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16 Things You Need To Know To TAG To A UC

16 Things You Need to Know to TAG to a UC

Post Series: By the Numbers

UC TAG for fall 2018 transfer applicants is now available online.

TAG, for the uninitiated, means Transfer Admission Guarantee — and yes, it means exactly what it says — guaranteed admission to one of six UCs:  Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara or Santa Cruz. (UC Berkeley, UCLA and San Diego do not offer TAG.)

So, here’s how guaranteed admission works (all relevant links are at the bottom of this page):


1. You must currently be attending a California Community College (CCC).

You can be a CA resident, an international student with a visa, or from out-of-state, but you must be directly transferring from a CCC.


2. You must fulfill the definition of a CCC student.


This means by the end of the final spring term, you must complete at least 30 UC-transferable semester (45 qtr) units from one or more CCC — and the last college attended in a regular year session must be at a CCC.


3.  TAG non-eligibility 

You are not eligible for TAG if you already have a Bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree, or a professional degree. If you were previously enrolled at a UC (not including summer) you cannot TAG the UC you attended. You also cannot currently be enrolled in high school.


4. Completing the TAG application

The TAG application is available online from Sept 1-30.  You choose one UC to TAG. Keep in mind you must also submit the regular UC application during its application window of November 1-30.


5. Which term does TAG apply?

It applies for the following fall term only.  (Exception is Merced, which also has a spring TAG with a May 1-30 application window. See bottom of page for details.)


6. TAG approval is conditional

Most of the six UCs let you know of conditional approval in early November. (Currently, Irvine does not send out notices.)  The approval is based on your fulfilling all the remaining coursework and GPA requirements per the TAG agreement for that UC.


7. Does conditional mean it’s not a guarantee?

TAG approval is a guarantee assuming you fulfill the contract stipulations through the end of spring term. Possible reasons for rejection might include: getting a D or F in any subsequent term; falling below the minimum cumulative GPA requirement for the specific TAG; not fulfilling major requirements; under 60 semester/90 qtr units by final spring term. (At the end of this page are links to each UC TAG contract. Be sure to study the rules carefully.)


8. What happens if I am rejected from TAG

If your TAG application is rejected you are funneled over into the regular application pool. And BTW, if you’re TAG is approved, you are not obligated to attend that UC.  


9. Majors excluded from TAG

Some UCs have majors that are excluded from TAG.

Davis – Landscape Architecture (you can apply via TAG but are accepted into pre-landscape architecture and it is not a guarantee you will be admitted into the major as there are additional requirements at Davis);  Textile and Clothing; and Fiber and Polymer Science
Irvine – Business Administration; Cognitive Science; Dance; Music; Nursing
Merced – English; Global Arts and Studies; Public Health; Spanish
Riverside – Art (studio)
Santa Barbara – all majors in College of Creative Studies and College of Engineering; plus Dance; Music; Theatre

(This list is subject to change to be sure to check the matrix, below.)


10. TAG unit limits

The total UC-transferable units from a CCC or any non-CCC (U.S.or international) cannot go over the ceiling limits set by each UC. If all your units by end of spring term are lower division, you will not hit the ceiling so don’t worry.  Upper division courses, however, can place you above the ceiling limits.  (See the Transfer Unit Maximums by UC..)  Keep in mind that Davis currently will consider more than 80 semester units for College of Engineering.


11. TAG pre-qualifications

In order to submit a TAG you must have completed 30 UC-transferable semester units (45 quarter) by end of summer before the TAG application. These courses can be entirely from a CCC or from any mix of colleges. AP credit also counts. Keep in mind, though, by end of spring term you need 30 UC-transferable semester units from a CCC.

Special Davis rule:  To TAG Davis you are required to be a full-time student (12 semester units) from the spring before the TAG through fall and final spring.  That’s three terms! They claim to allow exceptions at their discretion for working or similar situations.

I do not like this policy. TAG should not have vague loopholes. At their discretion is a loaded term. That’s not the purpose of TAG. All the other UCs have a crystal clear policy wth no gray areas. I have seen people get declined by Davis after being told on the phone by a Davis TAG rep that their part-time student status was fine. (Bring it on Davis – I have one set of records: 4.0 with all coursework and units completed, 30 hr work week, with the notice that rejection was due to part-time status.)  Rules should be clear, not arbitrary. My suggestion — if you are NOT a full-time student for three terms do not TAG Davis.

If you choose to TAG Davis and are a part-time student  be sure to note it clearly in the TAG application. TAGs, once declined, cannot be appealed.


12. Minimum UC-transferable units


By end of spring term after you TAG you must complete at least 60 semester/90 quarter UC-transferable units or your TAG (and regular UC application, for that matter) will be rejected. Summer courses after that final spring term do not count.


13.  Minimum GPA required to TAG

By the end of summer before you TAG in September you must meet the minimum cumulative GPA as established by each UC. Additionally, some selective majors have higher GPA minimums. These cumulative GPA’s must be held steady through the end of the final CCC term or you will lose the TAG. (See the rules by campus, below, to ascertain your minimums.)


14. The two English course requirement

Davis – Both English courses must be completed by the fall when you apply
Irvine –  End of summer prior to TAG application for the first; end of spring for the second
Merced – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second
Riverside – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second
Santa Barbara – Both English courses must be completed by the fall when you apply
Santa Cruz – Fall for the first; end of spring for the second


15. Math requirement

The required math course must be completed by fall for all six UCs.


16. Is IGETC required for TAG

No, it is not required, except for Riverside’s School of Business Administration, which requires IGETC as an admission requirement.



Stay alert:

Make sure the major you pick in your TAG application matches the major chosen for the same UC in the November application. If they don’t match, the TAG will be voided.


UC TAG Matrix

By campus:
Davis TAG
Irvine TAG
Merced TAG
Riverside TAG
Santa Barbara TAG
Santa Cruz TAG

More from CA College Transfer

Lindy King

CA College Transfer offers college admissions services to students hoping to transfer to a UC. Lindy King is the author of the best-selling UC transfer book, “How to Transfer to a UC from a California Community College,” now in its 2nd edition. Available on Amazon and iTunes.

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