Skip to Site Navigation | Skip to Local Navigation | Skip to Content

How to be Successful at Cabrillo College...

The Student Success & Support Program (formerly known as Matriculation) is an umbrella of services that helps you reach your college goals in a reasonable amount of time in ways that meet your particular needs and life circumstances and keep you on track. The Student Success & Support Program ("SSSP") works with other services and programs to communicate with you around your progress and goal/program completion.

A first-time student must complete the following 3 core services in order to have an early registration time:

  1. Orientation to college
  2. Assessment for math and English course placement
  3. Educational planning ("Education Plans")

You must also complete the following by early in your first year:

All students at Cabrillo College are required to complete these activities by the end of 15 degree-applicable units or the end of the 3rd semester.

We are here to nudge, direct and support your progress and completion of your goals at Cabrillo College.

Back to Top

In addition:

1. Orientation

An orientation is required for all new students. Orientation provides general information regarding Cabrillo College’s services and programs in addition to new policies for college students. You will learn about transfer and degree requirements, career programs and student services. The orientation requirement is satisfied online and in some Counseling & Guidance classes.

The Importance of Orientation

Many students are undecided about their career and educational goals when they begin college. Others are very clear on what they want to accomplish.

Whether you know your educational goal or not, research shows that students who go through orientation do significantly better in college because they've learned how to navigate the college's programs and processes successfully. In fact, orientation is so important that new students are required to go through orientation.

Orientation covers the history of Cabrillo College, how to apply and register, the benefits of counseling and financial aid, and discusses how you can move through your classes and major in the most timely and affordable way.

College is very different from high school. It's easy to make incorrect assumptions regarding what it takes to manage your time, balance your personal and academic life, and pay for your education - all of which are explored in orientation to help you be successful here.

After completing the 3 components of the Student Success & Support Program, you are a "matriculated" student and are assigned an earlier registration date.

The online orientation is at

Tip: Before taking the online orientation, be sure to register using your student ID number so that it's recorded on your student record. You must first apply to Cabrillo to get a student ID number (sometimes called a Datatel ID number). If you want to browse orientation without recording it to your student record, just log in as a "guest." Once you receive your student ID number, use it to log back in to orientation, take the quizzes and record your session. For help on obtaining a student ID, contact Enrollment Services.

2. Assessment (for Course Placement)

Assessment is required for all new students.

To a large degree, success in college is dependent upon you enrolling in courses that match your abilities and skills. The skills that are officially measured are English comprehension, reading and math. For some science classes, you are required to have a certain level of math skills in order to enroll. These knowledge and skill requirements are called "prerequisites" and "corequisites" and are discussed in more detail below.

The assessment test is taken on the computer in the Assessment Center (Aptos & Watsonville)

The assessment tests are conducted in a group setting in an official test environment and are timed. Additional indicators of your skills and knowledge that may have been gained elsewhere than in a classroom will be taken into consideration in the final placement score. These additional skills are referred to as “multiple measures” and are given a numerical value in the final score. Your assessment scores are uploaded to the computer. They indicate your placement level and show whether you have satisfied the math and English prerequisites that some courses require. If you have not "placed into" the desired class, you may reassess twice within a six month period. If you still do not score where you had hoped, you must take the class indicated on the score sheet.

The assessments are scheduled months in advance and are offered on a range of mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends. Check the schedule online for times in Aptos and Watsonville. Practice tests are available at the Assessment Center and online. Reviewing the practice tests can make a difference in your course placement.

An Assessment needs to be completed before registering for classes. There is no fee for the assessment test. If you have assessed at another college, bring official copies of those scores or have them sent from that college to Cabrillo's Enrollment Services office.

If you have a verified disability through a 504 Plan or you think you may have a learning disability that needs assessing and verification, please contact the Learning Skills Program. With a verifiable disability, you may be eligible for extended time on the assessment. For more information about any support services related to disabilities, contact Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS).

Students who are fortunate to speak another language, in addition to English, may want to improve some specific writing, reading or speaking skills. Taking the ESL assessment may recommend some areas that need attention. Improving these skills will ultimately make you more successful in other classes. This does not designate you as an ESL student. Back to Top


3. Counseling and Educational Advising

"Career goal" is your stated occupational interest upon application and is periodically updated during your continued enrollment at Cabrillo. If you are without a stated career goal, you will be provided with the resources to support you in identifying one.

An "Educational goal" is your stated intent to earn a degree or career technical education certificate, prepare for transfer to a four year college or university, improve math or English basic skills or English language proficiency, or pursue career advancement or occupational training or retraining, or other educational interest. The education goal is initially identified during the application process and updated throughout your academic career at Cabrillo during subsequent course registration or educational planning processes.

A "Course of study" is your chosen educational program, major, course sequence for transfer preparation, completion of basic skills, or English as Second Language proficiency. If you are without a stated course of study or major you will be provided with the resources to support you in identifying one as early as is appropriate and reasonable in your college progression. Understanding Academic Programs/Majors

An "Education" Plan ("Ed Plan") is a multi-semester plan that combines general education, courses for the major, electives and other classes in which you might have an interest. Most students begin with a short, one to two semester Abbreviated Ed Plan. After the major course of study is clear, a Comprehensive Ed Plan is needed. This will direct you on how to reach your goal. It is co-designed between you and a counselor, taking your work and family commitments into consideration. Counselors are aware of the cycle of classes offered at Cabrillo and will factor the timing of those offerings into the education plan. If you are planning to transfer to a four year university, the counselors are aware of the specific requirements of the many different universities. These can be overwhelming and confusing without the assistance of a counselor, as these requirements change frequently. Working with a counselor also allows you to revise your Ed Plan when circumstances change. Counselors can also assist you with the critical deadlines needed for transfer agreements, transfer applications and financial aid. An Education Plan allows you to register easily without consulting staff every semester. This is a critical component of the Student Success & Support Program process. See

Back to Top

4. Follow-Up Services

Helping you stay in college and reach your goal is important to us. There are many reasons students fall behind: enrolling in too many units, not balancing college, work and family responsibilities, the increasing cost of attending college, and many more realities of life. Falling behind can result in two types of probationary categories that can impact your status at Cabrillo.

  • Academic Probation is triggered when your grades fall below a 2.0 GPA. This moves you from satisfactory academic standing. Two semesters of probation will lead to dismissal.  
  • Progress Probation is triggered when you have dropped courses with a "W" or "I" or have not completed courses (NP) for more than 50% of the total number of units in which you have enrolled as a student at Cabrillo. Two semesters of probation will lead to dismissal.  
  • Dismissal is triggered after two semesters of academic or progress probation. It requires attending a workshop with a counselor to determine whether you should continue or take a leave from the college.

We want to work with you before you reach this point and definitely once you have. See the catalog, Class Schedule or the Cabrillo web site for more information.

Back to Top

Prerequisites, Corequisites, and Recommended Preparation

A prerequisite is a course or body of knowledge that must be satisfactorily completed before a student may register in another course. Cabrillo College enforces prerequisites. Satisfactory completion is defined by a "C" or better grade or a "Pass" grade. A corequisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with another course. When you register for a class, you must register for both classes at the same time. If you do not register for both classes, neither class will be processed during registration. All other classes not requiring corequisites will be processed.

Challenging a prerequisite or corequisite

You have the right to "challenge" a prerequisite or corequisite. Challenging course requisites requires written documentation that explains the alternative course work, background, and/or abilities that adequately prepare you for the desired course. You may obtain a Requisite Challenge Form from the Student Success & Support Program (formerly Matriculation) Office or online at, "PDF forms." The College shall resolve the challenge within five academic calendar workdays for the Fall and Spring semesters. Winter and summer sessions have different time lines. Check with the Student Success & Support Program Office for additional information, (831) 477-3242.

Learning Skills

Learning Skills classes are designed to assist students who have learning disabilities to succeed in programs of study offered by the College. Placement in these classes is preceded by individual diagnostic testing. An Individual Education Plan will be developed for each student.

Disabled Student Services & Programs (DSPS)

Cabrillo College provides support services for all eligible students with special needs. Students with learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychological disabilities, vision, health, hearing, speech, acquired brain injury, or other documented disabilities can find the services they require though DSPS. See

Exemption from Student Success & Support Program Services

You can be exempt from Student Success & Support Program services if you:

  • enroll at Cabrillo for reasons other than career development or advancement, transfer, or attainment of a degree or certificate
  • are taking basic skills or ESL courses
  • have completed these services (assessment, orientation, education planning) at another community college
  • have an AA/AS degree or higher
  • are solely enrolled in a course that is legally mandated for employment due to a change in industry or licensure standards

For additional support services and programs at Cabrillo, check out these links:

Transfer and Career
Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)
Financial Aid
Fast Track to Work
Migrant Education
Academic Community for Educational Success (ACES)
Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS)
Learning Skills

Back to Top

Contact Information
Student Success & Support Program Office (formerly Matriculation)
Phone: 831.477.3242
Fax 831.477.3213

Enrollment Services

Building 100, room 103
Aptos Campus

Department Staff and Faculty DirectoryMap and Directions
    Was this page helpful?    
Blackboard Online Learning System WebAdvisor  iTunes Cabrillo Library Facebook Icon Twitter Icon YouTube

© 2013 Cabrillo Community College District

Campus Safety | Accessibility

Main Campus, 6500 Soquel Drive Aptos CA 95003, 831.479.6100