Transfer Student Resources

Trio Students Talking at Social event Cal Poly student in cap and gown with son Student Studying  transfer staff helping a student

Our Center is here (virtually and in person) to help you navigate personal, academic, and professional success while you are at Cal Poly.

Academic Resources 

Academic Advising

Colleges provide academic advising for Transfer Students.
Learn about where your college advising center is and how to connect with them!

For general transfer academic advising questions check out the transfer advising website.

“My advisors really wanted to help me succeed!” - Recent CP Transfer Graduate

Click on your college for information regarding different majors, suggested classes for your first fall quarter, and resources and support available for transfers within their college.

Learn about the change of major process and explore degree flowcharts (some colleges have transfer specific flowcharts on the websites linked above).

Academic and Campus Policies

If you have any questions about these policies reach out to your College Advising center.

For more academic and university policies, please visit the Academic Policies webpage Links to an external site. for more detailed information and other policies.

Academic Support

There are many resources, offices, and people here to support your academic experience at Cal Poly. Click on the links in the table below to explore these resources.

Your professors are also a resource. Going to office hours, talking to professors after class, or emailing them are three great ways to get academic support for a class you are in.

  • "Talk to your professors. Tell them you're a transfer student. Tell them you're working two jobs. Tell them you've got family you're supporting, that you're commuting, that you only have access to one computer at home that you share with other people, that you have no idea what you're doing yet at Cal Poly because you just got here and already feel a little lost. Whatever. Tell your professors when you've fallen behind, when something happens that is affecting your academics. A lot of professors will work with you. I took an Incomplete in a course- which I felt like was an F. It wasn't-- it allowed me to take additional time to complete my coursework and get the grade I deserved. Along those same lines... understand grading at Cal Poly. It's different at every school." - Lindsay Lacey, Academic Advisor who is a transfer student who graduated from Cal Poly

How to Use Your Cal Poly Portal

The Cal Poly Portal is where you find everything from class registration and financial aid, to approving your timesheet if you work on campus. Please note, the Transfer Center does not have access to view your portal. If you have questions about your portal before the first day of school you should work with the Admissions office

Library Services & Resources

Cal Poly's Robert Kennedy Library is located in Bldg 35 next to one of the SLO city bus stops! 

"Tech rentals are a life saver (again, commuter student). Forgot your laptop charger? Need a camera/tablet/laptop? They're free to borrow for students and usually available same day." - Lindsay Lacey, Academic Advisor who is a transfer student who graduated from Cal Poly

Information Technology Services Service Desk: 

  • Cal Poly’s Information Technology Services (ITS) Service Desk offers a wide range of technological services and resources for students. Service Desk staff are available to assist with account passwords, PolyCard, connecting devices to Wi-Fi and other campus technology needs. 

  • If you are in search of services or tech help, the ITS services desk offers assistance through phone, email, online requests and walk-ins from their location in the Hub24 Computer Lab in Kennedy Library.  

Library Computers: 

  • Kennedy Library has over 300 computers available to students. Many of these computers include a rich set of software programs. You can view the list of installed software here

  • Most of the computers are in their six labs on the first and second floors. Students can access the schedules for certain computer labs here.  

Study Spaces: 

  • Apart from the many study spaces available inside the library, students can reserve a variety of study rooms within the library.  

  • Students can reserve those spaces here

Research Help Desk and Reference Resources: 

  • Kennedy Library has a research help desk dedicated to assisting students with anything regarding research. Students can get in-person help from Library Research Assistants (LibRATs) on the second floor of the library.  

  • When the in-person desk is closed, Kennedy Library continues to offer 24/7 support through their 24/7 Live Chat Help.  

Course Reserves: 

  • Did you know that your course textbook may be available at the library as a course reserve? Course reserves are textbooks/items that your instructor has made available for you to use through Kennedy Library.  

  • You can find a listing of physical and electronic course reserves offered here.  

Writing and Learning Center: 

  • The Writing and Learning Center offers one-to-one or small group tutoring sessions for over 250 courses and subjects across all six colleges.  

  • Tutoring appointments can be held virtually and in-person. In-person appointments are held in room 111C (First Floor) of Kennedy Library.  

For many transfer students, the quarter system is a new concept and can be intimidating for how fast paced and rigorous it may seem. Don’t worry! We are here to help.

What is the quarter system?

  • Cal Poly's academic calendar consists of four quarters - Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring (for specific dates, see Academic Calendar).
  • Cal Poly's academic year consists of Fall, Winter and Spring quarters.
  • The university year includes, and begins with, Summer Quarter.
  • Each course offered by the University carries a value in quarter units, often referred to simply as units or credits.
Unit Conversions

Converting Units

To convert semester units to quarter units, multiply the number of semester units by 1.5.

To convert quarter units to semester units, multiply the number of quarter units by .667.


How to be successful on the quarter system?

“Do not procrastinate! The quarter system is a lot faster and it completely hinders you if you fall behind.” - Recent CP Transfer Graduate

Advice for transfers about their transition to Cal Poly.

“Connect with your teachers, don't be afraid to ask questions and above all else, office hours are your friend.” - Current CP Transfer Student

Sign up to meet with a Transfer Academic Coach ›

Strategies for Success

Virtual Learning

Check out some resources we've created and other Cal Poly websites that outline support for learning virtually.



Getting Involved on Campus

“Get involved and challenge yourself to make Cal Poly your new home. It is hard at the beginning to figure out where everything is because it takes time. But make the effort early on so you can feel more at home.” — Current CP transfer student


Check out these affinity spaces to find other students and staff with similar identities to yourself!

  • Black Academic Excellence Center - for Black and African American students to gain resources, community and support. 
  • Center for Military Connected Students - for veterans or students who have family in the military to gain support and resources. 
  • Disability Resource Center - for students with physical and non-physical disabilities to acquire support and community. 
  • Dream Center - for undocumented or DACAmented students to seek support and gain community. 
  • Gender Equity Center - for students of all marginalized genders, inclusive of all those who are womxn, feminine-of-center, trans, and nonbinary.
  • International Center - for international student advising and a space to meet other international students. 
  • Men and Masculinities - for students to express ideas and expressions of masculinities through programming and community. 
  • Multicultural Center - for students of historically underrepresented groups to build community and express their multicultural identities. 
  • Native & Indigenous Cultural Center - for students to (re)connect to the traditions and cultures of Native American and Indigenous peoples
  • Pride Center - for students of all gender identities, sexualities and expressions. 
  • SAFER - for students who are interested in, or identify with, the response to and prevention of gender- and power-based violence.

Career, Leadership & Service

Interested in building your resume or gaining new skills? Check out these departments and resources!

  • Associated Students Incorporated - ASI is home to Cal Poly's Student Government which offers great leadership opportunities.
  • Career Services - Meet with a Career Counselor, get resume feedback, practice interviewing and attend the annual Career Fair to get a head start on job searching!
  • Center for Leadership - Earn a leadership certificate and participate in campus-wide leadership opportunities to boost your skills and resume.
  • Center for Service in Action - Participate in community service within the SLO community and beyond!
  • Inter Housing Council - Expand your skills and experience by getting involved in Residential Student Government.  
  • New Student and Transition Programs - Give back and enhance the Orientation experience by providing your insight and knowledge with newly admitted students. 
  • Peer Health Educators - Help educate our campus community by providing workshops on physical, mental and sexual health. 

Student Clubs & Organizations

Here are some additional spaces to find your community and gain skills and experience that will support your journey at Cal Poly and beyond!

Supports & Services 

"Cal Poly has so much to offer and being a transfer sometimes you don't know about everything that is offered, so don't be afraid to reach out, learn about, and utilize resources." - CP Transfer Alum who was on Transfer Student Advisory Council and an Association of Transfer Students board member

Basic Needs

Transitioning into a new environment can also add financial stress. If you are facing a financial challenge, know that you are not alone and we are here to help. Below are some resources that could benefit you in your transition to Cal Poly.

Basic Needs Support

Budgeting Resource

Cal Poly Cares Grant

Food Resources and Support

  • Meal Vouchers - for eligible students, get up to $200 in on campus dining credits 
  • Food Pantry - one stop shop on campus to get a weeks worth of groceries no questions asked. ALL students are welcome!
  • Hunger Program

Professional Clothing Closet - free business/interview clothing for students to keep.

Textbook Match

Financial Aid & Support and Student Employment

Financial Aid

Financial Aid - Please note, the Transfer Center does not have access to your aid package. All Financial Aid questions should be directed to their office. 

  • Types of Aid - Each students' circumstances are different, make sure you understand what type of aid you qualify for.
  • Cal Poly has $50,000 in several different transfer-specific annual scholarships. Students do not apply for individual scholarships, they submit one scholarship application and the software system we have pulls their information into all scholarships for which students meet specific criteria. Make sure you fill out the general scholarship application in your portal so you can be considered for transfer specific scholarships!
  • Outside Scholarships are not awarded by the government or Cal Poly and are funded through a private sector company, philanthropist or foundation. Many Cal Poly students receive outside scholarships. Learn more about outside scholarships.

Tuition and Fees

Student Employment opportunities

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

A program subsidized by the federal government that provides part-time job opportunities for students who have need-based financial aid eligibility.


Powered by Handshake, MustangJOBS is Cal Poly's online job listing service. Over 25,000 on-campus, local part-time jobs, internships, and career positions are made available annually!

The majority of student serving and affinity spaces above also offer student employment options so be sure to look for them on MustangJobs or stop by their spaces to learn about opportunities for employment as some of them may not post the job on Handshake.
Many Cal Poly students also get jobs within SLO county at grocery stores, restuarants, shops, and more.

Graduation and Commencement

Cal Poly graduate crossing graduation stage carrying her sonAs a transfer student you are on a fast track to graduation.

Learn more about commencement ceremonies!

To make your transition to Cal Poly easier, here are some steps to take to ensure you are on the right track to graduation:


Graduation terms are posted by the Registrar’s Office once a student’s Actual Academic Progress reaches 72%. The student’s graduation term will be posted according to the following formula:

  • Quarter you started Cal Poly + 2 years OR current quarter plus 3 quarters, whichever is longer
  • Transfer students in 5-year programs will have graduation terms posed as: quarter you started Cal Poly + 3 years.
  • If you should need to change your graduation term, you can request a form to change to an earlier graduation term or extend your graduation.

Step 1:

Check the Cal Poly Office of the Registrar Website for the current quarterly calendars and the other resources such as the schedule of classes, course descriptions, and FAQ.

  • Transfer students will be given an expected graduation term that is three years after their initial admit term, or one year away, whichever is greater.

Step 2:

Sit down with your departmental advisor every quarter to make sure you are on track for graduation.

  • It is even more important to sit down with an academic advisor if you are in your last year at Cal Poly – you should do this early, preferably the first quarter of your last year. For more information on academic advising options, click here.

Step 3:

Keep track of your academic progress throughout the year by referencing your Degree Progress Report (DPR) through your Poly Profile.

  • The DPR outlines all the units you have fulfilled so far (including units transferred, CSU units finished, and major/minor units) and details what units you still need to fulfill before graduation.
  • The Registrar’s website also offers each quarterly calendar for all important dates and timelines (e.g. final exam schedules) so that you can stay up to date on all the important deadlines and events.

Housing and Transportation

On-Campus Housing

On Campus Housing - limited options and beds available for transfers. 

"I would definitely recommend living on campus for your first year. It is a little more difficult finding community as a transfer student, so the people you live with are opportunities to make really great friends. Cal Poly does a great job in having you room with fellow transfers." - Sage Hurt, Business Major concentrating in finance transfer student

Dining programs - for on- and off-campus students

Off-Campus Housing

For students looking to live off campus, we recommend visiting Housing's Off-Campus Housing website for detailed information on various resources and steps you can take to secure housing off campus. This webpage includes low-income housing options, too!

“Loved living off campus! It helped me to be a member of the SLO community and not just Cal Poly. Loved being off campus but still within walking distance.” - Recent CP Transfer Graduate

You might also consider checking out listings on Zillow or Craigslist or joining the Cal Poly (CP) Housing, Sublets and Roommates Facebook page. You will need a valid Cal Poly email to join as it is a secure page. Many listings are posted throughout the school year and annual contracts become available every summer!

Commuting & Parking Information

"As a commuter student, it was really important for me to find study spots  where I could spend those 2-3 hours (or more) in between my classes to study and do work, because driving 30 minutes home between classes wasn't really an option. I found that I do well outside with relative seclusion- I highly recommend the Cal Poly Arboretum. It's a bit of a walk, but it's so worth it. I also enjoyed the benches down in between the ARCH building (bldg. 5) and the Cotchett Education building (bldg. 2)." - CP Transfer Graduate

  • Commuting options - Your Cal Poly ID allows you to ride the SLO City bus for free.
  • Parking - general information for commuter and non-commuter students
  • Transportation guide - learn about various resources to help you get around SLO



Identity Centers and Resources

No two students are the same. Every student has their own unique journey and their needs differ depending on their experiences. Students are encouraged to explore the Cultural Resources available to all Cal Poly students. 

Resources for students of non-traditional backgrounds:

    Affinity spaces for students:

    Additional Opportunities 

    Career and Grad School

    Cal Poly Career Services

    • Set up an appointment with a career counselor
      • Each college has specific career counselors who provide more specific support based on your area of study.
    • Explore some of Career Service's resources:
      • Career Connections - Network with Cal Poly Alumni!
        • "I signed up to have a career mentor through Career Connections and my career coach is amazing and so helpful!" - Kat Ribovich, Business Administration transfer student
      • Cal Poly’s annual Career Fair and Events offers students with the opportunity to meet face to face with employers, learn about potential jobs and internships, and be considered for same-day or next day interviews.
      • Clothing Closet
      • Resource Toolkit - Gain tools for various aspects of job searching.

    Continue your education!

    • Interested in becoming a teacher? Check out this great website that outlines the transfer student teacher pathway!
    • Cal Poly offers many different graduate programs which you can find on the Cal Poly Graduate Education website. If you are interested in programs outside of Cal Poly, talk with your department to ask about potential opportunities within your desired field at other universities.

    Post Graduation Service Opportunities

    Checkout the Americorps Program, the domestic PeaceCorps that provides a huge array of services to those in need, as an option to consider for after graduation.

    Internships and Job Searching

    Looking for internship opportunities? Check out the various links to spark some ideas on your internship search

    Where to look:

    Need to spice up your resume and prepare for the dreaded interview questions, well do not fret because career services is here to help. Check out this RESOURCE TOOLKIT containing:

    • Resume templates specific to your major
    • Mock interviews/ Interview tips
    • Fellowships
    • And much much more!

    Couldn't secure an internship? There are other ways to ensure you continue to better yourself! There are a ton of free online courses available online. Here are just a few:

    Volunteer Opportunities can also be a fantastic way to home in on those leadership skills:
    Center for Service in Action - The Center for Service in Action Leadership Team (CSALT) provides the opportunity for students to act as vital members of the community, share their resources with others and develop skills and leadership abilities while creating meaningful social change.


    Many transfer students feel as though getting involved with research and building relationships with faculty can be hard to do with such little time at Cal Poly. Here are some tips on how to get started in the world of research.

    Do your research before you research.

    • Prior to getting accepted or during your first quarter at Cal Poly, look up faculty and decide which ones best fit with your personal and professional interests.

    Plan ahead and stay organized.

    • Visit a department or meet with a faculty member when you first get to Cal Poly. By being proactive and talking with a faculty member, you have more time to explore your options and get involved in various research projects.
    • Check out Kennedy Library's research guides website for detailed information on research resources available to all Cal Poly students.

    For more detailed information about research opportunities

    • Consider being a part of BEACoN research projects
      • The Office of University Diversity & Inclusion is excited to have a research component. BEACoN exists to educate and empower underrepresented students and advocate for them as they aspire to successfully complete their Cal Poly education.
      • Research projects will last winter and spring quarters. During the 2019 - 2020 academic year students were selected and received $1,500 per quarter for 100 hours of work.
    • Check out Cal Poly’s Research Databases website
      • This website walks you through the process of finding research opportunities and outlines the different types of research that is available to students. You might also check out Cal Poly’s Faculty Research Interests website to identify which faculty in your department are working on research that would interest you.

    Study Abroad

    Cal Poly has many study abroad programs and some colleges have college or major specific study abroad opportunities too. Transfer students often feel as though studying abroad is impossible, especially considering the short of amount of time they have at Cal Poly. We want to dismantle that assumption by providing you with some tips and information on various ways you can work study abroad into your academic plan.

    Cal Poly's Study Abroad office has resources and information for BIPOC students, LGBTQIA+ students, First Gen students, DACA students, and students with disabilities.

    Planning ahead is highly encouraged, especially for transfer students. Remember that Cal Poly requires 28 of your last 40 units before graduation to be in residency (meaning at Cal Poly). Keep this in mind as you plan your study abroad experience.

    Begin researching your program options and review the first three steps for study abroad planning on the Cal Poly Abroad website. All Cal Poly students who plan to study abroad are required to attend a Study Abroad 101 Workshop!

    Domestic, International and Virtual Program Options: 

    There are over 500 Cal Poly approved study abroad programs in 75 countries. Explore the wide range of options available to students.

    The National Student Exchange (NSE) has domestic programs. NSE maintains a list of DACA friendly schools - reach out to a Cal Poly study abroad staff member to learn about which schools are on this list.

    There are even virtual study abroad options for students! Check out ways to get a unique experience while staying in SLO or wherever you are living.

    Time of year is important:

    leafFall Programs

    Most fall programs align perfectly with the Cal Poly quarter system, so studying abroad in the fall is usually a very popular time for all students to study abroad.

    snowflakeWinter Programs

    Winter quarter programs are very popular with quarter system schools. Though because many schools are on the semester system, winter programs often have more limited options.

    flowerSpring Programs

    Many spring programs are on the semester system, meaning you will be gone both winter and spring quarter from Cal Poly. However, there are also spring quarter options which can work into your schedule quite well.

    sunSummer Programs

    This is a great time to study abroad, and often the most popular time for transfer students as summer programs are shorter, less expensive and often have more options to choose from!

    Type of program is important:

    bookAcademic Program

    For those looking for academic credit, these are the best types of programs to choose from. You can take courses for your major and minor, fulfill GE requirements, or simply enroll in fun courses to meet your graduation unit requirements.

    search Research Program

    For those looking to get involved in research, especially students in STEM related majors, this can be a great opportunity! Many research programs offer academic credit, so you can still stay on track to& graduate.

    briefcaseInternship Program

    For those looking for professional development, these programs offer a wide variety of experience and skills. Internship programs are typically unpaid, but students will receive academic credit, therefore allowing them to progress toward graduation.


    Keep in mind this is general information about studying abroad while at Cal Poly. For more detailed information, please visit the International Center website.

    Joining Cal Poly 

    Admitted Student Information

    Congratulations on being accepted to Cal Poly!

    We are excited to have you joining our Mustang community.

    Make sure you are completing your check-lists and staying up to date with next steps. Check out the accepted transfer students on the Cal Poly Admissions website but you will need to manage everything through your My Cal Poly Portal (the site you log into with your Cal Poly email to access financial aid, classes, etc.)

    Cal Poly Admissions will refer to you as new transfers, messaging you may read for first year students is directed towards first time first year in college students. 

    Confused about being conditionally admitted? The Admissions Terms and Agreement for Transfer Students overviews what you need to do to be set to come to Cal Poly in the fall (like passing your spring classes, submitting your official transcripts and more). Watch admissions helpful YouTube video on this topic -

    Cal Poly's Orientation is composed of 3 parts - SLO Days (August) and WOW (September) are require and Open House (Thursday - Sunday in April) is optional. 

    Learn more about transfer SLO Days ›

    Learn more about registering for classes›

    “WOW is an amazing experience, it opens up networking opportunities and builds lasting friendships, with people you might not meet otherwise.” - Current CP Transfer Student

    Learn more about WOW ›

    For international transfer students make sure to check out the International Center's orientation options and their great website that provides support for transitioning into Cal Poly as a new International Student

    Registering for Fall Classes - Check out the full registration timeline and steps to registration!

    • Submit your final transcript no later than July 15th
      • You will need to submit final transcript(s) from all colleges/universities you have attended.
        • Some students may need to submit other documents and will be notified accordingly. Any official AP or IB exams transfer students wish to receive college credit for should also be submitted by this date.
      • Transfer credit processing (matriculation) will take some time, but you'll be notified when your credits have been evaluated - this process will be complete sometime in August before SLO Days. Learn more about transfer credit from the Office of the Registrar.
        • If courses you thought would matriculate do not, you will be able to work with an advisor to evaluate if you should fill out a course substitution form for additional review and possible credit at that time.
    • Cal Poly is unable to provide advising, consultation on courses to take, or discussion about course articulation for students until AFTER they have committed, submitted their final transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended, and been matriculated by the Office for the Registrar.
    • Incoming transfer registration happens AFTER transfer SLO Days. Transfers register for their own classes (this is unlike freshman who get a block schedule). Seats are held in classes for transfer students.

    Interested in joining Cal Poly Honors? Take time to learn about the honors program and if it is something you are interested in email - - and share with them why you think you would be a good fit for honors.


    If you are seeking support, do not see a resource listed, or want more information - email us or stop by our office and we are happy to help!

    gold circle with a star outline inside of itMeet with Our Transfer Academic Coaches

    Comeconnect with a current transfer student who wants to support transfer students to be academically and personally successful. Meetings are free! Schedule an appointment with one of our academic coaches today.

    Heather Domonoske

    Meet with Our Coordinator

    Heather Domonoske (she/her) is available to meet with students to discuss their Cal Poly experience, listen, connect them to resources, and more. Schedule an appointment with Heather.

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