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How to be Successful at Cabrillo College...

The Student Success & Support Program ("3SP") (formerly known as Matriculation) is an umbrella of services that helps you reach your college goals in a reasonable amount of time and in ways that meet your particular needs and life circumstances. It keeps you on track. The Student Success & Support Program works with other services and programs on campus to communicate with you around your progress and goal/program completion.

A first-time student must complete the following three (3) core services in order to maintain an early registration time and also meet state requirements:

  1. Orientation to college (online)
  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.

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In addition:

1. Orientation

An orientation is required for all new students. Completion of Orientation and Assessment must be completed before you register for classes. Completion of these services determines your registration date.

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.

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. It covers General Education (many types), electives, new state regulations about repeating classes and more.

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 three components (orientation, assessment, educational planning) 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. 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 also required to have a certain level of math skills in order to enroll. (This information is listed as a prerequisite).

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 in math and English or ESL 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 once again within a six month period. If you still do not score where you had hoped, you must take the class indicated on the score report.

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. Take the test seriously or you will be taking extra classes!

An assessment needs to be completed before registering for classes and after completing orientation. 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. That will show that you have met the assessment requirement and you will not need to take ours. There are other ways to be exempt (AP scores, etc.). See the Assessment web page at:

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 Accessability Support Center (ASC).

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 specific 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

An Education Plan is the third 3SP service you need to complete. It should be started your first semester and then revised as you progress.

A. A career goal is your occupational interest. What field or career do you want to have after college? If you are not sure, we will provide resources to help you identify one. This is your starting point. If you don't know where you want to "end up," it's hard to get there.

B. An "Educational goal" is what you plan to earn or do: 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 interests. 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. This educational goal determines the classes you need.

C. A "Course of study" is your chosen educational program, or major. If you are without a stated Course of Study or Major you will need to identify one and put it in Student Planning. If you do not identify a major by the end of three semesters or 15 degree-applicable units, you will need to. We will contact you if you have not. Understanding Academic Programs/Majors

D. 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. This can be done through an Ed Plan workshop, through CG 51 or in Student Planning on your own. After the major/course of study is clear, a Comprehensive Ed Plan is needed. This will direct you on how to reach your goal and major. 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

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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 to unsatisfactory. Two semesters of probation will lead to dismissal. A Probation workshop will help you correct your path. You will be required to complete one if you are in this status.
  • 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. A Probation workshop will be required. 
  • Dismissal is triggered after two semesters of academic or progress probation. It will result in you needing to take a semester off. Completion of a workshop will be required in order for you to be enrolled again.

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.

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Prerequisites, Co-requisites, 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 co-requisite is a course that must be taken concurrently with another course. When you register for a class with a co-requisite, 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 co-requisite. Challenging course requisites requires written documentation that explains the alternative course work, background, and/or abilities that adequately prepared you for the desired course instead of taking the required class. You may obtain a Requisite Challenge Form from the Student Success & Support Program (formerly Matriculation) Office (Enrollment Services Bldg., room 103) or online at 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. Read the FAQs on how to prepare a successful "Challenge." Prerequisite Challenge FAQs 2.html

Learning Skills

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

Accessability Support Center (ASC) (formerly 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 ASC. 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
  • have completed these services (assessment, orientation, education planning) at another community college and show documentation
  • 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
  • are part of a few exempted categories of students (some ASC students, those already in a math, English, or ESL course sequence).

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)
Accessability Support Services (ASC)
Learning Skills

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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
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