El Camino and Los Angeles Harbor community colleges are part of a Scholars Program this fall that offers qualified students "guaranteed priority admission" to UCLA.
Students qualify by maintaining at least a 3.0 (B) average in courses designed by UCLA and the participating community colleges.
The pilot program, which involves 550 students from nine Los Angeles-area community colleges, is starting out small because universities cannot guarantee an unlimited number of admissions, said Gayle Byock, director of academic program development at UCLA.
About 400 students are planning to go to UCLA, she said.
Scholars Program participants from Santa Monica and West Los Angeles colleges also can designate as their school of choice California State University, Northridge; Pepperdine University; Loyola Marymount University, and USC.
Students who qualify at El Camino and Harbor all will go to UCLA, officials at those colleges said. Thirty students are enrolled in Harbor's Passport Honors Program and about 100 in El Camino's UCLA transfer plan.
College officials said the the program is designed to increase the number of community college students who transfer to four-year schools. Last year, only 5,300 of about 1.1 million students in community colleges statewide transferred to the University of California system.
In the past 10 years, the number of transfers to UCLA from Los Angeles County community colleges has dropped about 50%, according to Byock. She said 1,224 students transferred from local community colleges to UCLA in the fall of 1974, while only 602 made the move in 1984.
Santa Monica College's transfer rate to four-year schools is better than those of other community colleges, according to statistics compiled by Harbor College President James Heinselman.
More Academic Students
One reason is that Santa Monica has a high proportion of academic students while other community colleges have more vocational students, officials said.
Of 2,704 sophomores enrolled at Santa Monica College in the fall of 1983, 651 (24%) transferred to the University of California or the California State University and Colleges systems in the fall of 1984, Heinselman said. Overall, Santa Monica has about 1,000 students a year transferring to four-year schools, added Darroch Young, administrative dean of instruction.
By contrast, 162 (10.7%) of 1,519 sophomores at West Los Angeles College in fall, 1983, transferred to the University of California or the California State University and Colleges systems in fall, 1984, he said.
Santa Monica College has 125 students participating in the Scholars Program, and West Los Angeles has 57, according to school officials.
To qualify, students must have at least a 3.0 average in high school, attend community college full time and complete a core curriculum including courses in English composition, literature, biology, physical science, history and psychology.
Byock said courses at the community colleges are designed to provide a "continuity of curriculum" so that students do not suffer from what she called "transfer shock" when they go to UCLA.
Students will be more comfortable if they know the courses they have taken are comparable to UCLA's and that their teachers are working with the UCLA faculty, she said.
The Scholars Program includes guest lectures, seminars and other services designed to introduce students to participating universities, Young said.
"We have always had a very successful transfer program, and this will not replace it but will serve as a sort of adjunct to it," he said.
The idea of the Scholars Program originated with Santa Monica College and UCLA, then expanded to the other schools, Young said. Planning has lasted for a year, with the first students entering the program this semester, he said.
The other participating community colleges are Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Valley College, Pierce College, Pasadena City College and College of the Canyons.