To help students pursue their educational goals and dreams, the College has a planned educational process called "matriculation." All students are encouraged to go through the matriculation process, which includes orientation, educational assessment testing, and academic counseling to design a program of courses that meets their educational goals. Matriculation status is established for all new students at the time they submit their applications. Their status shall be either matriculant or deferred matriculant.

Matriculants are students who are enrolling in college for the first time or their goal is to obtain an Associate of Arts degree or to transfer or to complete an occupational goal. International students who are studying on an F-1 visa are considered matriculants and shall not be exempted from any of the matriculation components.

Matriculants (Deferred) Students who have had prior college experience and/or who do not plan to transfer or complete an occupational course of study, may opt to defer their matriculation process until the semester before attempting their 16th unit of credit at Santa Monica College, at which time they become matriculants. Deferred matriculants shall:

  1. Complete the admissions component;

  2. Be given orientation materials at the time of application submission;

  3. Be exempt from English or ESL and math assessment unless they plan to take English/ESL or math classes;

  4. Be permitted to participate in counseling and advisement.

All students will participate in the matriculation process unless specifically exempted from selected components of the process. The matriculation components consist of admission, orientation, assessment, and counseling/advisement. All students must complete the admissions component regardless of their matriculation status.


Santa Monica College requires all matriculants to participate in the orientation component. Orientation, delivered as an online service, informs students about the wide range of services and support the College provides. Matriculants are exempt from the orientation component if they:

  1. have completed an AA Degree or higher, or

  2. are enrolled only in ungraded classes, or

  3. are high school students enrolled only in advanced placement classes, or

  4. are enrolled only in not-for-credit classes, or

  5. have previously attended SMC and are returning after discontinued enrollment for no more than one semester.


All matriculants are required to participate in English, ESL or math assessment, prior to enrolling in those classes. The tests assess a student's general educational background and skills in Math, English, English as a Second Language, and Chemistry. They also help students select educational programs that are realistic and aligned with their level of academic preparation and experience. Students are exempt from the assessment component if they have assessment results from or have met the course prerequisites at another accredited college. Students may use an assessment score from another college for initial placement recommendation only, provided that an equivalent course can be identified by the department. Information on exemptions and waivers is available in the Assessment Brochure and the Schedule of Classes.


The College provides a professional staff of academic counselors to assist students in developing an educational plan that outlines the necessary courses to meet specific transfer, occupational certificate, or AA degree goals. Undecided students are also assisted in choosing a major. While some students arrive at Santa Monica College with a very clear and firm idea of what their educational goals are, most have several different areas they wish to pursue; others have no particular direction at all, often because they have many different interests. Santa Monica College requires that all matriculants update their student educational plans with their counselors no later than the semester before attempting their 16th unit of credit.

Student Matriculation Complaints

Formal written complaints about the matriculation process may be filed with the administrator in charge of matriculation. Complaint forms can be obtained from the Matriculation Office. Records of all such written complaints shall be retained in the matriculation administrator’s office for at least 3 years after the complaint has been resolved and shall be subject to review by the Chancellor as part of the statewide evaluation required under Section 55512 of Title 5.​