Academic Counseling Center

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Academic Counseling Frequently Asked Questions

Associate Degrees and Certificates

What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree?

If I get an AA or AS from SBCC, can I automatically transfer to a 4-year college?

Should I get an associate degree if I intend to transfer?

Will an associate degree help me in my transfer admissions process?

On the general education sheet for the associate degree, some courses are listed in more than one category. Can I take one course and fulfill two categories?

Do I need a major to get an associate degree? Can I just complete the general education requirements and still get a degree?

I've attended other community colleges and universities. Can I use this course work to fulfill associate degree requirements?

How is a certificate different from a degree?

Student Education Plan

What is a Student Education Plan (SEP) and do I need one?

Do I need to make an appointment for an SEP or can I just drop in?

Career Counseling

I'm lost about what career to pursue. How can you help me?

What kinds of career information are available at SBCC?

Choosing a Major

I'm really undecided about a major. How should I choose?

Probation

I got a letter saying I am on academic probation. What does this really mean and how does this affect me?

My letter says "progress probation." I've got good grades. What's the problem and how does this affect me?

Dismissal

I got a letter saying I've been dismissed. I want to stay in school. What can I do?

What can I expect when I return to College after Dismissal?

Personal Counseling

Can I get therapy at the counseling center?

Is there a charge for personal counseling? Is there a limit on how long I can be seen?

Prerequisites and Co-requisites

I tried to register for a class but I was blocked because of a prerequisite and or co-requisite verification, what is this and how can I get more information so that I can register for my class?

Transfer Center

Can I just take my general education requirements at SBCC, and then take my major courses after I transfer?

How do I know which courses I need to fulfill the requirements for my university major?

What are the differences between the UC, CSU, and independent college systems? How do I decide which one is best for me?

Why don't all of SBCC’s courses transfer?

What do I have to do to get in to Cal Poly or UC Berkeley or Stanford, or one of the other top universities?

How can I be sure I'll be admitted?

What kind of transfer information is available at SBCC?

Associate Degrees and Certificates

What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree?

 

An AS degree, also called an Associate of Science degree, is awarded for majors that are vocational or technical in nature. An AA degree, or Associate of Arts degree, is awarded for majors that are considered liberal arts related. However, many majors allow you the choice of either degree. The difference is that the AS degree requires a lab science. Check with an academic counselor for specific requirements.

For a list of AA and AS degrees click here.

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If I get an AA or AS from SBCC, can I automatically transfer to a 4-year college?

No, the completion of an Associate degree does not automatically meet all of the requirements for transfer to a 4-year college or university. However, if you select classes carefully, it is possible to meet both Associate degree requirements and transfer requirements at the same time. Your counselor can assist you in the selection of appropriate courses.

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Should I get an associate degree if I intend to transfer?

Although an Associate degree is not required for transfer, many students find that it is personally beneficial to have a college degree on their record. If, for example, you are required to halt your educational pursuits for a time, you will still have a college degree on your resume. Students who have completed all of their requirements for transfer may have completed most, if not all, of the requirements for an Associate degree as well. Your academic counselor can help you determine what requirements you may have met.

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Will an associate degree help me in my transfer admissions process?

Students who earn an Associate Degree for Transfer may be given additional admissions consideration from California State Universities.  ADT’s are only available in some majors and can be significant in the admissions decision process for CSU impacted campuses and impacted majors.  For a list of SBCC AA-T/AS-T Degrees click here; for more detailed information regarding ADT's click here

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On the general education sheet for the associate degree, some courses are listed in more than one category. Can I take one course and fulfill two categories?

Yes, in some cases, you can complete one course to satisfy one or more general education areas.  For most of the Associate Degrees, you have three general education patterns to select from based upon your educational goals. Please check with an academic counselor for more details.

If you are using the SBCC General Education pattern, courses can only be used once in areas A-D, but can be used again in areas E1-E5.

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Do I need a major to get an associate degree? Can I just complete the general education requirements and still get a degree? 

You must complete the requirements for a specific major in order to graduate with an Associate Degree. See our catalog for the complete list of associate degree majors available at SBCC or click here. Detailed information about major requirements can be found in the SBCC Catalog.  Check with an academic counselor to see which major best fits your goals. Certain financial aid and benefit programs may require you to declare a major. Transfer colleges and universities often require you to apply in a particular major and many do not admit undecided transfer students.

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I've attended other community colleges and universities. Can I use this course work to fulfill associate degree requirements?

Yes, you may have completed some degree requirements. Be sure to request an official transcript from your previous schools, hand carry them to us (in a sealed envelope) or send them to the Admissions and Records office at SBCC.   Another college’s course work will never appear on our SBCC transcript.  However, an Academic Counselor can help you determine which requirements are fulfilled by course work completed at other colleges.

How is a certificate different from a degree?

A certificate is a recognition that you have trained for an occupation or in a set of skills. It does not require general education courses, but rather focuses on vocational skills. Certificates usually require 18-24 units; some more, some fewer. You may also apply coursework taken for a certificate to degree at a later time.

For a list of certificates available at SBCC click here.

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Student Educational Plan

What is a Student Education Plan (SEP) and do I need one?

Yes, you need one! A SEP or Student Educational Plan is like a personal map that you develop with your academic counselor. The SEP "map" is designed to illustrate what courses you should complete semester by semester in order to successfully meet your educational goal.

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Do I need to make an appointment for an SEP or can I just drop in?

Developing an SEP necessitates and academic counseling appointment.  Appointments are scheduled for the SAME DAY on a first come, first serve, in person basis.  The earlier you can arrive on the day you wish to have an appointment the better.  Using the SAME DAY appointment system allows us to serve students with the least amount of no shows and the best predictability of counselor availability.  For quick questions our Academic Counseling Center front desk area is staffed by Academic Counselors all day long.

You should arrange an academic counseling appointment to insure the best possible recommendations and academic planning for a SEP. Often, the questions raised in exploring your educational goals require more time than is allowed in a short drop-in visit.

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Career Counseling

I'm lost about what career to pursue. How can you help me?

The Schall Career Center offers help with career issues. Students will find a vast amount of resources and tools available on line at www.sbcc.edu/careercenter.  Online resources include help with exploring Career & Technical Educational Programs, help finding a major, Events & Workshops and Job Fairs.

Students should also take advantage of individual drop-in, as well as courses on career development.

 Personal Development 191A- Career Planning: is a one-unit CSU transferable self-paced course that can provide you with a systematic approach to choosing or changing a major and/or career.

 *Personal Development 110- Career Planning:  Comprehensive, is a three-unit CSU/UC transferable, individualized course to get you quickly learning how to find a major and/or career.

*Be aware that the UC’s will only give units for either PD 100 or PD 110, but not for both.

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What kinds of career information are available at SBCC?

Our Career Center offers written and online information about careers, industries, job search, and educational preparation. Self-exploration software like Eureka, or exploration exercises can help you discover career options. The Center also offers workshops, and other resources to help you find, apply for, interview for, and obtain the job you want. Visit the Career Center web site for more information.

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Choosing a Major

I'm really undecided about a major. How should I choose?

 You may be "less undecided" than you think! Often, students know of many majors they are NOT interested in, so you may have narrowed the field considerably without even realizing it. Choosing a major has a lot to do with what topics interest you, what values are important to you, what skills you have or would like to have, even your personality style. So getting to know yourself is a first step.

The Career Center can help you get a better idea of your major and career aspirations with a variety of tools and resources such as this Major & Career Exploration website as well as a comprehensive Career Assessment Packet.

Knowing what majors are available is also a way to brainstorm areas you might find interesting. Open a catalog from SBCC, UCSB or other university to the "Majors offered" page. Look at each major and rate each a yes, a maybe, or a no. You may have a lot of maybes at first; but once you begin reading about them, they'll migrate higher or lower on your list.

Another approach is to search careers first, then think about majors second. Take one of our career courses like Personal Development 110 or Personal Development 191A, or visit Career Center to find out how to begin your career search.

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Probation

I got a letter saying I am on academic probation. What does this really mean and how does this affect me?

 The first thing to realize is that Academic Probation is not a punishment. It is a process to identify students who are having trouble in their classes so that the appropriate remedies can be applied.

According to SBCC Academic Status Policies:

A student who has attempted a total of at least 12 graded units, as shown by the official college transcript, shall be placed on academic probation if the student has earned an accumulated grade point average (GPA) below 2.00 in all graded units at Santa Barbara City College.

SBCC policy also states there are some consequences for being assigned to Academic Probation:

Students placed on academic probation may be subject to unit and course limitations and/or other conditions of enrollment.

SBCC Academic Status Policy indicates the conditions to be removed from Academic Probation as:

A student on academic probation shall be removed from probation and returned to academic good standing when the student's cumulative grade point average is 2.00 or higher.

Academic probation shall not be noted on the official transcript. 

For now, here's a list of some helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Take a positive view of the situation in order to regain confidence and motivation.
  • Take the advice of your counselors and professors when they refer you to student services that can help.
  • Most importantly, stop, take a breath, and realize Academic Probation is not the end of the world. It’s probably just what you needed in order to re-focus on your academic goals.

Probation may affect your eligibility for financial aid, result in unit and course limitations, and if you continue to be on probation for two consecutive semesters – dismissal for a semester.

Students who are on academic or progress probation for two consecutive semesters will lose their priority registration until they have advanced to academic good standing.

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My letter says "progress probation." I've got good grades. What's the problem and how does this affect me?

The first thing to realize is that Progress Probation is not a punishment. It is a process to identify students who are having trouble in their classes so that the appropriate remedies can be applied.

According to SBCC Academic Status Policies:

A student who has enrolled in a cumulative total of at least 12 semester units, as shown by the official academic record, shall be placed on progress probation when the percentage of the cumulative units for which entries of W, I, and No Pass are recorded reaches or exceeds fifty percent (50%).

Of course there are some consequences for being placed on Progress Probation. Again, according SBCC policy:

Students placed on progress probation may be subject to unit and course limitations and/or other conditions of enrollment.

Progress probation shall not be noted on the official transcript.

SBCC policy indicates the conditions to be removed from progress probation as:

The student will be removed from progress probation when the percentage of units in which a W, I, or No Pass is recorded drops below fifty percent (50%).

For now, here's a list of some helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Take a positive view of the situation in order to regain confidence and motivation.
  • Take the advice of your counselors and professors when they refer you to student services that can help.
  • Most importantly, stop, take a breath, and realize Academic Probation is not the end of the world. It’s probably just what you needed in order to re-focus on your academic goals.

Probation may affect your eligibility for financial aid, result in unit and course limitations, and if you continue to be on probation for two consecutive semesters – dismissal for a semester.

Students who are on academic or progress probation for two consecutive semesters will lose their priority registration until they have advanced to academic good standing.

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Dismissal

I got a letter saying I've been dismissed. I want to stay in school. What can I do?

Let’s assume for the sake of example that you’re on Academic or Progress Probation and in spite of your best efforts you are unable to meet the requirements to be removed from probation.

What then?

Worst case scenario – you can be dismissed from the college. You may also see this referred to as “disqualification.” This means an enrollment hold will be placed on your record. You will not be able to take courses at SBCC for one semester.

If your dismissal is a result of extenuating circumstances such as an accident, illness, or death in the immediate family; military duty; jury duty; job displacement; family displacement; instructor error or other circumstances, you may petition the Dean of Educational Programs for reinstatement.

It is critical that you monitor your Pipeline e-mail because the notification of dismissal will be sent to your Pipeline e-mail account shortly after Admissions and Records processes the semester grades.

You have only a limited number of days to petition the Dean for reinstatement.

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What can I expect when I return to College after Dismissal?

On a positive note, having to sit out for one semester can be an opportunity to reflect on the reasons that interfered with your being a successful student. Sometimes “life happens” and you need time to get some personal things straightened out before being ready to return. Or it may be an opportunity to make adjustments to help you prepare to avoid some of the common barriers to academic success like working too many hours, not dedicating enough time to study, absence of an education plan, and/or lack of an academic or career goal.

Following a period of dismissal, a student simply needs to reapply for admission to return.

When readmitted, a student will retain their prior academic standing, lose priority registration and may be subject to unit and course limitations or other conditions of enrollment until he/she returns to academic good standing.

Personal Counseling

Can I get therapy at the counseling center?

We offer academic counseling to address specific problems that are interfering with a student’s academic progress or success. Often this includes discussing personal issues.  For students seeking psychotherapy, we can provide referrals to our Student Health Services where they provide short-term therapy by professionals.  For more information click here and for a list of personal counseling Frequently Asked Questions click here.

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Is there a charge for personal counseling? Is there a limit on how long I can be seen?

Personal counseling at Student Health & Wellness Services is free. There is a 6 session limit however this can be extended if you and your counselor feel you could benefit from more sessions.  

Prerequisites and Co-requisites

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I tried to register for a class but I was blocked because of a prerequisite and or co-requisite verification, what is this and how can I get more information so that I can register for my class?

For questions concerning what prerequisites, co-requisites, verification forms and more information please go to http://www.sbcc.edu/teo/prereqclearance.php.  Here students will find the two ways to verify their skill for the class.

Be sure to check out the Prerequisite and Co-requisite Frequently Asked Questions for specific answers to questions such as:

Which form do I use?

What is the deadline?

How long do these forms take to process?

and more…

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Transfer Center

Can I just take my general education requirements at SBCC, and then take my major courses after I transfer?

If you are planning to transfer to a UC or CSU campus…

You need to complete 60 transferable semester units prior to transfer. The typical general education paths most students complete are I.G.E.T.C. (UC & CSU) or the CSU General Education/Breadth (CSU only) and they consist of 35 – 40 units. You will still need to complete additional units to achieve the minimum 60 transferable units.  Most UC and CSU majors have required lower division courses that you can complete at SBCC. If you are applying to a competitive university or major, completion of all or most major courses will greatly increase your chances of being accepted. Some campuses that require completion of all lower-division courses for the major prior to transfer are UCLA, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly SLO, and San Diego State.

*Students who are majoring in the sciences, engineering, or other high unit majors like economics or business need to focus on completing the lower division courses for the major and not on general education courses.

If you are planning to transfer to a California private or out-of-state university…

Most California private and out-of-state universities allow students to transfer with 24 – 30 transferable units. Each general education pattern is unique to the university and completion of general education requirements prior to transfer are typically not an admission requirement. SBCC has agreements with some California private and out-of-state universities in regards to the courses that apply to their general education requirements. This information is available at the Articulation website under California Private Transfer Information and Out-of-State Transfer Information.

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How do I know which courses I need to fulfill the requirements for my university major?

Assist (www.Assist.org) provides current UC and CSU articulation agreements by major. The agreements identify SBCC courses that satisfy lower-division preparation for major courses.

Information for California private universities can be found at http://articulation.sbcc.edu/CICU/CICU.htm

Information for out-of-state universities can be found at http://articulation.sbcc.edu/OOS/OOS.htm

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What are the differences between the UC, CSU, and independent college systems? How do I decide which one is best for me?

Colleges and universities vary greatly in the type of majors offered, admission requirements, and educational philosophies. While the University of California (UC) system is world renowned as a research institution, it provides a solid undergraduate experience well suited for most students. The California State University (CSU) system is the largest bachelor's degree granting system in the world, with 23 campuses, and provides access to quality degree programs all over California. There are also over sixty private colleges and universities in California, each unique in one way or another.  More information can be found at the Explore Transfer Options webpage at http://www.sbcc.edu/transfercenter/exploretransferoptions.php  and on the Chose Your Transfer Universities webpages at http://www.sbcc.edu/transfercenter/Explore_and_Research_Universities.php

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Why don't all of SBCC’s courses transfer?

Each university determines what courses from other colleges are transferable to their institution. Articulation is the process of evaluating courses to determine whether a particular course offered at Santa Barbara City College is comparable to, or acceptable in lieu of, a corresponding course at a particular university. Remedial courses, courses that prepare students to take college level courses, are not typically transferable. Courses that the four-year university does not teach are also not transferable. More information on SBCC’s transferable courses can be found on the Articulation Website at http://articulation.sbcc.edu/

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What do I have to do to get in to Cal Poly or UC Berkeley or Stanford, or one of the other top universities?

Transfer admission requirements can vary from campus to campus. Specific admission information is available at each university’s Undergraduate Admission website.

Some campuses have very strict outlined requirements, while others have more open ended criteria. Most colleges and universities have three major types of requirements: course requirements, GPA requirements, and unit requirements.

Course requirements refer to courses that you must take at SBCC before you transfer to the receiving institution. For example: English, Math, major related courses, and other general education courses.

GPA requirement refers to a minimum grade point average that you must achieve to be considered for admission.

Unit requirement refers to the amount of units that must be completed before you transfer.

Selective universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Stanford (and many other universities) do a comprehensive/holistic review of each applicant. The core principles that guide the holistic evaluation and selection process are Academic Excellence, Intellectual Vitality, and Personal Context.

Even though Cal Poly SLO is a selective university it does not do a comprehensive/holistic review. Academic excellence as demonstrated by performance in and completion of required courses is the foundation of the admission decision.  More information for Cal Poly SLO can be found at http://www.sbcc.edu/transfercenter/transferselectionguides.php

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How can I be sure I'll be admitted?

Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAGs) are the only avenue that can ensure your admission. SBCC has TAGs with 20 universities including the American University in Paris, out-of-state universities, UC and CSU campuses as well as California private universities.

Signing and meeting the conditions of the TAG will GUARANTEE an enrollment slot for the TAG admission cycle.  The TAG provides prospective students with a specific plan of action to ensure they satisfy the admissions requirements.   The TAG provides the participating universities with the student's contact information and as a result, the student will have direct access to university representatives and current information pertaining to their admissions or changes they should know about.  More information is available at www.sbcc.edu/TAG .

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What kind of transfer information is available at SBCC?

The Transfer Center assists students with the transfer process and offers a variety of services to assist you with identifying your transfer universities, understanding university admission requirements, and applying to universities. Services include drop-in advising, workshops, appointments with university representatives, as well as sponsoring our annual Transfer Day.

Much more information is available on the Transfer Center website

http://www.sbcc.edu/transfercenter/

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