No community college in the state of California successfully transfers more students into the elite University of California system than Santa Monica College, and it doesn't take much time on this sun-splashed campus to see why.
Even before students arrive here, they are surrounded with messages designed to encourage their move to a four-year school after they finish a two-year degree. The school's ubiquitous ads on Santa Monica city buses announce that it is "No. 1 in transfers." Its expansive counseling department nudges students to map out an academic plan for transfer almost as soon as they step on campus. The school's administration has pressed professors and academic department leaders to bang the gong about pursuing a four-year degree. "If you walk into the athletic department," says Daniel Nannini, the coordinator of the school's Transfer Center, "they can talk to you about transfer."