Transfer Student Resources
Our Center is here (virtually and in person) to help you navigate personal, academic, and professional success while you are at Cal Poly.
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.
- College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences
- College of Architecture and Environmental Design
- College of Engineering
- College of Liberal Arts
- College of Science and Mathematics
- Orfalea College of Business
Academic & Campus Policies
If you have any questions about these policies reach out to your College Advising center.
- Academic Petition Appeals - looking to appeal a grade, your request to change your major, a course substitution, etc.
- Add / Drop Classes
- Academic Probation
- Change of Major - process varies by college
- Cheating and Plagiarism
- Copyright Infringement and File Sharing - the university's polices and steps taken if a student is suspected of copyright infringement and file sharing
- Credit/No Credit Grading
- "Take advantage of CR/NC if you can!! I had NO idea that was an option. I could have done minor courses, upper div GE, and saved myself some stress. Talk with your college academic advisor to explore this option!" - Lindsay Lacey, Academic Advisor who is a transfer student who graduated from Cal Poly
- eLearning - learn more about the university's online learning policies
- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) - how your personal and academic information is protected by the university
- General Education (GE) at Cal Poly
- Grade Forgiveness - if you repeat a course in which you earned a grade lower than a C
- Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
- Intellectual Property - rights to, interest in, and protection and transfer of intellectual property created by University faculty, staff and students
- Leave of Absence
- Policies on the Rights of Individuals - the rights of all individuals, including those who hold underrepresented identities and those who have experienced harassment or misconduct.
- Prerequisite of a C- - if you are wanting to advance to the next course in a sequence - varies by department
- Repeating Courses
- Senior Projects
- Student Academic Rights and Responsibilities
- USCP Requirement
- Use and Release of Student Information
- Withdrawal Information
For more academic and university policies, please visit the Academic Policies webpageLinks to an external site. for more detailed information and other policies.
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.
- Academic Advising
- All transfers get their academic advising through their college academic advising center - find your college's advising information.
- Academic Probation Support
- Academic Skills Center
- Assist/Transfer Credits
- College Librarians
- "College librarians/specialists are a thing and they are awesome! Each college has a college librarian that is there to help students learn how to utilize library resources, help to guide research, and answer a TON of other questions. When I came into Cal Poly, and entered into my upper div major courses, I felt really behind on research, like everyone else knew how to find amazing, peer-reviewed, credible info, while I was relying heavily on Google. I didn't know how to access and effectively utilize the resources that Cal Poly has. It wasn't until grad school that I met with a College Librarian (during a class presentation) and was blown away by the wealth of knowledge they had to share. They can help you get started on research, help you use data bases, navigate course reserves and journals, and even help with citations." - CP Transfer Graduate
- CSU Fully Online
- Navigating your Cal Poly Portal
- How to use Degree Planner
- How to use Schedule Builder
- Understanding your portal homepage
- Report a Bias Incident
- If you experience bias in the classroom or with a college affiliated activity you are also encouraged to reach out to your college -
- The Transfer Center is here to support you in connecting with your colleges Associate Dean, filling out the bias report form, and connecting you to support resources. Please do not hesitate to reach out or stop by.
- For any bias incident you experience on campus you can also reach out directly to the Dean of Students for support.
- Statement on Diversity and Inclusivity - learn about the university's stance on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Tutoring offered by the Writing and Learning Center - free tutors for most classes!
- University Library
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
Career and Grad School
- 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!" - Current Cal Poly 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.
- Career Connections - Network with Cal Poly Alumni!
Continue your education!
- 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.
Financial Support and Student Employment
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.
Food Pantry - one stop shop on campus to get a weeks worth of groceries no questions asked. ALL students are welcome!
Meal Vouchers - for eligible students, get up to $200 in on campus dining credits
Professional Clothing Closet - free business/interview clothing for students to keep.
Student Employment opportunities
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
As a transfer student you are on a fast track to graduation.
To make your transition to Cal Poly easier, here are some steps to take to ensure you are on the right track to graduation:
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
For students choosing to live on campus, Cal Poly offers two types of housing arrangements. Both housing options are apartment-style dorms and have limited availability, so make sure to apply early!
"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." - Current Transfer Student
You can find more information regarding on-campus housing by visiting their Transfer and Graduate Student Housing website. Do not hesitate to contact them if you have any questions about living on campus.
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!
Non-traditional Student Support and Resources
No two students are the same. Every student has their own unique journey and their needs differ depending on their experiences.
Resources for students of non-traditional backgrounds:
- Commuting to Campus
- "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
- "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
- First Generation Students
- Students with Dependents and Student Who Are Parents
- A Guide to Help You Thrive at Cal Poly
- Watch this short video about a transfer student with dependents experience
- Email email@example.com with questions, concerns, or for support
- Students with Disabilities
- Undocumented Students
- Veteran Affairs Educational Benefits
Affinity spaces for students:
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.
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
Strategies for Success
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.
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.
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 & 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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Check out some resources we've created and other Cal Poly websites that outline support for learning virtually.
- Recommendations for Students in a Virtual Learning Environment
- Virtual Learning Success - from the Mustang Success Center
- Time Management - tips for managing your time in a virtual learning environment
- Virtual Learning - updates and campus wide resources (part of the campus COVID-19 website)
- Intro to Zoom - how to use it, and different features you may find useful
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!
Meet with Our Transfer Academic Coaches
Come connect 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.
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.