Letter from the Director

Welcome to the third edition of the ASSIST Transfer Channel, a semi-annual newsletter for counselors, advisors, faculty, evaluators, articulation officers, and everyone else who is interested in the latest information about ASSIST.

We're e-mailing this edition via the new ASSIST-Channel-L@uci.edu e-mail listserv and we would appreciate your forwarding it on to any others at your campus who you think might be interested. We've also posted a copy on the ASSIST Information Center. If anyone would like to have future editions of the ASSIST Transfer Channel automatically delivered to their e-mail, please check out the Subscribe section of this edition for instructions.

This edition includes another special section for students titled "Articulated vs. Transferable" that helps to clarify and differentiate these two important terms for students preparing to transfer. Feel free to print copies of this article and hand them out in transfer centers and other key places on campus.

In March 2005, the ASSIST Exploring Majors feature became even more useful to California students, counselors, and transfer advisors when we activated new data and programming so that all CSU campuses and their majors are now included. With complete listings of all UC and CSU campus majors (and links to any articulation established with respective community colleges), this feature provides exciting new ways to compare majors across the state and more easily access related course articulation. If you haven't explored all of the main paths through this component of ASSIST (majors, university campuses, and community colleges), I encourage you to do so. Each path provides helpful tools that you can use when advising transfer students. ASSIST Coordination Site staff will be demonstrating the ASSIST Exploring Majors feature at all of the fall 2005 CSU and UC community college counselor conferences.

As some of you may already know, during this coming October and November a professional research company will be conducting an ASSIST-user-needs assessment. This study will collect information from students, counselors, and other ASSIST users on a variety of topics to help guide future improvements to ASSIST. Once the ASSIST Board receives the report of findings, we will publish it on the ASSIST Information Center Web site so that anyone who is interested can read it. This information will be key to developing new plans for the 2006-2008 ASSIST Strategic Plan. If you don't get called to participate in the study directly, feel free to e-mail me at eric@assist.org with your ideas for improving ASSIST.

Lastly, I know that all of you are following developments with CSU's new Lower Division Transfer Patterns (LDTP) initiative. One aspect of LDTP will be specific college-to-university course articulation for LDTP statewide and campus-specific major preparation requirements. Since ASSIST is California's official repository of course articulation, CSU has already committed to all LDTP course articulation being stored and presented in ASSIST. We are working with an intersegmental advisory group to determine precisely how this new course articulation is to be presented and we will share this information broadly once it is established.

Thanks for your continued support of ASSIST and please feel free to contact any of us at (949) 824-4385 if you have comments or questions. You can tune into the next edition of the ASSIST Transfer Channel in Spring 2006 - until then...

Eric Taggart
ASSIST Coordination Site


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Articulated vs. Transferable

It seems like a simple question, one that should get a simple yes or no answer.

Is my course transferable?

And if that's the right question to ask, the answer is simple. Too many times, though, it's not the right question. The right question might be:

Is my course articulated?

There's an important difference between those two terms, transferable and articulated, but they often get used as if they're interchangeable. Let's take a look at both, so when you talk to your counselor or look up information in ASSIST, you can be sure you're asking the right questions or looking for the right information.

I'm going to concentrate on transferability and articulation in terms of transferring from a community college to a UC or CSU campus, since this is the emphasis in ASSIST.

Transferable Courses

A transferable course is a course taken at a community college that can be used for unit credit at a university. The fact that a course is transferable does not necessarily mean it applies toward your major or other academic goal. It simply means the university will give a certain number of units as credit for completing the course. The units may count toward the total needed to transfer or graduate; they may be units you need for general education or your major; they may apply toward some other academic goal.

To use ASSIST to see if a community college course is transferable for unit credit:

  1. Go to www.assist.org.
  2. Choose the community college on the first screen.
  3. On the second screen, click one of these links:
  4. You can then choose a department, or all departments.

Many times students will ask about the transferability of their courses using phrases like "transferable as..." or "transferable for..." A better way to ask that question would be to ask if a course is articulated.

Articulated Courses

All articulated courses are transferable, but most transferable courses are not articulated.

An articulated course is a course taken at one college or university that can be used to satisfy specific subject matter requirements, such as lower-division major preparation or general education requirements at another college or university.

Sequences of courses can also be articulated, and sometimes it may take more than one community college course to take the place of a single university course, or sometimes a single college course can be used in place of more than one university course.

You can't tell if courses are articulated by looking at course numbers, titles, or even descriptions in the catalogs. The only way you can tell if and how a course is articulated is by looking at an articulation agreement.

Articulation agreements are formal agreements between two campuses. Articulation agreements in ASSIST are developed and entered into the ASSIST database by the receiving campus (the university campus in our examples). Each university campus is responsible for all of the details of its own articulation.

To use ASSIST to see if a course is articulated:

  1. Go to www.assist.org.
  2. Choose either the college or the university campus on the first screen.
  3. On the second screen, choose the other institution.
  4. On the next screen, you can choose a major, a department, or General Education, depending on how the university formats its articulation.

Not all university campuses provide articulation with every college or for all of their majors or departments. Many university campuses concentrate on their primary feeder colleges and their most popular transfer majors. That doesn't mean you can't transfer. It means that you need to talk directly to an admissions advisor and a departmental advisor at the university.

Each university campus will have different articulation with different colleges, even when they are colleges in the same district. For example, Foothill College and DeAnza College have different articulation agreements, even though they're sister colleges. You also can't assume that a community college course will be accepted the same way at different campuses of the same university system. UCLA, for example, does not automatically use a course the same way that UCSD does.

Another point that can be confusing is that articulation is not necessarily reciprocal. This is especially important to know when transferring from one university campus to another. If San Francisco State accepts a course from CSU East Bay in place of one of their own, CSU East Bay does not automatically use the course from San Francisco State in the same way.

To Wrap Up...

The details about articulation, and transfer in general, can be very confusing, which is why it's absolutely critical that you talk to your community college counselor, Transfer Center advisor, an admissions advisor, and a departmental advisor at the university campus you plan to attend.

And when you ask your advisors questions, remember to ask the right ones. It's important to know if your course is transferable, but it's also important to ask the next question: "Is my course articulated?"


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Ever Changing Curriculum

Course information is at the heart of all the transfer information that ASSIST provides to students. Every college and university participating in ASSIST enters information about curriculum changes into ASSIST. It is this information that allows us to provide accurate articulation and transfer information to our users.

The majority of curriculum changes occur in the fall. The following course statistics are for the fall 2005 curriculum which shows just how dynamic the curriculum is at our public institutions:

All of these course additions and changes must be reviewed by articulation staff and have the potential, along with major requirement changes, to change existing articulation agreements.

This kind of activity is typical each year. Maintaining articulation agreements and staying on top of curriculum changes is a constant job. Our hope is that ASSIST continues to serve the articulation community in keeping up with theses changes so that students can easily find the information they need to succeed in their college careers.


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Printing ASSIST Reports

We often hear that ASSIST reports are not printed in a format that is easy to read and use. We are told that the heading information is missing, the lines are not wrapping properly, or the report elements don't fit nicely on one page. These issues are almost always resolved by the PDF version of the report. This article walks you through the few short steps to printing ASSIST reports that are formatted specifically for use as printed documents.

After making choices in ASSIST about the type of transfer information you want to see, an ASSIST report is displayed. The transfer information is shown in HTML format (shown below) to make it easy to navigate long reports on the Web and to keep heading information visible while viewing the entire report.

This HTML report, however, is not good for printing because limited heading information appears only at the top of the first printed page, footers are displayed only at the end of the report, and the pages are not numbered.

At the top of an ASSIST report, there are two large orange buttons:

Click the Print This Report button to generate a PDF version of the report for printing (shown below).

The PDF version includes proper formatting for printed reports, which means that it includes heading information, footers, and page numbers on each page. Now that the report is in a printable format, click the printer icon in the top border of the window where the report is displayed, or choose Print from the File menu. In either case, the familiar print window is displayed where you make choices about which printer to use, which pages to print, etc.

That's all there is to it.

Adobe Reader must be installed on your computer to display and print PDF files. Adobe Reader is a free plug-in available from the Adobe Web site. It is very simple to download and install, but if you're uncomfortable installing the plug-in, ask the technical support person at your campus for help.


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User Survey Results

In May, 2005, ASSIST conducted its first ever User Satisfaction Survey with an online survey for Web users. We heard from a variety of ASSIST users. The Majority of respondents were students, but we also heard from community college counselors and university academic advisors, evaluators, and other college and university staff. In all, 236 users took the time to tell us their thoughts about ASSIST.

Here are some of the results from that survey:

People came to ASSIST for a variety of reasons, including:
Users heard about ASSIST from the following sources:
Users looked for information contained in all of the different ASSIST reports:

A full report of the results of the survey will be available on the ASSIST Information Center later this fall. The User Satisfaction Survey will be an annual activity and will be available online again next spring. We hope you will take the time to give us your feedback regarding our Web site and services.


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On Campus

The On Campus feature looks at transfer programs and practices at colleges and universities throughout the state. Each issue of the ASSIST Transfer Channel will focus on a different college or university. In this issue, Stephanie Samuels talks about articulation at San Diego State University and offers suggestions for helping students succeed with ASSIST.

Stephanie Samuels has been the articulation officer in the Office of Advising and Evaluations at San Diego State University for seven years. For 10 years before serving as articulation officer at SDSU, she worked in the Office of Advising with freshman and transfer admissions and graduation evaluations. Stephanie is also the current CSU representative on the ASSIST
Board of Directors and the Region X Representative for SCIAC.

Some things in life you can count on, like gas prices increasing and losing your cell phone connection. On the up side, something else you can count on is the accuracy of the information in ASSIST.

San Diego State University (SDSU) and other universities and community colleges in California work diligently on behalf of students to provide official articulation information in ASSIST. Last year alone SDSU had major preparation and course-to-course articulation agreements for 55 colleges. And for each of those colleges, SDSU provides major preparation agreements for 94 majors! For 05/06, SDSU plans on establishing agreements with more colleges as the Lower Division Transfer Patterns (LDTP) project gets underway.

Since SDSU is an impacted campus (a very popular CSU for students), students transferring to SDSU need to complete GE certification and major preparation courses offered at their community colleges. They also need to meet the impaction criteria for admission. All of this information is available to students in ASSIST. In the past, articulation information was only available to students through academic advisors. While students should always seek the advice of a counselor when choosing courses, ASSIST gives students the opportunity to review college and university requirements and explore majors. Surprisingly, there are still students who are not using this valuable tool. SDSU encourages students to use ASSIST to learn about the requirements of their chosen educational path. 

One of the more common mistakes students make when using ASSIST, however, is that they choose an academic year that does not apply to their coursework. This leads to incorrect assumptions regarding course equivalencies and transferability. Students using ASSIST must choose the semester/year in which they complete their coursework. For example, if a student completes a course in the fall 2004 semester, the 2004-2005 articulation agreement should be selected in ASSIST. Since articulated courses often change from year to year as a result of curriculum changes at community colleges or universities, the most current articulation information available, 05-06 for example, may be different from the agreement for 2004. It is important that students choose the correct academic year so they do not mistakenly think courses articulate when they do not.

Colleges, universities, counselors, and students - we all want the same thing. We want students completing courses at community colleges that will fulfill requirements so they are able to transfer in approximately two years.  None of us wants students to take courses they think are the appropriate courses and then later discover that they don't apply to GE or fulfill their major preparation required at their intended university. 

Going through college is difficult enough without having to worry about sitting in the right class. Students can count on ASSIST to help eliminate some of their worries.  Well, except for those midterm exams!

Stephanie Samuels
SDSU Articulation Officer


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ASSIST Usage Update

Use of the main ASSIST Web site continues to increase. May 2005 was our busiest month ever. Over 117,000 people used ASSIST to request over 840,000 articulation reports and our server computers handled over five million site hits during more than 410,000 site visits. We're getting ready for October and November 2005 when we expect usage to grow to even higher levels as students plan for the spring term.

Even though our usage numbers look high, there are still far too many students who don't know about ASSIST. We rely on college and university counselors, advisors, faculty, students, and others to spread the word. We encourage every college and university to include references to ASSIST on their campus Web sites and in catalogs, schedules of classes, and other resources that transfer students often use. To help out we have a page on the ASSIST Information Center that includes some standard language about ASSIST along with a number of graphic images your campus may want to consider using. Feel free to contact Doug Koeppen in our office if there's anything else that we might be able to provide to help add more references to ASSIST throughout your campus.


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Subscribing to the ASSIST Transfer Channel is easy. Click this link and fill in your
e-mail address and a password. That's all there is to it. Look for next edition of the ASSIST Transfer Channel in February, 2006.


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