Quarter to Semester Transfer Tips: Completing Your GE’s

When I was applying to transfer from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), to the University of Southern California (USC), I worried about how the credits I earned from the quarter system would transfer to semester credits. Here, I hope to explain this transition, as well as provide some advice on how to stay on track and even get ahead while transferring.

Undoubtedly, you may lose units while transferring. If you are on the quarter system, multiply your units by .667 to get your semester units. To convert semester units to quarter units, multiply by 1.5.

1 semester unit = 1.5 quarter units

1 quarter unit = .667 semester unit

Now that you have your total units, you can divide that amount by the remaining amount of years you have to see whether you are on track to graduate at the year you are supposed to.

Unfortunately, what complicates things is how your new school will evaluate your credits. In Sarah’s article, where she highlighted her transfer credits, she mentioned complications including petitions, and the inability for some classes to count towards her major.

I ran into these problems as well when I switched majors when I transferred, a topic I will delve into further in a different article. However, I think that there is a lot of potential to make up ground in your GE’s. A lot of people dread their GE classes, skipping classes and putting little effort into assignments. This is a mistake. Here are some tips regarding how to make the most of your GE’s as a transfer student:

  1. Look up articulation agreements and take GE’s that transfer.

When I entered UCSB, I specifically chose classes that I knew would transfer to USC. Because of this, I only had to take 2 GE’s once arriving at USC. I am finishing up my last GE this semester, as a sophomore.

  1. Take the majority of your GE’s at your old school

The GE system from the University of California schools to USC was different. I loved being able to take most of my GE’s on the quarter system, because they finished in a shorter amount of time and I still got credit for them. Furthermore, I was able to take a larger amount of GE classes, something that would not have been possible at USC.

  1. Do well in your GE’s.

Because you transfer after one or two years, GE’s still make up a large part of your GPA and a substantial amount of the classes you take. I chose GE’s that were interesting to me, and really enjoyed them. And because it was a GE, many people didn’t visit office hours, making the teaching assistants all the more accessible. GE’s are a great booster for your transfer GPA and should not be neglected.

Plan your schedule well to take advantage of their benefits!

– Michelle L.