​​​​​​​​​​​​Program Information

What is the Scholars Program?

The Scholars Program at Santa Monica College was initially developed with UCLA to maintain the Transfer Allia​nce Program (TAP)​ and assist students to transfer from Santa Monica College to UCLA. TAP is a priority admissions agreement that assists students who are seeking admission into majors offered through UCLA's College of Letters and Science (excluding Communications). UCLA Majors and Minors​

Today there are a number of colleges and universities that also engage in similar agreements with the Scholars Program. A list of partner schools and agreements can be found.​

What are the benefits of being in the Scholars Program?

In addition to allowing student priority admission to select universities, the Scholars Program offers participants the opportunity to take specialized Scholars courses that prepare them for the rigors of university study. Scholars students receive priority enrollment each semester along with workshops intended to prepare students for transfer, as well as access to specialized Counselors. A list of Scholars Program services​.

What are your hours of operation?

The Scholars Program office is located in the Student Services Center, 2nd Floor, Room 287. We are open Monday through Thursday for Counseling, though our office is open until 12:00pm on Fridays.​ Hours​ of operation​​ may vary each semester.  

During COVID-19 remote Counseling in Spring/Summer/Fall 2020, please refer to the Scholars Homepage for drop in hours and appointment scheduling information:  www.smc.edu/scholars 

How are Scholars classes different from other clas​​ses?

The Scholars courses are taught by SMC faculty who are highly recommended by their respective departments and their students. The faculty members require students to demonstrate a mastery of subject matter through writing, research, critical thinking and analysis. In addition, students benefit from a class size limited to 25 students.

What is Priority Enrollment?

Priority enrollment enables continuing Scholars students to enroll within the first week of enrollment. As such, Scholars students have an excellent selection of classes from which to choose. All continuing Scholars students with an up-to-date educational plan are identified and automatically receive priority enrollment dates. Students newly admitted into the program receive priority enrollment only after completing a semester in the program.

What classes are offered in the Scholars Program? How many do I need to take?

There are approximately 50 Scholars classes offered in the fall and spring terms. Approximately 10 classes are offered in the summer and winter sessions. Scholars classes are selected from the IGETC list (UC/CSU general education requirements). Students are required to complete 1 or 2 Scholars courses each semester along with their other courses. A total of 15 units is required to complete the program.

Do I get scholarships if I join? Do you provide information on all scholarships available?

No, however if you are a member of the Scholars Program we may send out emails regarding scholarships that we believe may be of interest to Scholars students. For in-depth information regarding all available scholarships, please visit the Scholarship Office.

Application Process

What are the requirements to join?

You must be eligible for English 1 or have completed English 1. English 1 + 28 will not meet this requirement.  Students coming from high school can also submit AP English test scores of 3 or better in lieu of English 1. You must also have at least a 3.0 (high school) GPA. If you are a continuing college student, you must have completed at least 12 college units with a 3.0 (college) GPA.

What do I need to apply?

The Scholars Program Ap​plication​ must be submitted along with a 500-word essay, a letter of recommendation, proof of English 1 eligibility and transcript copies. Application filing dates are usually October - January for Winter/Spring admission and March - July for Summer/Fall admission. 

Do I have to submit official transcripts? Do I need to submit all of my transcripts? Can they be unofficial?

Students coming from high school will need to submit transcripts covering 9th through 12th grade. If you exited high school early via passing a High School Proficiency Examination (ex: CHSPE), then you will need to submit a copy of your certificate as well as a high school transcript showing courses completed leading up to the proficiency exam.

Students must also submit transcripts for all colleges/universities attended. The Scholars Program will accept unofficial transcripts as part of your application packet. Note: The Scholars Program does not have access to the files in the Office of Admissions and Records. Therefore submitting them to Admissions is not the same as submitting them to Scholars. Be sure to send your official Transcripts to Admissions and your unofficial ones to the Scholars Program.

If I apply to the Scholars Program, am I also applying to SMC at the same time?

Our application process is specifically for the Scholars Program. You will need to apply and submit materials to the Office of Admissions and Records separately in order to be an SMC student. In fact, students must apply to SMC prior to submitting an application to the Scholars Program.

If I'm a part of an Honors/Scholars Program at another college, will that grant me admittance into the Scholars Program at SMC?

No. All students must complete the Scholars application pro​cess for the SMC Scholars Program.

I have 30+ units of transfer work completed. Can I still apply to the Scholars Program?

You may apply to the program; however, the review committee will evaluate your records to see if the Scholars Program is an appropriate fit. Students who have completed most of their general education requirements are not good candidates. Students who have a minimum of 5 IGETC courses to complete are better candidates.

I'm planning to transfer next semester. Can I still apply to the Scholars Program?

Students need to be in the program for a minimum of two semesters by the time they are applying to transfer. Students should be in their second semester with the Scholars Program by the time they are applying to transfer. Remember, students applying to UC schools will be applying in November. Many students try to join the Scholars Program in the same fall term that they will be completing their UC application for transfer. These students are not appropriate for the Scholars Program.

I am not interested in applying to UCLA or to any of the schools with which the Scholars Program has agreements. Can I still join the program?

Yes. If the major is appropriate and you are willing to take the required Scholars classes and maintain the requirements to be in the program, then you may participate in the Scholars Program.

I am an Engineering major. Will the Scholars Program work for me?

No. There are no priority admissions agreements for Engineering majors. Furthermore, the curriculum offered in the Scholars Program does not accommodate the courses required for Engineering majors. However, as an Engineering major, you may be eligible to join the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Program.  You may, however, be eligible for TAP under a non-impacted alternate major in the College of Letters and Science.

I am a Nursing Major. Will the Scholars Program work for me?

No. There are no priority admissions agreements for Nursing majors. Furthermore, the curriculum offered in the Scholars Program does not accommodate the courses required for Nursing majors.  You may, however, be eligible for TAP under a non-impacted alternate major in the College of Letters and Science.

I am a Film/Theater/Dance major. Will the Scholars Program work for me?

No. There are no priority admissions agreements for these majors. Understand that admission to these majors often requires students to show proof of ability through an interview, portfolio or audition.  You may, however, be eligible for TAP under a non-impacted alternate major in the College of Letters and Science.

How will I know if I've been accepted into the Scholars Program?

All Scholars Program communications will be sent to your SMC email address. Students are notified within 2-3 weeks of submitting a complete application packet.

New Scholars Students

I've been accepted into the Scholars Program. Now what?

All students who have been newly accepted in the program must attend a mandatory Scholars Program Orientation. Attending the orientation and signing the program contract is the final step in becoming a Scholars Program student. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program. In addition, students are not able to schedule appointments with Scholars counselors until the orientation has been completed.

Do I have to take all 15 units at once?

No. Students new to the program are required to take at least 2 Scholars classes their first semester. For subsequent semesters, one Scholars class is the minimum required to remain in good standing.

Continuing Scholars Students

How many Scholars courses do I have to complete

Students must complete 15 unites of Scholars courses, over a minimum of two full semesters, and they must be completed or in the process of being completed by the time students are applying to transfer. Students filing UC applications in November must complete their Scholars courses during that same fall semester. They may not complete the Scholars units during the following winter or spring terms because the certification must be completed before the winter and spring sessions are complete.


What is the TAP program?

the Transfer Allian​ce Pro​gram​ is a collaboration between local community college Honors/Scholars Programs and UCLA's College of Letters and Science. The program is designed to encourage academic excellence at the community college level and to promote diversity and retention in the UCLA transfer population. Scholars students who are TAP certified receive priority consideration for admission to UCLA's College of Letters and Science. If admitted, TAP students are eligible to apply for scholarships reserved for the Transfer Alliance Program.

Am I guaranteed admission to UCLA if I complete the TAP requirements through the SMC Scholars Program?

No. TAP certification guarantees priority consideration; it is not a guaranteed admissions agreement. TAP certified student must be competitive for the major to which they are applying. Those who do not meet the GPA and major preparation requirements will be denied admission to UCLA even if they are TAP certified.

Does UCLA have any guaranteed admission agreements for community college students?

No. UCLA, UCB and UCSD do not offer guaranteed admissions programs for community college students. However, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Merced, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside do offer Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAG).

Does the TAP agreement work for all majors at UCLA?

No. It only works with the majors in the College of Letters and Science (excluding Communications). The priority admission does not extend to the majors in the five other undergraduate schools at UCLA. However, certification for non-College of Letters and Science majors such as Engineering, Nursing, Arts and Architecture, or Theater, Film and Television can be obtained if the student completes the prerequisites for an appropriate alternate major in the College of Letters and Science.

Scholars Program Counseling

When can I schedule an appointment to speak with a Scholars counselor?

Counseling appointments are made available every Wednesday for the following week. To schedule an appointment, you can either come in to the Scholars Program office beginning at 9 am on Wednesdays or call our Front Desk at 310-434-4371 beginning at 10 am on Wednesdays. Only current members of the Scholars Program are permitted to make appointments. If you are prospective Scholars student, we encourage you to attend an Information S​ession​ with a Scholars Counselor. If you are new to the Scholars Program, you may schedule an appointment once you have attended the mandatory Scholars Program Orientation.

What's the difference between drop-in and counseling appointments?

Drop-in sessions are 5-10 minutes long and are intended to address any quick questions a Scholars student might have. For the list of available drop-in times, please see the bulletin board in the Scholars Program office. Weekly drop-in availability is posted every Monday morning.

Counseling appointments are 30-minute meetings with a Scholars counselor to discuss in-depth education planning, transferring, program issues, etc. Students entering their first semester in the Scholars Program should schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor early in their initial semester to discuss their education plan and coursework. Continuing students should meet with their counselor before enrollment each semester to verify their upcoming class schedules as well as in ample time to complete their application to the university to which they will plan transfer.

During COVID-19 remote Counseling in Spring/Summer/Fall 2020, please refer to the Scholars Homepage for drop in and appointment scheduling information:  www.smc.edu/scholars 


What happens if my GPA falls below 3.0?

Students whose GPA is in jeopardy of falling below a 3.0 should immediately make an appointment with a Scholars counselor. The counselor can help the student assess the situation and formulate a plan. The counselor will also make recommendations regarding the student's status in the program.

What if I don't take any Scholars classes?

Students must consistently take Scholars courses in order to remain in the program. The program requires that students enroll in Scholars courses during the spring and fall sessions. Enrollment is not required during the winter and summer sessions.

I received a probation letter, what do I do?

Students may receive a probation letter for several different reasons. If you received a probation letter, contact the Scholars Program office and make an appointment with a counselor immediately.

I've been dismissed from the program, do I have to reapply?

Maybe. Students should contact the Scholars​ Program office. The office personnel will determine the status of the student's application and file.


What if I have been reported to Judicial Affairs for Academic Dishonesty?

Violation of SMC's Rules for Student Conduct (AR 4410), the Code of Academic Conduct (AR 4411), and/or the Honor Code (AR 4412) will prevent students from being admitted into the program and will be grounds for dismissal of continuing Scholars Program students.​