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SMC|Student Services|Counseling|Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We have surveyed new, prospective, and continuing students to find out your most common questions, and have listed those questions and their answers below. If you don't see your question below, contact a counselor and we will find the answer for you!

NOTE: Questions are listed by key words, in alphabetical order.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

What is an AA degree, and which ones are offered at SMC?

An "AA degree" is an Associate of Arts degree, and is the degree granted by Santa Monica College. Each AA degree consists of 60 units, and is a combination of general education, major, and elective classes. SMC also offers a new Transfer AA for students planning on transferring to a 4-year university. For more information about the AA degrees offered at SMC and their requirements, see Associate of Arts Degrees.

How do I qualify for the AB540 nonresident tuition exemption?

This exemption is available to undocumented immigrants, permanent residents of the US, and US citizens who must have:

  • Attended a high school in California for three or more years; and 
  • Graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent thereof (e.g. passed the GED in California or the California High School Proficiency exam or received a Certificate of Completion); and 
  • Enrolled, or is registering to be enrolled, at a California Community College, a California State University or at the University of California after January 1, 2002.

Non-immigrant students are not eligible for this exemption. Non-immigrant students, as defined by federal immigration law, may hold one of the following visas: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, TN, TD and V, and TROV and NATO.

All students applying for this exemption must sign an affidavit. If a student is without lawful immigration status, the student must state that he/she has filed an application to legalize his/her immigration status or will file an application as soon as he/she is eligible to do so. Go to  AB540 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request & Affidavit to print a copy of the form. Go to  AB540 to read additional Frequently Asked Questions regarding this tuition exemption for eligible California high school graduates.

What is academic probation, and how do I avoid it?

Academic Probation occurs if: your overall SMC grade point average falls below a 2.0; if you transfer to SMC while on probation or on disqualification status at another college or university; or are readmitted after disqualification from Santa Monica College. Academic Probation results in a later enrollment date for your next semester, and a 9-unit* enrollment maximum per semester until academic probation is removed. Once on academic probation, you will continue on probation until you raise your cumulative grade point average to a 2.0 or better. To avoid Academic Probation, avoid D's and F's in your classes, and if you must drop classes, drop them early to avoid receiving an "F." If you are already on Academic Probation, the quickest way to return to good standing is to repeat those courses in which you received D's or F's. To discuss other strategies for avoiding or getting off of Academic Probation, see an SMC Counselor.

*F-1 visa students are required by federal law to complete 12 units in each fall and spring semester regardless of academic status.

What is academic renewal and progress renewal?   

Academic Renewal Policy

To request that substandard course work be disregarded on the basis of the SMC Academic Renewal Policy, the following requirements must be met:

  • Repetition of substandard course work is inappropriate to my current educational objectives.
  • Coursework to be disregarded is limited to “D” and “F” grades.
  • Completion of a minimum of 36 semester units of 2.0 GPA or a minimum of 24 semester units of 2.5 GPA or 15 semester units of a 3.0 GPA at an accredited college subsequent to the course work to be disregarded.
  • The lapse of at least two years since completion of the most recent course work to be disregarded.

In addition, the following provisions of the college policy apply:

Academic Renewal is a process intended to facilitate degree and certificate completion and/or removal from academic probation.  The student must meet with a counselor and complete an academic renewal petition.  A maximum of 30 semester units may be disregarded under this policy.  Final approval of the petition will be granted by the Office of Enrollment Services.

All course work will remain legible on the student’s permanent record ensuring a true and complete record.  The student’s permanent record shall be annotated so that it is readily evident to all users of the record that any course disregarded may not satisfy certificate, degree, or general education course requirements.

Please note if you qualify for academic renewal based on college course work completed at another college, you must first request official transcripts to be sent directly to the Santa Monica College admissions office. Once those transcripts are on file in the admissions office you can then schedule a counseing appointment to petition for academic renewal.

Progress Renewal Policy

To request that substandard course work be disregarded on the basis of the SMC Progress Renewal Policy, the following requirements must be met:

  • Repetition of substandard course work is inappropriate to my current educational objectives.
  • Coursework to be disregarded is limited to withdrawal (“W”) and no credit (“NC”) grades.
  • Completion of a minimum of 36 semester units of 2.0 GPA or a minimum of 24 semester units of 2.5 GPA or a minimum of 15 semester units of 3.0 GPA at an accredited college subsequent to the coursework to be disregarded.  Units must be consecutive and must have begun anytime after the coursework to be disregarded.  Any withdrawal (“W”), incomplete (“I”) or no credit (“NC”) grades received during this time frame will void the petition.
  • The lapse of at least two years since completion of the most recent course work to be disregarded.

In addition, the following provisions of the college policy apply:

Progress Renewal is a process intended to facilitate degree and certificate completion and/or removal from progress probation.  The student must meet with a counselor and complete a progress renewal petition. A maximum of 30 semester units may be disregarded under this policy. Final approval of the petition will be granted by the Office of Enrollment Services.

All course work will remain legible on the student’s permanent record ensuring a true and complete record.  The student’s permanent record shall be annotated so that it is readily evident to all users of the record that any course disregarded may not satisfy certificate, degree, or general education course requirements. 

Please note if you qualify for progress renewal based on college course work completed at another college, you must first request official transcripts to be sent directly to the Santa Monica College admissions office. Once those transcripts are on file in the admissions office you can then schedule a counseing appointment to petition for progress renewal.

How do I apply to SMC?

To apply to SMC, complete an on-line application or come in to the Admissions Office to complete an application in person.

Am I required to take the English or English as Second Language (ESL) and Math assessment?

All first-time college students attending SMC are required to complete English and Math assessment. You will not be permitted to register for summer or fall courses until you do this. If you are not a first-time college student but are enrolling in an English, ESL, or math course for the first time, you are required to complete the appropriate assessment process. Based upon your scores, you will receive an English, ESL, or math placement recommendation. A placement waiver will be issued if you meet the “Assessment Exemptions”, or based on applicable coursework completed with a “C” or better (must have a transcript). Furthermore, you are exempt from assessment if you have received an Associate in Arts degree or higher from a U.S. accredited institution. If you are planning to transfer, we strongly suggest that you discuss your plans with a counselor. Please note that although you may be exempt from assessment, all students must successfully complete any required prerequisite courses for English, ESL or Math classes.

If you will not be completing the assessment at SMC because you meet any of the exemptions, you must provide official proof (e.g., college transcript, or an original AP report) that you meet the exemption criteria. Please hand-carry this information to a counselor at express counseling located in the counseling complex to obtain a waiver. Go to Assessment for additional information.

Can I audit a class, or take it for no units?

Some colleges allow students to audit courses, meaning no units, credits, or grades are given for those classes. Because of the high demand for classes at SMC, SMC does not audit courses. SMC does, however, allow that courses be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

What is a certificate of achievement, and which ones are offered at SMC?

Certificates of Achievement are designed for individuals seeking short-term education and training in preparation for work. Ranging from 18 to 40 units, Certificates of Achievement  focus on a specific career area, and do not include General Education or elective classes. To see a list of available Certificates of Achievement or for more information on Certificates of Achievement, please see the Certificates of Achievement page.

How can I get career counseling at SMC?

If you need assistance in identifying your career goal, writing a resume, preparing for an interview, or finding a job, career counseling services are available for SMC students at the Career Services Center. To make an appointment or for more information about the services offered by the Career Services Center, please see the Career Services Center website, or contact them at (310) 434-4337.

What classes should I take for my major?

The classes required for your major depend both on the major you choose and on your academic goal. For example, the courses required to transfer to a university may differ from those required for an AA degree. To learn of the specific courses required for your goal, please meet with an SMC counselor.

What do I do if I have a compliment or complaint about an instructor or counselor?

If you want to compliment an instructor, you can send a card or email to the instructor or counselor expressing your appreciation. You might also want to let the instructor or counselor’s Department Chair know of your compliment as well.

If you want to express a concern or a complaint about an instructor or counselor, try talking to the instructor or counselor during an office hour or after class. If that is not effective or is too difficult, you can talk to the instructor or counselor’s Department Chair. A list of Department Chairs is available on the Academic Senate website.

SMC values both compliments and constructive complaints about instructors and counselors!

Where is the counseling center located?

The Counseling Center is located in a purple building with yellow arches (you can’t miss it!) on the north side of Pearl Street, just west of 20th Street. For other specific counseling programs, please see the Counseling Programs, Locations, and Counselors page.

What are the counseling center hours?

The Counseling Center is open Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am – 7:30 pm, and on Friday, 8:00 am – 1:30 pm. We are closed on Saturday and Sunday. For hours for other specific counseling programs, please contact those programs directly via the Counseling Programs, Locations, and Counselors page.

What counseling programs are offered at SMC?

There are many specialized counseling programs offered at SMC. For a full listing of counseling programs, please see the Counseling Programs.

Am I assigned a counselor?

Counselors and counseling appointments are not assigned. Instead, it is important that you find a counselor that you are comfortable working with. Once you find that counselor, make sure and make an appointment to see him or her at least once a semester!

How can I meet with a counselor?

To meet with a counselor, please see the Getting Started with SMC Counseling Services page.

How can I find a counselor for my major?

To find a counselor for your major, please see the list of counselors with specialized counseling knowledge, for all other majors you may meet with any SMC counselor.

What is credit/no credit, and how do I take a class credit/no credit?

Credit/no credit is a good option if you want to take a class, but don't want the grade to impact your grade point average. If you receive a "C" grade or higher in the class, the grade will appear as a "CR" (for "credit") on your transcripts, and you will also receive the units for that course. If you receive a "D" or an "F" in the class, however, a "NC" (for "no credit") will appear on your transcripts, and you will not receive the units for that course. In either case, the course will not impact your grade point average. Students enrolled in fewer than 12 units in a semester may enroll in 5 units of credit/no credit courses. Students enrolled in 12 or more units in a semester may enroll in 6 units of credit/no credit courses. You may complete a maximum of 12 units of credit/no credit coursework at SMC. Students with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university may take an unlimited number of credit/no credit courses.

Generally speaking, you should not take any of the following classes for Credit/No Credit: English 1; English 2; any transferable math class; any major preparation coursework. Colleges and universities have a limit on the number of units that can be taken on a Credit/No Credit basis. To find out unit limits for various colleges and universities, please contact a counselor.

In addition, if you are planning on attending law school or medical school in the future, it is not advised that you take courses on a Credit/No Credit basis. Law schools and medical schools will often assign a grade of "C" to Credit/No Credit classes when figuring your grade point average for admission. A maximum of 12 units of Credit/No Credit courses may be taken at SMC. After you've enrolled in your class, you can change it's grading status to Credit/No Credit by completing the necessary paperwork at the front desk of the Admissions office. Credit/No Credit Requests are due by the Friday of the 4th week for Fall and Spring semesters, Friday of the 2nd week for all short term classes, including Winter and Summers sessions, and Friday of the 1st week for all classes less than 6 weeks.

How am I eligible for the “Dean’s Honor List"?

A student must achieve a 3.0 grade point average and complete 12 units in a semester to be eligible for the Dean’s Honor List. A record of this honor appears on the student’s transcript. Students who appear on the Dean’s Honor List for three semesters or who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher will receive “honors” with their Associate in Arts degree.

What are the different degrees?

There are several different degrees that are offered by community colleges, colleges, and universities. The degree that Santa Monica College offers is the Associate of Arts (AA) degree. Commonly called "two year degrees," AA degrees are granted upon completion of 60 semester units of required coursework.

The two primary degrees offered by colleges and universities are the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.  Commonly called "four year degrees," these degrees are granted upon completion of at least 120 semester units of required coursework. Other bachelor degrees include the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and the Bachelor of Music (BM). After obtaining their bachelor's degree, some student go on to obtain their Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) degree. Commonly called "graduate degrees," these degrees focus specifically on courses in the field of study, and are granted upon completion of at least 30 semester units of required coursework. Other master's degrees include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and the Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

Some students continue their education and pursue their PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degree. Commonly called a "doctorate degree," these degrees can be obtained in almost any major, and take approximately three years of full-time study to complete.

What is a department certificate, and which ones are offered at SMC?

Department certificates are designed for individuals seeking very short-term education and training in preparation for work. Department Certificates have fewer than 18 units of coursework required, focus on a specific career area, and do not include General Education or elective classes. For a list of available Department Certificates, or for more information on Department Certificates, please view Department Certificates.

What happens if I'm disqualified?

Being disqualified is a serious matter, and essentially means you have been dismissed as a student of Santa Monica College. If you are on Academic Probation, you will become disqualified if you do not achieve a 2.0 ("C" average) in the semester directly after the semester you were placed on probation. If you were on Progress Probation, you will become disqualified if you do not complete the required percentage of units enrolled in any semester (Fall or Spring) following the semester directly after the semester you were placed on probation. Disqualified students who pre-enrolled for the subsequent semester will be administratively dropped from all classes.

If you are a continuing student and become disqualified, you need to make an appointment with a counselor to discuss your situation and your possible readmission. If it has been one or more semesters since your disqualification, you'll need to reapply to SMC and complete a petition for readmission. The following is the SMC Reinstatement Policy of Disqualified Students:

1st disqualification: Meet with a counselor to determine whether the student can be readmitted and if so, determine a unit limit up to a maximum of 6 units.
2nd disqualification: Student is required to sit out of SMC for one semester.
3rd disqualification: Student is required to sit out of SMC for one year.
If your academic status seems to be heading toward disqualification, please make an appointment with a counselor so we can help you identify strategies to keep you in good standing!

How do I drop a class, and what are the drop dates?

You may drop a class by using the student self-service system. For a list of withdrawal dates and deadlines, refer to Dates & Deadlines.

You may also want to make an appointment with a counselor to determine if withdrawing from a class will impact your academic status at SMC. Stopping your attendance in a class does not withdraw you from that class, and will often result in a grade of "F." Please remember that it is your responsibility to drop a class!

What are electives?

There are three components to any degree: General Education classes, Major preparation classes, and Elective classes. An elective course is essentially any class that is not required for General Education or for Major preparation. Electives are often required in order to accumulate the number of units needed for your degree or for transfer. Meet with a counselor to determine if the elective class you are considering is applicable for your degree or for transfer.

How do I request an evaluation of coursework from other institutions

Evaluation and application of credit from other institutions towards the SMC AA degree and/or transfer institutions can be a complex process when the previous coursework has not been completed at another California Community College.

Students need to schedule a counseling appointment. Prepare for your counseling appointment by bringing an unofficial copy of all transcripts from institutions you attended, and copies of course descriptions from the institutions college catalog. To locate a catalog online refer to www.collegesource.org. If you are requesting an evaluation of English composition courses, be prepared to bring a copy of the course syllabus too. If you do not have the syllabus, contact the department at the institution where the course was completed to obtain a copy. It is the student's responsibility to have official transcripts, from all institutions attended, sent directly to the SMC admissions office.

How do I get information about financial aid?

For information about Financial Aid, please visit the Financial Aid office, located in the Student Service Complex room 104, or view the Financial Aid website. You may also want to consult websites such as www.fafsa.ed.gov, www.ed.gov, and www.finaid.org. All students are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the GPA Verification Form (for Cal Grants) between January 1st and March 2nd for priority consideration, and the Board of Governor’s Fee Waiver. You may also refer to the Financial Aid: Useful Steps and Information section in the schedule of classes.

What is general education?

There are three components to any degree: General Education (GE) classes, Major preparation classes, and Elective classes. GE classes are designed to provide you with a broad base of knowledge, and usually include the areas of English, Math, Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Physical & Biological Sciences.

For students pursuing their Associate of Arts degree, please consult the catalog for a full list of general education requirements, or make an appointment with a counselor. For students preparing for transfer, please consult the Transfer Center web site for specific general education requirements, or make an appointment with a counselor.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Your GPA, or grade point average, is the main indicator of your academic performance in college. GPAs are based on the following system:

Grade Points
A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

To calculate your grade point average, multiply the letter grade points by the number of units in the class. For example, if you received an "A" in English 1, a "C" in Math 52, and an "F" in Human Development 12, you would have:

Class          Grade  Points    Units Attempted    Grade Points 
English 1        A         4             X 3 =                       12
Math 52         C         2             X 3 =                        6
Couns 12        F         0             X 1 =                        0 
 

Divide the total number of grade points (18)  by the total number of units attempted (7) and that gives you your Grade Point Average = 2.57 GPA.

What do I do if I don't agree with the grade I received in a class?

If you don’t agree with the grade you received in a class, your first step is to discuss your grade with the instructor. Bring with you appropriate documentation, and be ready to demonstrate why you should have received a higher grade. If the instructor does not agree to a request for a grade change and you still feel your grade should be changed, you may then take the matter to the Department Chair or to the Ombudspersons on campus for further informal mediation. The Ombudsperson can explain the grade appeals process and filing deadlines.

Where can I get information about housing?

While there is no on-campus housing at SMC, we do have a housing bulletin board in the cafeteria listing available apartments and housing options for SMC students.

How can I get an incomplete in a class?

A grade of incomplete may be granted for a course(s) if you have an unforeseeable emergency that prevents you from taking the final examination or completing other end-of-semester course requirements. If this is the case, discuss your situation with your instructor. If your instructor approves your request, an “I” will appear as your grade. The instructor will determine what grade will be issued if the final requirements are not completed, and how long you have (up to one year) to complete the final course work, at which your final grade will be assigned.

What do I do if I'm an International Student?

Because International students holding F-1 visas have specific requirements for both admission and for academic planning, it is important that you work directly with the International Education Center.

Where can I find information about internships?

SMC has many internship opportunities for students who would like to gain real-life job experience while attending college. For a list of internship opportunities, visit the Career Services Center or view the Career Services Center web site.

Can SMC help me find a job?

If you're looking for a job, SMC can help! Our Career Services Center has many job listings for students, and can also help you conduct a computerized job search.

How can I get a late withdrawal from a class?

 

A student may petition for a late withdrawal due to extenuating circumstances (such as verified cases of an accident, illness, military obligation, or other circumstances beyond the control of the student), only after the deadline to drop with an instructor's approval has passed and prior to taking the final exam. Students are responsible for picking up the petition for late withdrawal from the Admissions Office. Documentation of the extenuating circumstance must be attached to the petition.  The petition and accompanying documents must be submitted to the Admissions Office. The petitions are reviewed by the Dean of Enrollment Services.

What is a major?

A major is the primary focus of your degree, and is the area in which the greatest depth of knowledge will be developed. If you need assistance determining your major, make an appointment with a counselor to discuss your options and your goals. If you've decided on a major, you will also want to make an appointment with a counselor to discuss the courses necessary to prepare you for your major.

What is the maximum number of units I can take in a semester or winter/summer session?

The maximum number of units you may take in a semester is 16. The maximum is 8 for the winter and summer sessions.

How do I get started at SMC if I'm a new student?

If you're a new student to SMC, your first step is to complete the on-line application, or to complete a paper application in the Admissions office. You may also want to look at the New Student web page.

How can I get counseling for personal problems?

If you are experiencing constant stress, fighting depression, or having other personal problems, please make an appointment to see one of our psychologists in  Liberal Arts Building, Room 110.

What is progress probation, and how do I avoid it?

Progress Probation occurs if you receive too many grades of W (Withdrawal), I (Incomplete) or NP (Not Pass) in a semester. A student enrolled in at least 12 units will be placed on progress probation if the percentage of units in which the student recieves a grade of "W" , "I" or "NP" reaches or exceeds:

  • 50%  of units enrolled, after enrolling in 12-30 units 
  • 40% of the units enrolled, after enrolling in 31 or more units        

To avoid progress probation, try to avoid earning too many NP or I grades and if you must drop classes, drop them by the stated deadline to avoid a "W" grade. To see a list of withdrawal dates and deadlines, refer to the Dates & Deadlines page in the Schedule of Classes.

 

If you are already on Progress Probation, the quickest way to return to good standing is to repeat those courses in which you received "W's or “NP” and are required for your educational goal/s. To discuss other strategies for avoiding or getting off of Progress Probation, see an SMC Counselor.

 

Progress Probation results in a later enrollment date for your next semester, and a 9-unit* enrollment maximum per semester until progress probation is removed. If you again complete less than the required percentage of units in the semester after you are placed on Progress Probation, you will become disqualified.

*F-1 visa students are required by federal law to complete 12 units in each fall and spring semester regardless of probationary status

Progress Disqualification

Students who have been placed on progress probation at the end of a Fall or Spring semester will be disqualified from SMC at the end of the subsequent semester when the percentage of units in which a student recieves a grade of "W", "I" or "NP" reaches or exceeds:

50% of units enrolled, after enrolling in 12-30 units 

40% of units enrolled, after enrolling in 31 or more units

Disqualified students who pre-enrolled for the subsequent semester will be administratively dropped from all classes.

What is the SMC course repetition policy and how can I repeat a class?

You may repeat a class in which you received a “W”, "D", "F", or "NC/NP" one time without counselor authorization. Please note that a student who is currently enrolled in a course will not be able to re-enroll in that same course for a subsequent term until the student receives a W or NP or a final substandard grade for the course.  Course repetition requests beyond the first repetition will require counselor authorization.  In some cases, such requests will require a student to submit a special request for consideration after meeting with a counselor.  When a course is repeated once or more, a maximum of the first two substandard grades will be discounted from the SMC grade point average. The original grade(s) will still appear on your transcript, but will be annotated to indicate the course was repeated.  Fourth enrollments (third repetitions) or more are generally not permitted since the state of California does not provide funding for these enrollments. If a student is granted a special exception for a fourth enrollment (third repetition), however, the third grade will be calculated into your GPA. For example, if you earn an "F", then a "D", then a second “D” and finally a “C” grade in the same class, only the "F" and the first “D” will be removed from you GPA. The second “D” grade and the “C” grades would be calculated into your GPA.  Up to “two” W’s maximum can be discounted from the calculation towards progress probation, once a grade in the course has subsequently been earned.

Students are permitted to repeat a course in which a satisfactory grade has previously been earned but only under special circumstances authorized by California Code of Regulations Title 5 §58161.  These circumstances include:
             Courses which Santa Monica College has designated as repeatable. In some cases, courses are grouped together because they are related in content. These courses may include several
levels, but also have a cumulative course repeatability of three (i.e., a total of four course enrollments is permitted in the course “grouping” of Dance 43, 44, 45 and 46)
             Courses in which a student received a satisfactory grade, IF the original course was completed at least three (3) years prior to repeating it, AND the District requires a
more recent completion of the course (see §55003), OR another educational institution to which a student seeks to transfer requires the course to be taken more recently than
the student’s last enrollment in the course [note that the significant-lapse-of-time exception cannot be used if the student earned a substandard grade when last enrolled in
the course.]; or
             Variable unit open entry/open exit credit courses, where a specific portion of the course needs to be repeated as permitted by Title 5 §55044 of the California Code of
Regulations; or
             Courses where satisfactory work has been recorded, but repetition is necessary for a student to meet a legally mandated training or cooperative/occupational work experience requirement (e.g., government-required licensing, certification, recertification) as a condition of paid or volunteer employment. Please note that these courses may be repeated any number of times, and the grade received each time will be included when calculating the student’s grade point average.

 

Repeating a course that a student originally completed with a grade of A (4.0), B (3.0), C (2.0), or P (Pass) will have NO effect on the student’s GPA or units completed.

 If you have received a "D", "F" or "NC" in the same class more than once, please make an appointment with a counselor to discuss your next steps, as you may be eligible for academic renewal.

How can I get information about scholarships?

For information about Scholarships, please visit the website at Scholarship Office or the office located in the Student Service Complex 101.

What is the difference between schools on the semester system vs. quarter system?

Schools on the semester system have two terms per year, not including summer or winter sessions. The fall semester and the spring semester each last between 16 to 18 weeks in length. Schools on the quarter system have three terms per year, not including summer sessions. The fall, winter, and spring quarters are between 10 and 12 weeks in length.

Is SMC's academic calendar on a semester or quarter system?

SMC is on the semester system, and has two 16-week terms, the fall and spring semester. We also have a winter session with classes 6 weeks in length, and a summer session with classes 6 or 8 weeks in length.

All of the UC schools are on the quarter system, with the exception of UC Berkeley, which in on the semester system. Most CSU schools are on the semester system, with the exception of CSU Los Angeles, Cal Poly Pomona, and ? Private schools may be on either the quarter or semester system.

What are the Student Success Standards at Santa Monica College?

Santa Monica College students are expected to take responsibility for meeting the SMC Student Success Standards of “Academic Achievement” and “Timely Progress” as defined below:

Academic Achievement is met by having enrolled in 12 or more units, and by maintaining or exceeding an overall SMC GPA of 2.0 (C average). Your overall SMC GPA includes grades from all SMC courses only, and does not include grades received at other colleges or universities.

Timely Progress is met by completing the required percentage of units in which you have enrolled. After enrolling in at least 12 semester units, a student will be placed on progress probation if the percentage of units in which the student receives a grade of W(withdrawal), I(Incomplete), or NP(No Pass) reaches or exceeds:

  • 50% of units enrolled, after enrolling in 12-30 units
  • 40% of units enrolled, after enrolling in 31 units or more

When students fail to meet the Student Success Standards as outlined above, the student may become placed on academic probation and/or progress probation.

How can I improve my study skills?

One of the best ways to improve your study skills is to enroll in Counseling 1, Study Skills. This 8-week, 1 unit class will help you learn various study skills and strategies for note taking, studying for tests, taking tests, setting goals, and managing time. Counseling 20, Student Success Seminar is a 16-week, 3 unit class that also addresses study skills and includes other information to help you succeed in college.

How can I prepare to transfer to a four-year university?

To prepare to transfer to a four-year university, it is important that you make an appointment with a counselor to discuss the specific requirements for your university and major. You may also want to consult the Transfer Center web site for more information.

How do I transfer classes from another school to SMC?

If you want to transfer classes from another school to SMC, first have your transcripts from that school sent directly to: Santa Monica College, Admissions and Records, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405. You should also always have your own copy of transcripts for reference or use in counseling sessions. A student needs to come in to see a counselor to have their college transcripts evaluated.

Once you have your transcripts, make an appointment with a counselor to determine if your classes count toward an AA degree and/or transfer, and to have an official evaluation completed.

What is a unit?

A unit is the amount of credit you receive for successfully completing a class.

Units also give you a clue about the approximate number of hours the class meets each week. For example, a 1 unit class will meet about one hour per week for the semester, while a 5 unit class will meet about 5 hours per week for the semester.

Units also are an indicator about the level of difficulty of the class. The more difficult the course, the more units you receive for successfully completing that class. For example, you would receive 1 unit for completing a swimming or study skills class, while you would receive 5 units for completing a chemistry or calculus class.

How many units should I take per session?

The number of units you should take per session depends on what other commitments you have in your life, such as work, parenting, etc. It will help you in planning your schedule if you have an idea about how much time you need to dedicate to your classes, so here is a good rule of thumb:

For taking classes in a semester, multiply the number of units you will be taking times 3. That will tell you how many hours you will need each week between going to class and doing homework outside of class. For example, if you are planning on enrolling in 12 units in a semester, you will need 36 hours (12 x 3) each week to dedicate to school - which is almost a full-time job!

Remember, it is not the number of classes that will determine how busy you will be - it is the number of units you enroll in. Taking three classes that total 7 units is very different from taking three classes that total 11 units.

The general guidelines for the number of units you should take in a semester are as follows (the maximum allowed is 16):

40 hours of commitment per week (work, parenting, etc.) - take 3 to 6 units
30 hours per week - 3 to 6 units
20 hours per week - 6 to 9 units
10 hours per week - 9 to 12 units
Fewer than 10 hours per week - 12 to 16 units
Since the Winter and Summer sessions are only 6 or 8 weeks long, the classes are much more condensed, move at a more rapid pace, and meet for more hours during each week.

For taking classes in a shorter session, multiply the number of units you will be taking times 6. That will tell you how many hours you will need each week between going to class and doing homework outside of class. For example, taking 6 units in the summer session means you'll need about 36 hours (6 x 6) each week to dedicate to school - again, almost a full-time job!

The general guidelines for the number of units you should take in a Winter or Summer session are as follows (the maximum allowed is 8):

40 hours of commitment per week (work, parenting, etc.) - 3 units
30 hours per week - 3 units
20 hours per week - 3 to 6 units
10 hours per week - 6 units
Fewer than 10 hours per week - 6 to 8 units

What is the SMC CEEB/ETS Code and the SMC Financial Aid Code?

The SMC CEEB/ETS Code is 004691 and the SMC Financial Aid Code is 001286