SMC — For the first time, Santa Monica College helped more than 1,000 students transfer to the University of California system, the college retaining its top spot in transfers by a wide margin.

SMC transferred a total of 1,053 students to UCs, up 14.58 percent from the 919 sent in 2008-09. This is the 20th consecutive year that SMC has been the number one transfer institution to UC campuses, officials with SMC said.

SMC increased its transfer number by close to 15 percent for UCs. And the number was far higher than the second-ranked institution, De Anza College in Northern California, which had 666.

“Santa Monica College shows year after year its commitment to transfer but is always striving to get even more students into four-year universities,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang.

Other figures:

• Once again, SMC was number one in transfers to the UC and California State University systems combined, with 1,833.

• SMC maintained its hold on first place in transfers to USC, from 173 students in fall 2009 to 195 in fall 2010. (USC reports transfers only for the fall.) That was more than double the number of the next highest-ranking institution, Pasadena City College, with 87.

• SMC transferred the most students to Loyola Marymount University in fall 2010 (35) and, though not ranked, sent 11 students to the Ivy League Columbia University in New York.

• SMC increased its transfers of Latino students to UC campuses from 106 in 2008-09 to 114 in 2009-10. UC-bound African-American transfer student numbers stayed the same at 32.

However, with Cal State campuses drastically reducing their admissions for 2009-10, SMC experienced a decline in transfers to that system, from 1,011 in 2008-09 to 780, SMC officials said. Even with the decline, SMC’s rank in transfers to Cal State campuses rose from 10th place in 2008-09 to seventh place in 2009-10.

Transfer Center Faculty Leader Dan Nannini said there are several reasons for SMC’s strong transfer record: keeping SMC’s transfer reputation in the spotlight, recruiting good students, giving strong academic counseling to students that helps make them attractive to admissions offices, and outstanding professors.

In addition, Nannini pointed out that the college’s Transfer Center hosts the largest college fair in the state. This fall, representatives from 130 colleges and universities throughout the world came to the SMC Transfer Fair to recruit students.

SMC’s Transfer Center also conducts workshops, holds weekly visits from four-year institutions, and has a close working relationship with UC and CSU to make sure SMC students get credit for their classes.

UCLA continues to be by far the most popular destination for SMC students, with nearly half of the UC transfers — 519 — going to the Westwood campus. San Diego, Berkeley and Irvine, in that order, were the next most popular destinations in 2009-10.

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