Monday, August 12, 2013

Post-workshop Q&A, August 12, 2013

          Thanks to all of the great students who attended today’s academic workshop after the immigration check-in session. Below are some questions you had and my answers.

Q. Can I use a Math assessment result to clear a Math prerequisite for any course?
A. Yes, appropriate assessment scores will clear Math prerequisites for any class, not just a Math class. Read course descriptions very carefully, and you will see they often say “…or equivalent.” That means an appropriate assessment score can be used in lieu of a Math class. Your assessment scores are uploaded to the student information system, so the system will recognize that you are qualified for any class that has a Math or English prerequisite when you attempt to enroll in it. If you do not qualify, the system will block you from enrolling.

Q. How do I know which classes to take for my major? What if DVC does not offer a class I need for my major?
A. Use to know which DVC classes to take for any major in the CSU or UC system. If you want to transfer to a private or out-of-state university, you will have to speak to a representative with that university to know which DVC classes you should take. The Assist website does not include private and out-of-state universities, and DVC counselors are unable to tell you how DVC classes transfer to private and out-of-state universities. If you need a class that DVC does not offer, you can apply anyway. CSUs and UCs understand that not all community colleges offer all the same classes they do. Just take as many as you can in order to strengthen your transfer application.

Q. Can I transfer to a private or out-of-state university? Can I transfer to Stanford? Can I re-apply if I fail to get admitted the first time?
A. Many DVC international students transfer to private and out-of-state universities each year. However, it is not possible for students to know EXACTLY how their DVC units will transfer to such universities in the same way that they can know how DVC units transfer to CSUs and UCs. My advice is for students to follow the requirements for a similar UC program (for example, if you want to transfer to the University of Texas in Austin and major in Business Administration, follow the requirements for UC Berkeley’s Business major). Most majors at most universities have similar course requirements.
          Regarding Stanford, you need to realize that Stanford accepts only about 40 transfer students per year from thousands of transfer applicants, so the likelihood of being accepted at Stanford is EXTREMELY low. You should always have a Plan B if Stanford is your goal. DVC does not have an academic relationship with Stanford, so DVC counselors are unable to help you create a clear plan for transfer with that goal in mind.
          In most cases, an SAT score is not required for transfer to a university. Some exceptions may exist, though, so always look at the school’s website for details about transfer admission requirements.
          In many cases, it might be possible to transfer to a private or out-of-state university in less than two years. In the case of CSU or UC transfer, in most cases it takes AT LEAST two years, sometimes longer, to complete transfer admission requirements at DVC.
          If you fail to get admitted the first time, you may apply again, but you will have to wait one year until the next admission cycle. My advice is that if you do not get into your “dream” school, settle for your second or third choice school, finish your bachelor’s degree as soon as you can, then apply to your “dream” school for a master’s degree.
          For more information on applying to the CSU system, visit, and for information on applying to the UC system, go to

Q. What does “lower division” and “upper division” mean?
A. Lower division refers to anything at the freshman (1st year) and sophomore (2nd year) level. DVC, being a community college, only teaches lower-division courses, or those courses typically taken in the 1st and 2nd years of university. The CSUs and UCs apply a maximum of 70 lower-division units toward a bachelor’s degree. Upper division refers to anything at the junior (3rd year) and senior (4th year) level. Upper division courses are typically taken by juniors and seniors at a university. They are more advanced than lower division courses. DVC does not offer upper division courses. You will take all of those after you transfer.
          You must have a minimum of 60 transferable units to be considered a junior when you transfer. Most students will have no difficulty in accruing enough units while at DVC because of meeting admissions and major preparation requirements if studying a “high unit” major (i.e. a major that requires a lot of classes). If, however, you do not have enough units to reach 60, then you take elective classes, which are transferable classes you choose for yourself just so you’ll have enough units.

Q. Do I have to take the assessment tests before classes begin, or can I wait until after school begins? Can I use O-level scores to clear assessments?
A. You may take the assessment tests whenever you are ready. Just remember that you cannot enroll in any Math classes, any classes with Math prerequisites, or English 122 without an appropriate assessment score on file.
          O-level scores might be used in determining Math placement. Submit official copies of your O-level score reports to the DVC Admissions and Records office for evaluation. O-level scores are not used in English assessment.
          If you want to take a college-level Math class, you must either score appropriately on the Math assessment test, complete the required prerequisite course(s), or submit official documentation proving that you have completed equivalent coursework or demonstrated mastery of the Math content through examination.
          You cannot get into a course that has prerequisites, including assessment requirements, unless you have met the prerequisite, no matter how badly you may need to take the course. This is determined by California state law, and DVC follows that law very closely because our continued accreditation depends on it. Such practices ensure that we are able to continue to offer the high quality of coursework that our reputation is built upon.

Q. How do I know which courses are transferable? What is IGETC? How do I know which classes to take?
A. I’m not going to address these questions because the online new international student orientation and the workshop you attended today all address those questions. If you need to review the online orientation, visit and select “DVC New International Student Orientation.” And today’s workshop slides are available at in “New International Students Academic Workshop.”