Matriculation Philosophy

For the typical student at Santa Monica College, education represents a serious commitment of personal time and energy. To help students pursue their educational goals and dreams, the College has a planned educational process called “matriculation.” All students are encouraged to go through the matriculation process, which includes orientation, educational assessment, and academic counseling to design a program of courses that meets their educational goals. Matriculation is an ongoing process that helps students attain success and achieve their educational goals. Regardless of their matriculation status, all students must complete the admission process.

Matriculant Status

Students who are taking courses leading to degrees or certificates, or who intend to transfer to a four-year college or university, or who wish to participate in orientation or take advantage of the benefits of academic counseling, should apply to SMC as a matriculant and take part in the matriculation process. Students may, however, opt to defer their matriculation process until the semester before they enroll for their 16th unit of credit.


Students who file as matriculants are expected to participate in all parts of the matriculation process unless specifically exempted from particular components. The components are: admission, orientation, educational assessment, academic counseling, and follow-up. All students enrolled in graded classes at SMC will be included in the follow-up component.

Students filing as matriculants must:

   1.   File an application for admission online;

   2.   Complete the assessment for math and English or ESL, and if they wish to enroll directly in Chemistry 11, Chemistry 12, Anatomy 1, Biology 21/22/23, Microbiology 1, or Physiology 3, complete the relevant challenge exam or prerequisite course(s);

   3.   Complete the orientation program provided online at to become familiar with the College and its programs;

   4.   Arrange for transcripts of previous college work (or high school transcript if they have no previous college work) to be sent to the Admissions Office; and

   5.   Receive academic counseling about class selections prior to enrollment.

Students must complete these procedures before they will be permitted to enroll in classes, and are encouraged to make arrangements to have the appropriate transcripts from other institutions sent directly to the Admissions Office. Transcripts should be requested at least four weeks before the start of the semester.

Deferred Matriculant

Students who have had prior college experience and/or do not plan to transfer, obtain an Associate degree, or complete an occupational course of study, may opt to defer participating in selected components of the matriculation process until the semester before they enroll in their 16th unit of credit, at which time their status changes from deferred matriculant to matriculant. When their status changes, students must participate in the matriculation components they have not previously completed.

As deferred matriculants, students must file an application online for admission online and are encouraged to complete the orientation program online to become familiar with the College and its programs. SMC also recommends that deferred matriculants request to have any appropriate transcripts from other institutions sent directly to the Admissions Office.

Deferred matriculants are not required to participate in any formal academic counseling. They may wish to do so, however, and are encouraged to visit SMC’s Welcome Center or call (310) 434-8101. Assessment is also optional, but strongly recommended for most deferred matriculants. Deferred matriculants who plan to take an English, ESL, or math class, however, are required to undergo the appropriate assessment process before they will be permitted to enroll.

Matriculation Process & Components

Orientation: Orientation informs students about the wide range of services and support that SMC provides, including academic counseling to help sort out educational and career goals, health and psychological services, financial aid, scholarships, job referral services, tutoring services, and support programs for students with special needs. As a convenience for students, Santa Monica College provides its orientation program online, which may be accessed 24 hours a day at using any computer with Internet access.

Assessment of English, ESL, and math skills and of educational background: To help students get the most out of their education by planning an educational program that is realistic and in line with their level of academic preparation and experience, the College requires assessment of a student’s skill in math and English or English as a Second Language (ESL). All new students at SMC are required to undergo assessment in these areas. Assessment in chemistry is required for students who wish to enroll directly into Chemistry 11, without taking the Chemistry 10 prerequisite course, and assessment is also required for waivers of prerequisites for selected life sciences courses (see a counselor for details). The assessment process helps students select educational programs that are in line with their level of academic preparation and experience.

Definition and development of educational and career goals: While some students arrive at Santa Monica College with a very clear and firm idea of what their educational goals are, most have several different areas they wish to explore or pursue, and others have no particular direction at all, often because they have too many different interests.

   •   Students who are focused on a specific educational goal and anxious to pursue it in the most direct way possible: These students design a study program that leads directly to their transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a specific major, or to their Associate degree, or to their certification in a vocational or occupational field.

   •   Students with a variety of interests to explore before settling into one particular field: Most students fall into this category. As they learn more about particular fields and their own capabilities in those fields, they become able to sort through their interests and eventually focus on a particular program of study.

   •   Students truly undecided about what educational goals to pursue: These students need help to sort out their values, interests, and what they want their education to contribute to their life and wellbeing.

Academic counseling: The College provides a professional staff of academic counselors to help students identify their education plan and how to pursue it. Counseling services vary according to a student’s particular educational goal. The Transfer/Counseling Center helps students develop an education plan that outlines the courses they need to meet a specific transfer, occupational certificate, or Associate degree goal. The Career Services Center at SMC assists students in sorting out potential majors and educational goals.

Other support services: SMC provides a caring and committed faculty, Transfer/Counseling Center, Career Services Center, Latino Center, African American Collegian Center, International Education Center, athletic counseling, tutoring services, financial aid, and a number of other means to support students in their pursuit of higher education. These services are described in detail in the Programs & Services section of this catalog, online at the SMC website (see the Student Life & Services webpage at, and in the Schedule of Classes.

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