For Students > Support Programs > Counseling/Online Advising/Orientation > Frequently Asked Questions

Associated Students of Mendocino College




When starting college fro the first time or returning after a period of absence, students need answers that will help them make the most of thier college expericence. The following material attempts to answer some of the basic questions that arise Counseling and other Student Services departments. This information is not a substitution for a counseling appointment, but will help you with your specific questions during your meeting with an academic counselor.

Getting Started">Getting Started

College Success

Choosing a College

Units and Grades

Choosing a Major


Associate Degrees and Certificates

Career Counseling

Student Education Plans

Personal Counseling




What do I need to do to be eligible for Mendocino College?

Your are eligible to enroll if you are 18 years of age or older. You do not need a high school diploma, a GED or have passed the high school proficiency test. If you are a current high school or pre-high school student you may also be able to enroll under the special admissions porcess.

Students must fill out the Mendocino College Admission Application. you may submit this on-line or turn it in to one of our three locations: Ukiah Campus Admission and Records, Willits Center, or Lake Center.

back to top

What does it cost to attend Mendocino College?

Mendocin oCollege (and all other California Communit Colleges) requires tuition in order to enroll in classes. There are other fees for enrollment as well. All the fees at Mendocino College are much less than those for state colleges and universities.

In addition, there are the costs of books which can be $20 - $500 per semester, (depending on the class), transportation, meals, lodging, ect. Cost vary depending on the number of units taken and how much the books cost.

back to top

How can I afford college?

The Mendocino College Financial Aid Department distributes over $6 million in aid annually to about 50% of our students. The aid can be grant (which does not need to be repaid), work study (which can be worked off on campus), or loan (which is low interest and doesn't accumulate interest or need to be repaid until after you graduate). The amount and composition of your financial aid package depends on your (or your parents') need and income but a "full need" student can receive up to $11,000 from Mendocino College. You may also qualify for a Board of Governor's Waiver (BOGW), which waives almost all fees for California residents. You may apply for BOGW whether or not you are a financial aid recipient. There are also scholarships and part time jobs available.

back to top

What is assessment and how do I know what English/Math classes to take?

If you are planning to take an English or math course or a course with an English or math prerequisite, you must take assessment or placement tests unless you are exempt. Placement tests in English and math help you to be placed in the appropriate level courses where you can be successful.

You are exempt if you already have an AA degree or if you can document on the Prerequisite Course Equivalency Form that you have (1) prior college level English or Algebra courses or (2) previous college assessment within the last 3 years with course recommendations.

If you want to take an English course at Mendocino College, you will need to first take the assessment test for English, unless you have already taken an English course at another college. If you plan to earn an Associate Degree or transfer to a 4-year college, you will need to take at least one English class at Mendocino College. It is highly recommended that all degree and transfer students take the English assessment before meeting with a Mendocino College counselor to plan your class schedule. Since reading and writing skills are important to virtually every college course, even students not planning on a degree or transfer should also consider taking the English assessment.

If you passed Algebra I (2 semesters) or any higher math class in high school or another college, you may submit your transcript to place into a math class at Mendocino College if you earned a "C" or better. If not, then you will need to take the math assessment test prior to enrolling in a math class at Mendocino College. Plan to bring your transcript with you when you meet with a counselor to plan your schedule or take the assessment test beforehand.

Even if you can use your high school transcript for math placement, you may choose to take the assessment test instead. Many students who passed high school math classes with a "C" or low "B" are not ready to move up to the next higher level in college. College math classes starting with elementary algebra move about twice as fast as the same course in high school.

back to top

How and when do I schedule the Assessment Test?

If you are a high school student in Lake or Mendocino counties, you may be able to take the Assessment Test at your high school. Check with your high school counselor or other staff at your school.

If you are not a high school student in our area or your high school does not offer the test, you can take the test by scheduling an appointment at the Learning Center on the main campus in Ukiah (468-3046), the Lake Center (263-4944), or Willits Center (459-6224).

Take the Assessment Test prior to meeting with a Mendocino College counselor to plan your class schedule for the semester.

back to top

College scares me do I get any help with the transition?

There is no reason to be concerned. As described in the previous STEP SHEET , we have an orientation video as part of the assessment process as well as more complete group orientations. Orientation familiarizes you with college policies, programs and services and the group orientation actually walks you through the registration process. Group orientation will also entitle you to priority registration so you can register for classes before most other new students. In addition, you can take our Guidance classes which cover areas such as transition to college, study skills, career exploration, test anxiety, etc.

back to top

What is priority registration and how do I get it?

Priority registration allows you to register for classes before other incoming students and helps assure that you have first choice of the classes and sections you want. It is given to certain targeted groups such as DRC (disability resource center) students and EOPS (educationally and financially disadvantaged). You may also be entitled to priority registration by participating in group orientation.

back  to top

I've attended other community colleges and universities or taken high school A.P. courses... how can I get credit for them at MC?

Be sure to complete the form "Transfer Work Evaluation Request", available from the Ukiah Admissions and Records Office or the Willits/Lake Center Desks, and request an official copy of your transcript from your previous schools. Bring them in unopened or have them sent directly to the Admissions and Records Office. Please remember to obtain a copy of the transcript for yourself and bring it to your counseling appointment so that your counselor can review it with you. In order to receive college credit for the A.P. courses taken in high school, you need to submit you're A.P. exam score report to Admissions and Records.

bac k to top

How do I add and drop a course?

You may add and drop by the TelReg system or at the Admissions and Records counter or at the Willits or Lakeport Centers. Adding a semester-long class can occur during the first 2 weeks of the semester if the class is open. During the second week, a teacher's signature is required; therefore you have to add at the counter. You can drop a class through the first 75% of the semester; check the academic calendar in the front of the schedule for an exact deadline. Dropping does not require a signature. A Late-Start Class may be added without a teacher's signature before the class starts and if it is open.

back to top

What if I do not formally drop or withdraw from a course?

There is a strong possibility of receiving failing grades on your permanent record. It is better to formally withdraw or drop courses.

back to top 

What is an elective class versus a requirement?

Required classes are those that are specifically needed to meet general education, major, or degree requirements. Elective classes are those that are not specifically required. However, you may use the units earned for elective courses to help meet the total of 60 units needed for an Associate Degree.

back to top

What classes should I take how many what is full-time status?

For help in deciding which classes to take, call the Counseling Office in Ukiah (468-3048), the Lake Center (263-4944), or Willits (459-6224) to schedule an appointment. Class choices depend on several factors such as your goals in college, your interests, your academic skills, the quantity of time you have outside of family or work responsibilities, etc. If you are applying for financial aid or are an EOPS student or athlete, you may be required to enroll in a certain number of units. There is no official maximum. A course load over 9 units must be approved by a counselor, and a course load over 18 units is strongly discouraged and requires special approval by a counselor.

The minimum number of units per semester to be considered a full-time student is twelve. However, if you want to complete an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree in four semesters, you will need to average fifteen units per semester.

back to top

Can I take courses both in the daytime and in the evening and at different locations?

back to top

What are the differences between Community Colleges, UC, CSU, and private colleges? How do I decide which one is best for me?

Colleges and universities vary greatly in the type of programs offered, entrance requirements, and costs.

The 108 California Community Colleges are 2-year, publicly-funded colleges with a wide-ranging mission of vocational training, preparation for transfer to 4-year colleges, development of basic skills, and providing general interest courses. They offer AA/AS degrees and certificates and are the only public colleges offering vocational training. Anyone over 18 or with a high school degree is eligible. Current Mendocino College Enrollement Fees .

The University of California (UC) system has 9 general campuses and is a publicly-funded research institution which provides undergraduate and graduate courses through the PhD degree or professional school (law, medicine, engineering ). The requirements for entry to UC are easier from community college (a minimum of 2.4 GPA with 60 transferable units) than from high school (top 12% of California high school graduates based on test scores and GPA in the A-F pattern of courses). Education Fees are currently about $3500 per year, not including other fees, food and housing, books, transportation, etc.

The California State University (CSU) system has 23 publicly-funded campuses and provides undergraduate and graduate courses through the Master's degree. Eligibility is limited to the top third of California high schools graduates as shown by test scores and grade point in a proscribed set of classes or a 2.0 GPA in 56 transferable community college units. Education fees are currently about $2000 per year, excluding other fees and expenses.

There are also over sixty private colleges and universities in California. Their academic programs, entry requirements and costs vary, but since they are not publicly funded, their Education Fees are normally $15,000-$20,000 per year, excluding other expenses.

A large part of these costs may be met by Financial Aid for qualified students since the determination of need includes all fees. Most colleges, especially private colleges, also offer scholarship aid based on academic merit rather than "need."

Your counselor can assist you in choosing the college that best fits your educational goals and personal situation. Information is also available at the Transfer Center.

back to top


What is a major?

back to top

I'm really undecided about a major. How should I choose and when?

You may be "less undecided" than you think! Often, students know of many majors they are NOT interested in, so you may have narrowed the field considerably without even realizing it. Choosing a major has a lot to do with what topics interest you, what values are important to you, what skills you have or would like to have, even your personality style. Exploring your potential career options is a first step, as described in the section above. Knowing what majors are available is also a way to brainstorm areas you might find interest so check our catalog or the catalogs from 4-year colleges you may want to attend.

back to top


What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree? Which ones does MC offer? What are the requirements?

An AS degree, or Associate of Science degree, is awarded for majors that are vocational or technical in nature. An AA degree, or Associate of Arts degree, is awarded for majors that are considered liberal arts related. Check the Mendocino College Catalog for a list of programs and requirements and discuss them with a counselor.

To earn an Associate Degree, a student needs to complete a minimum of 60 semester units of degree-level college courses with at least a 2.0 grade point average. These units must be used to meet specific requirements in the following categories:

Major Requirements - This varies from 18 - 39 units depending on the major. See Degrees and Programs on our website or refer to the Mendocino College Catalog for specific course requirements for each major.

Competency Requirements in mathematics, written expression, and reading

Institutional Requirements in cross-cultural studies and health education

General Education (GE) Requirements.


Here is an example showing units required for Associate Degrees in two different majors:

Example A Example B

GE, Institutional, & Competency Req. 21 21

Major Requirements 18 39

Electives 21 0

------------ ------------

Total units 60 60

As you can see from this example, the more units required by a particular major, the fewer units of electives required to reach the total of 60 units needed for the degree.

For a full explanation of specific degree requirements, refer to the Mendocino College Catalog.

back to top

How is a certificate different from an AA/AS degree, which ones does MC offer, and what are the requirements?

A certificate is a recognition that you have trained for an occupation or in a set of skills. It does not require general education courses, but rather focuses on vocational skills. Certificates usually require 18-24 units; some more, some fewer. You may also be able to apply coursework taken for a certificate to a later degree. Check the Mendocino College Catalog for a list of Certificates and their requirements and discuss them with a counselor.

back to top

Do I need a major to get an Associate Degree? Can I just complete the general education requirements and still get a degree?

You must complete the requirements for a specific major in order to graduate with an Associate Degree. See our catalog for the complete list of associate degree majors and requirements. Students interested in a more general major often choose liberal arts or general studies. Talk with your counselor to see which major best fits your goals. Certain financial aid and benefit programs may require you to declare a major. Transfer schools and universities often require you to apply in a particular major as well.

back to top


What is a Student Education Plan (SEP) and do I need one?

Yes, you need one! A SEP or Student Education Plan is like a personal map that you develop with your counselor. The SEP "map" is designed to illustrate what courses you should complete semester by semester in order to successfully meet your educational goal. If you have an educational goal, you should meet with your counselor regularly to develop and update your SEP. It is also required for Financial Aid and EOPS.

back to top


What is a prerequisite? Do I really have to have it to take a course that lists one?

A prerequisite is a course or skill level you must show before you take the course requiring it. It is a requirement, not a suggestion! You must meet the prerequisite before taking the course, or you will not be allowed to register. You may Challenge the prerequisite on the grounds that it is biased, or that it has been unavailable. You also may Petition if you feel you can prove that you have the equivalent of the prerequisite from other skills you can demonstrate. See a counselor for more information.

back to top

Are corequisites and recommended preparation the same as prerequisites?

No. Corequisites are courses that you are required to take before or at the same time as the course in question. Recommended preparation indicates courses that would help you in the indicated course if you have taken them before or at the same time but are not required.

back to top


My grades haven't been very good what can I do to improve my English, math and study skills and relieve test-taking anxiety?

Your English and Math ability is measured by the Assessment/Placement tests and you are given recommended courses to attend. If your skills are not college level, you will initially be recommended into a basic skills class or ESL. You may also obtain tutoring in most subject areas and study skills assistance in the Learning Center.

For most students there are several factors that contribute to getting stressed out when studying for and taking exams. Good time management can help you to maximize your study time by planning study sessions that are spaced at the optimum interval for learning and retention. Notetaking skills are important to gather, organize, and process information effectively. Techniques in reading textbooks can help you to understand and learn more thoroughly. Knowing your individual learning style can help you to choose study strategies that are more efficient for you. Learning how to study differently for different kinds of tests can help you be better prepared for exams. Test-taking strategies and overcoming test anxiety can boost your performance on exams.

Mendocino College has four courses that help students with study and exams:





back to top

I'm afraid of math what can I do?

First, you can realize that math anxiety is a fairly common problem that typically begins with negative childhood experiences. The one-size-fits-all approach of the public school system forces math on many students before they are ready. Students who have difficulty with math at an early age are made to feel inferior by peers, parents, or teachers. Teachers have little time to work with individual students. There is pressure to keep the class on schedule. Students who fall behind at an early age often never catch up. Even more than most subjects, learning math skills is highly dependent upon prior learning of more basic skills in the sequence.

As you can see from the above explanation, you are not born with math anxiety. It is something that you have learned from an imperfect educational experience. Anything that can be learned can also be unlearned or learned differently. Instead of responding with anxiety, you can learn to respond with positive thoughts and feelings.

There are several things you can do to build your confidence with math. First, you can enroll in one of our math courses at the appropriate skill level for you by using your math assessment score for placement. Our math instructors at the basic skills level are very good at helping students have a more positive experience with math. Secondly, you can get individual tutoring by signing up for a tutor at the Learning Center at the main campus or at the main desk at the Lake or Willits Centers. The Learning Center also has math tutors available on a drop-in basis as well. Getting help from a tutor makes a world of difference in learning math skills and overcoming math anxiety. In addition to the above two suggestions, you can also enroll in a class at Mendocino College that helps students with test anxiety. The class is GDN 123, Test Anxiety and Test-Taking Techniques. Many of the techniques used for overcoming test anxiety can also be used to conquer math anxiety as well.

back to top


What is a unit?

back to top

What is a "W" grade?

back to top

What are credit (CR) no credit (NC) grades? What are the advantages/disadvantages?

back to top

If I get a "D" or an "F" in a course, can I take the course over again to improve the grade?

back to top

How do I convert semester units to quarter units and vice-versa?

back to top

What can I do if I disagree with a grade I receive?

back to top

How is a grade point average (G.P.A.) calculated?

back to top


Academic Probation occurs when you have attempted at least 12 MC units and have earned a grade point of less than 2.0. Progress Probation occurs when you have attempted at least 12 MC units and 50% or more are "W", "I", or "NC" grades. You are dismissed from the college when you have been on either Academic Probation or Progress Probation for three consecutive semesters. Dismissed students must not enroll at MC for one semester and then must Petition to reenter.

back to top


I'm lost about what career to pursue can you help me?

We offer several kinds of help with career issues. You can receive individual counseling from a MC counselor. You may also want to enroll in one of our career guidance (Student Success) classes - Guidance 100 (Career Life Planning) or Guidance 101 (Career Exploration). The Career Center also has a variety of resources to help you get the career information you need including written and online information about careers, industries, job search, and educational preparation. Self-exploration software like Choices CT can give you career options. The Center also offers workshops, and other resources to help you find, apply for, interview for, and obtain the job you want. Visit the Career Center website for more information.

back to top


I have some personal issues that affect my succeeding in college where can I get help?

The counseling office offers a number of services, including short-term personal counseling to address specific problems that are interfering with a student's progress or success. For students seeking psychotherapy, please contact the Counseling Office at 468-3048.

back to top


How do I figure out what I need to do to transfer to a 4-year college?

Your first step is to decide on a major. If you don't know what you would like to do, it is recommended that you enroll in a Guidance/Career Exploration class and check out your options. This will allow you to explore your interests and the related occupations. If you know what you would like to do as an occupation, it is usually easy to choose a major. Technical and scientific occupations usually require a major in a related field.

Once you have chosen a potential occupation and major, the second step is deciding which 4-year school has the program that fits your needs. It is a good idea to look at the required courses in the specific major in the college's Catalog before deciding that school is for you since programs vary among colleges, even for the same major.

Finally, once you have decided on a major and 4-year college, you need to research what pre-major preparation is required and what general education requirements are needed for that school. Then you develop an Education Plan, which plots out which courses you will take each semester to fulfill your goals. The Mendocino College Career and Transfer Center homepage has related information and links to other sources such as Assist (which shows requirements and comparable courses at various colleges) for your use.

back to top

What are General Education requirements?

GE or General Education is a program of courses that provides a broad educational experience and is also required for an AA/AS degree or transfer. Courses are usually introductory in nature and provide students with fundamental skills and knowledge.

There are 18 units of GE required for the associate degree and 37-39 for university transfer; some of the Associates Degree GE classes will also work for transfer. GE classes are in the general areas of English, math, natural science, social science, humanities, and American institutions (US history/political science) and must be taken at certain levels. Some students have to take preliminary courses to prepare for the level of skill required. Transfer GE classes are often at a higher level than those required for an Associates Degree. See the catalog for specific listings, and talk to your counselor.

The CSU-GE pattern or IGETC are two ways for students to complete the lower division GE requirements prior to transfer. Completing the entire GE pattern is not a requirement for transfer.

back to top

What is IGETC?

Completion of IGETC is one option for students to use when preparing for transfer. It is not the only option, and for some majors, such as engineering and science, may not be recommended. Completing IGETC is not a requirement for transfer to either the CSU or the UC.

Students who are planning to transfer to a CSU may want to complete the CSU GE pattern. If you have questions about which GE to complete, talk to a counselor.

back to top

What is certification and why is it important for transferring students?

The certification will be either on the transcript or on a separate certification form. The request for certification of CSU GE or IGETC is done at the time you request transcripts be sent to the university. All courses on IGETC must be completed with a grade of C or better.

The CSU-GE pattern can be certified by completing a specific subject area (Area A, Area B, etc.) or by completing the entire 39-unit pattern.

back to top

What classes transfer to UC and CSU?

In the Catalog and Schedule of Classes, information about transferability is included in the course description.

back to top

What are California Articulation Number (CAN) and ASSIST?

CAN is a common number system used to identify courses which are often required as lower division preparation for majors. The courses are taught at many colleges with each specific campus using their own unique number for the course.

The CAN system allows counselors and students to determine equivalent courses offered at different colleges by using the common number (CAN). Courses that qualify for CAN are identified in the class schedule and in the catalog.

ASSIST is an online database that describes various lower division courses at 4-year colleges and their equivalents at community colleges. The courses may be listed by university major or in a course-to-course format. Students should compare ASSIST information with major requirement information in the university catalog. Failure to read college catalogs may lead the student to miss admission eligibility requirements.

back to top

If I get an AA or AS, can I automatically transfer to a 4-year college?

No, the completion of an Associate degree does not automatically meet all of the requirements for transfer to a 4-year college or university. However, if you select classes carefully, it is possible to meet both Associate degree requirements and transfer requirements at the same time. Your counselor can assist you in the selection of appropriate courses.

back to top

Should I get an associate degree if I intend to transfer?

Although an Associate degree is not required for transfer, many students find that it is personally beneficial to have a college degree on their record. If, for example, you are required to halt your educational pursuits for a time, you will still have a college degree on your resume. Students who have completed all of their requirements for transfer may have completed most, if not all, of the requirements for an Associate degree as well. A counselor can help you determine what requirements you may have met.

back to top

Can I just take my general education requirements at Mendocino College, and then take my pre-major courses after I transfer?

That is usually a bad idea. Most majors have lower division prerequisites or requirements that must be completed at a community college. You will save time and money by completing both general education AND lower division major preparation before you transfer.


Certification of CSU GE or IGETC is an important step in the transfer process. The certification of GE is the official notice verifying that a transfer student has completed courses satisfying the lower division general education requirements.

IGETC or the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum is a general education program which community college students can use to satisfy lower division general education requirements at any CSU or UC campus.

Courses are given a letter grade or CR/NC (Credit/No Credit). CR/NC courses do not influence the G.P.A. Letter grades are given the following point values - A (4), B (3), C (2), D (1), F (0). You multiply the number of units in any course that you completed by the point value (3 units of A = 12 points). When you have done this for all units completed, including "0" for "F", then you divide the total number of points by the number of units. So a 4-unit class with a "B" grade (4 units x 3 points = 12 grade points) and a 3-unit class with an "A" (3 units x 4 points = 12 grade points) would generate a grade point average of 3.43 (12+12 = 24 divided by 7 units = 3.43 GPA).

You can and should discuss it with the instructor. All regular faculty have office hours posted on their office doors. If you still have a concern, you may discuss it with the appropriate academic department chair or Dean of Instruction.

To convert semester units to quarter units, multiply by 1.5. For example, 30 semester units = 45 quarter units. To convert quarter units to semester units, multiply by .6667; thus, 45 quarter units = 30 semester units.

Yes. If you received the "D" or "F", you may repeat the course. After completion of the course, if you submit a Request for Record Adjustment form to Admissions and Records, your "D" or "F" grade points will be removed from the grade point average calculation and your transcript will be annotated. See the Catalog for more information.

Credit/No Credit grading exists to allow students the opportunity to take certain classes without undue concern for their grade point average. Some classes at Mendocino College are evaluated on a credit/no credit basis only. All other classes are graded on the traditional "A-F" grading system unless a student requests credit/no credit grading by submitting a form to the Admissions and Records Office by the end of the fifth week of the semester. Students who complete the class at the "A", "B", or "C" level receive a grade of "CR" (credit). Students who perform at the "D" or "F" level receive a grade of "NC" (no credit). Credit/No Credit grades do not affect your grade point average. Courses required in a student's major cannot be taken for credit/no credit. While any elective or general education course may be taken on a credit/no credit basis, it is a good idea to discuss this with a Mendocino College counselor beforehand.

If you withdraw from a full-term course within the first four weeks of the semester, no grade will appear on you record. If you withdraw after the fourth week but within the first fourteen weeks, you will receive a grade of "W". A grade of "W" does not affect your grade point average.

A college unit of credit usually represents one hour of time per week. For example, a three-unit course meets three hours per week and usually requires six hours of homework each week.

A major is a program of study which leads to a degree. It is the primary area of study in which the greatest depth of knowledge will be developed.

Yes, you can take any combination of courses and at any location just make sure to do a sample schedule so they don't conflict in terms of time.



Created: May 05, 2003 @ 12:00 AM
Last Modified: March 08, 2014 @ 05:00 PM


  Copyright © 2001 - 2010     Mendocino College is not responsible for third party content.