SANTA MONICA COLLEGE STUDENTS pack the Transfer Fair, one of the largest such gatherings of four-year university representatives at a community college in California.

For the 19th consecutive year, Santa Monica College (SMC) was ranked as the number-one transfer institution of students to the prestigious University of California (UC) system in 2008-09, SMC officials said.

SMC was also the leader in transfers to the UC-California State University systems combined, as well as the number-one transfer school for African Americans to the UC system.

SMC officials said the college also continued to be the leading transfer institution to the University of Southern California, sending 173 students to the renowned private university.

The college sent 919 students to UC campuses in 2008-09, far ahead of the number-two and three feeders, with 675 and 634 students, respectively. Combined UC-CSU transfers totaled 1,930, keeping SMC in the top spot, ahead of the next biggest feeder that sent 1,858 total.

“In these difficult times, it’s great to see the transfer option is viable and supported by SMC’s class offerings and student support services,” said Dan Nannini, SMC Transfer Center coordinator.

Other SMC transfer statistics include transferring 32 African American students to UC schools and the transfer of one student this fall to CalTech, which accepts only about six community college students a year, college officials said.

UCLA continues to be the most popular destination for SMC students, with more than half of the UC transfers, 516, going to the Westwood campus. San Diego, Berkeley and Irvine, in that order, were the next most popular UC destinations in 2008-09.

Nannini attributed SMC’s strong transfer record to a wide range of factors such as keeping the college’s transfer reputation in the spotlight, recruiting good students, and giving strong academic counseling to students that helps make them attractive to admissions offices.

Nannini additionally pointed out that the college’s Transfer Center hosts one of the largest college fairs in the state. This fall, representatives from 110 colleges and universities throughout the nation came to the SMC Transfer Fair to recruit students.