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The College System: FAQ

Link to questions and answers to learn more about UCSD's college system.

Do I have to select a college?

Yes. If you do not rank your preference among the colleges when you apply for admission, you will be assigned to a college by Admissions.

Will my college choice affect whether I am admitted to UCSD?

No. Admissions determines first if you are admissible to UCSD. Then, admitted students are assigned to the colleges.

Should I pick my college based on my major?

No. Every college has students from all the majors offered at UCSD. In any case, many students change their majors once they discover the wide array of options they have at UCSD.

Does my college choice affect my post-graduate opportunities and career plans?

Not at all—students from every college go on to a wide variety of graduate programs, professional schools, and careers.

Will my college choice affect my time to degree?

No. Academic advisors in each college have developed four-year plans for all majors. Time to degree depends mainly on factors such as the number of units a student chooses to complete per academic quarter. That’s true for engineering students, too.

Will I get my first choice of college?

Most students are placed in their first or second choice, sometimes their third choice. Therefore, rank your college choices carefully.

Can I switch to a different college?

In practice, the overwhelming majority of students are happy with their college assignment, even if it was not their first choice originally, and few students apply to switch. Petitions to transfer between colleges are difficult to justify and approved only in exceptional cases. To qualify, you must complete your originally assigned college’s writing program, demonstrate that switching to a different college will substantially shorten your time to degree, and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5 with a specified number of completed units.

Will I get to know students from other colleges or only from my college?

Almost all your classes will include students from all colleges. The only exceptions are your own college’s core courses and writing courses. If you participate in campuswide organizations (e.g, the Associated Students government, 400 or more all-campus organizations, or intramural or intercollegiate athletics teams), the other participants will be from all six colleges.

Will I take classes only in my college neighborhood?

No. Actually, classrooms are spread throughout the UCSD campus, so your classroom could be located in any of the college neighborhoods.

Do I graduate from my college or from UCSD?

Both. The name of your college and UCSD's name appear on your diploma, so no matter which college you attend, your UCSD degree will be one of the most prestigious of any public university in the United States.