Matriculation: Orientation & Advisement

The Matriculation Process

The matriculation process (application, assessment, orientation, advisement, and development of an education plan) starts students on the right path by assisting them in choosing, planning, and achieving their educational goals.

The process also provides essential information for planning a successful college experience. New students enrolling in the fall must complete at least an abbreviated education plan to earn priority enrollment, and they must complete a comprehensive education plan within two semesters to maintain priority.

All matriculation services are free for MiraCosta College students. Students who are new to college and plan to transfer, earn an associate degree or a vocational certificate, or improve basic skills, or who are undecided about their goal, should follow this process.

Students new to college (first-time freshmen) or new to MiraCosta College should complete the matriculation process when they apply or as soon as possible thereafter. Students who matriculate may enroll earlier than non-matriculated students (this does not apply to concurrently enrolled high school students).

Although all students should matriculate, any applicant to the college may expressly refuse to participate in any matriculation service; however, those who refuse are not entitled to early enrollment privileges.


  • Students must have an Application for Admission on file before taking the assessments unless they are testing for another college. (A fee is charged if testing for another college.)
  • Appropriate photo ID is required to take the assessment(s) and to pick up assessment scores.
  • English/ESL and/or mathematics assessments do not require an appointment.

Steps to Becoming a Matriculated Student

Step 1: Application

Students complete and submit an online Application for Admission. After their application is processed, students are assigned a SURF ID number that they will use the entire time they attend MiraCosta.

SURF is an online enrollment and student information system that allows students to manage their school-related activities. To access SURF, students use their SURF ID and a self-created password.

Step 2: Assessment (Testing)

Assessments and Multiple Measures

There are many ways to complete the assessment process at MiraCosta College. The assessment process uses alternative multiple measures to help place you in courses in which you will thrive. In order to be eligible for placement via multiple measures, students must have recently (within the last 10 years) attended a United States high school for three or more years. The first step is to review and share the contents of your United States high school transcript in your application or with the Testing Office using either a transcript (unofficial or official) or the Multiple Measures Self-Report Update form found under Admissions & Records Student Forms online. Based on how your cumulative, unweighted high school GPA and courses completed meet the multiple measure criteria, some students may be placed directly in transfer-level English and mathematics courses, and some students may also want to take the English/ESL and/or mathematics assessment tests.

What You Need to Know Before You Take the English or ESL and Mathematics Assessments

  • You must have an Application for Admission on file before you complete the assessments, unless you are assessing for another college. Submit at

  • Review your overall high school GPA and the grades you earned in the high school English and math courses you have completed as represented by your high school transcripts. Prepare to share this information on your application or with Testing Services.

  • Appropriate photo identification will be required to take the English, ESL, and/or mathematics assessment exams.

  • Three words of advice before you take any assessment exam: review, review, reviewHow well you do on these tests determines what classes you will be able to take. Learn how to prepare at, where you can also find information on the Bridge to Success in Math Program.

  • Students taking the mathematics assessment exam can choose between Algebra Readiness, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, or Pre-Calculus.

  • Students not eligible for Multiple Measures placement in English are eligible to take the English Informed Self-Placement tool. 

  • You will receive an assessment score immediately after you complete your assessment. Included with your score are recommendations for placement in mathematics, English, and ESL classes.

  • MiraCosta students may take each level of the ESL and mathematics assessment exams twice and must wait at least 24 hours before retesting.

  • Contact the Testing Office at 760.795.6685 or if you have questions or need more information.  

About the English/ESL and Mathematics Assessments

Obtaining the Assessment Score Report

Students will receive an assessment score report immediately after they complete an assessment in the Testing Center. Additional assessment score reports are released to the examinee only—photo identification is required. Included with the assessment score report is a placement recommendation for English, ESL, and/or math. The placement will be entered into SURF immediately, allowing students to enroll in the appropriate class.

Students who have questions about their placement after advisement and/or retesting should see a counselor. Counseling offices are located in Bldg. 3700 on the Oceanside Campus, 760.795.6670 and in the Administration Building on the San Elijo Campus, 760.944.4449, x6670.

Retesting and Assessment Fee Policies

MiraCosta College students may take the ESL or any of the four mathematics assessments only two times. Once this maximum is reached, students will not have the option of further retesting. (Tests given through MiraCosta's high school outreach testing program will not be counted toward the maximum.)

For English, ESL, and mathematics assessments, students must wait at least 24 hours before retesting. Students who do not intend to enroll at MiraCosta College but wish to take an English or ESL assessment or any of the four mathematics assessments will be charged $30.

Alternatives to Taking MiraCosta College’s Assessments

  • To use high school transcript information, please visit to see the list of criteria that will exempt you from taking the English and/or math assessments.
  • Provide transcripts from another regionally accredited college showing you’ve received a “C” or better in a prerequisite English or mathematics course to the Admissions and Records Office.
  • Bring your English or mathematics assessment results from another California community college to the Testing Office. Documents must state the courses in which you are eligible to enroll.
  • If you have a bachelor’s degree, bring your diploma or transcripts to the Admissions and Records Office.
  • If you have achieved one of the following minimum English scores (bring documentation to the office indicated): A = Admissions & Records Office T = Testing Office


  • Advanced Placement (AP) Program English (language or literature) test with a score of three or higher.  (A)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level English Examination with a score of five or higher.  (A)
  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) result stating: "Standard Exceeded: Ready for English college-level coursework." (T)
  • Passing score on the UC Analytical Writing Placement Examination. (T)


  • Advanced Placement Program calculus test (AB or BC) with a score of three or higher. (A)
  • College Level Examination Program examination in mathematics with a score of 50 or higher. (A)
  • California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) result stating: "Standard Exceeded: Ready for mathematics college-level coursework." (T)

NOTE: Classes in other subject areas may also require English and math competencies.

For further information about testing, students may call 760.795.6685 or visit the department's website:

Step 3: Orientation

Students who have a SURF ID and password complete an online orientation that introduces them to MiraCosta's academic programs and student services. It also provides an overview of how to enroll in classes and tips for a successful college experience.

At the end of the online orientation, students take a quiz to test their understanding of the material. When students pass the quiz, their records are automatically updated, usually within 24 hours, to show completion of the orientation component of matriculation.

Step 4: Advisement

Students who have a SURF ID and password complete online academic advisement, which has two presentation options: Transfer Advisement or Associate Degree & Career and Technical Education Advisement. Both presentations cover educational planning and class scheduling, and both provide suggestions for those who are undecided about their goals. (Students may complete both presentations, but only one is needed to satisfy the matriculation requirement.)

Students will use their English and math placement results as a reference when completing either presentation. At the end of the presentation, students take a quiz to test their understanding of the material covered. When students pass the quiz, their records are automatically updated, usually within 24 hours, to show completion of the advisement component of matriculation.

For further information about orientation, advisement, or follow-up opportunities with a counselor, students may call 760.795.6670 or visit the department's website:

Step 5: Education Plan

One of the best ways students can keep their education and career goals on track is to create an education plan with their counselor. An “ed plan” gives students a roadmap for how to achieve their academic goal, including a list of courses and requirements, important dates and deadlines, and relevant transfer and career information.

Beginning fall 2014, new to MiraCosta College students are required to complete an education plan to earn and maintain enrollment priority. Students will complete an abbreviated (one or two semester) education plan when they complete online advising.

Students are encouraged to develop a comprehensive (four or more semester) education plan with a counselor as soon as possible but no later than the end of their second semester at MiraCosta to maintain their priority enrollment. New students who matriculate may be eligible to receive an early counseling appointment time to develop a comprehensive education plan.

Step 6: Enrollment

Upon completion of the above steps—application, English and mathematics assessment, orientation, advisement, and education plan—students receive a priority enrollment date and time. Concurrently enrolled high school students may enroll two weeks prior to the start of the fall or spring terms and one week prior to the primary summer term.

Exemption from the Matriculation Process

To be exempt from the matriculation process at MiraCosta, a student must meet one of the following conditions:

  1. The student was exempt during a previous semester.
  2. The student has earned an associate or higher degree from an accredited institution.
  3. The student has previously attended another college and has indicated one of the following as an educational goal:
    • Discover or formulate career interest, plans, goals.
    • Prepare for a new career (acquire job skills).
    • Advance further in current job or career (update job skills).
    • Maintain a certification or license (e.g., nursing, real estate).
    • Personal interest; no intention to use credit for certificate, degree, or transfer.
    • Complete credits for high school diploma or GED.

Exemption from Assessment (Testing) Only

To be exempt from the assessment component of matriculation, a student must meet one of the following conditions:

  1. The student has completed the prerequisite course with a grade of "C" or higher at another college for any math or English course(s) in which he or she wishes to enroll (transcript or grade report required).
  2. The student has taken an approved assessment test at another California community college that can be used to meet the prerequisite for the math or English course(s) in which he or she wishes to enroll.

Exemption from assessment and/or matriculation does not automatically give students priority enrollment privileges. Exempted students who want priority enrollment are encouraged to participate in the matriculation and/or assessment process.

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Students have the right to challenge or appeal any step in the matriculation process by contacting the dean of Counseling and Student Development at 760.795.6892. To challenge a course prerequisite or corequisite, students must contact the Admissions and Records Office on either campus.

Students may refuse to participate in any matriculation service; however, refusal will not entitle students to early-enrollment privileges or to waive course prerequisites or corequisites.

Students are responsible for expressing broad educational intent upon admission and for declaring a specific educational goal by the time they have completed their second semester. Students are also responsible for attending class, completing assignments, arranging counseling appointments, and maintaining progress toward their educational goal.

(Sources: Title 5 §55530; MCCD Board Policy/Administrative Procedure 5050. All MiraCosta College board policies and administrative procedures are located on the Board of Trustees webpage.)