Coming to Cal Poly involves a lot of transitions. If you are seeking more information or information about something not listed here, please email us or stop by our center.
Cal Poly's Orientation is composed of 3 parts - SLO Days and WOW are require and Open House is optional.
Thursday - Sunday in April
Open House is an annual event in which all newly admitted students are invited to visit Cal Poly’s campus to learn more about the resources and opportunities that are available to them. Open House puts on a special event for transfer students in which visiting transfer students will hear from current transfer students and have the opportunity to ask questions about their experience.
SLO Days are our orientation sessions that happen over the summer. For transfer students, SLO Days is a one-day experience where you spend time on campus with other students in your incoming transfer class to get acquainted, get questions answered and connect with your college academic advisors so you are ready to register for classes!
Week of Welcome - WOW
WOW (Week of Welcome) is the very first week of fall quarter in which students attend workshops, get oriented to the Central Coast, and engage in events that build community. We understand transfer students are often very busy during this time of year, so there are only three required days and the rest of the week we will have optional events you can attend if you choose!
“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
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. Begin researching your program options and review the first three steps for study abroad planning on the Cal Poly Abroad website.
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.
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!
Doing a year abroad is an amazing opportunity and really allows students to immerse themselves in a whole new culture! However, as a transfer student, this might not be the most realistic option depending on your departmental requirements.
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.
Graduate School and Career
You’ve transferred to Cal Poly and are about to graduate, now what? If you are considering applying to graduate school or looking for more information about professional opportunities after graduation, here are some tips on finding which path is right for you:
Career fairs offer an amazing opportunity for networking and professional development.
- 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.
Connect with other Mustangs!
- Cal Poly Career Connections is a database that connects Cal Poly alumni with current students to answer questions about various professions or opportunities that are available to them.
Talk to a Career Counselor when you first get on campus.
- Career Counseling is an important step to take in your journey here at Cal Poly. Starting this conversation early and exploring your options will benefit you when deciding on what path to take after graduation.
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 desire field at other universities.
We encourage you to check out these additional resources as they may also help you with navigating your transitions to and throughout Cal Poly.