students applying,” she said of San Francisco State University, her top choice.