Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
• Is the application process different for a transfer student?
• As a transfer student, how far in advance should I apply for admission?
• Can I apply for admission for any quarter?
• What is a “transfer evaluation” and how long does it take?
• Can I expect that all of my credits will transfer into ACTCM?
• What is a Required Review?
• What does it mean to Audit a class?
• What is the difference between placement exams and comprehensive exams?
• How can I get in contact with previous transfer students?
• Does ACTCM offer any scholarships for transfer students?
• How will my financial aid be affected by transferring to a new school?
• As a transfer student, how will I integrate into the ACTCM Community?
• If I transfer, how long it will take me to graduate?
• How easy is it to find housing and employment in San Francisco?
• Who should I contact with my questions/concerns?
• What will be on the placement exams?
• If I’m accepted, when should I expect to take my placement exams?
• What are the curriculum requirements for sitting for the state and national boards, and how might it affect the transfer credit evaluation process?
• What are the curriculum requirements for prerequisite coursework, sequence requirements, possible exceptions to sequence requirements and how might these affect the transfer credit evaluation process?
• I already studied a particular course or a sequence of courses (ex. Material medica) at my previous school. Why am I being asked to repeat this course or sequence of courses again at ACTCM?
Is the application process different for a transfer student than it is for a 1st quarter student?
The admissions procedure for transfer students is the same as it is for every applicant. ACTCM requires a minimum of 90 semester units of undergraduate work, and a recommended cumulative GPA 3.0 or higher. The Admissions package consists of the following materials:
1. application form
2. application fee
3. two passport photos
4. personal statement
6. official transcripts from all colleges attended include undergraduate and graduate/TCM studies
7. GPA statement (if cumulative GPA is less than 3.0)
8. two letters of recommendation
9. course descriptions and syllabi associated with all former TCM studies
Transfer students receive a transfer evaluation from the Admissions Office and the Vice President of Academic Affairs based on the official transcripts, course descriptions and syllabi received from the student’s former TCM institution. Once all the materials in the Admissions package have been received, ACTCM’s Admissions office will conduct an in-person interview with the applicant. In the event that the applicant is applying from outside of the Bay Area, a phone interview may be arranged. Within two weeks of the Admissions interview, the applicant will receive a letter in the mail informing the applicant of their status.
Provided the transfer student is accepted into ACTCM, arrangements will be made for placement examinations to be taken if necessary. Placement examinations are determined by the amount of coursework completed in particular subjects at the applicant’s former TCM institution. ACTCM’s Academic Advisor will coordinate examination dates and times with the transfer student.
Following the results of any necessary placement exams, the transfer student will register for classes with the Academic Advisor. The transfer student will be invited to ACTCM’s quarterly new student orientation events to learn more about life at ACTCM and meet members of ACTCM’s staff, faculty and student body.
As a transfer student, how far in advance should I apply for admission?
ACTCM admits students, including transfer students, for all four quarters. There are two application deadlines for each quarter: an early application deadline 3 months before quarter starts ($50 application fee) and a regular application deadline 1 month before the quarter starts ($100 application fee).
We highly recommend that transfer students apply for admission as far in advance of the quarter that they want to attend so there is enough time to relocate/settle down in the Bay Area, sit for the placement examinations, meet with academic advisor to set up a program of study plan, etc.
Can I apply for admission for any quarter?
Yes. Based on your “transfer evaluation”, you can begin taking classes any quarter as you work towards integrating into ACTCM’s track system. For more information about the program of study tracks at ACTCM, contact an Admissions Counselor.
What is a “transfer evaluation” and how long does it take?
A transfer evaluation is typically completed within 2 weeks once ACTCM’s Admissions office has received all transcripts, course descriptions and syllabi from your former TCM institution. The transfer evaluation is done by an evaluation committee (including the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Admissions Director, and the Academic Advisor). Transfer student files are evaluated on a first come, first serve basis. The time it takes to complete a single evaluation depends on how many transfer student files need to be evaluated, how many courses need to be evaluated for each transfer student. Occasionally, the committee may request more supporting documents for clarification from transfer students, and this can extend the time needed to complete the evaluation.
ACTCM can only transfer units in from TCM schools that are accredited by ACAOM. To find the list of ACAOM accredited institutes, please visit the ACAOM website.
The amount of units that may transfer also depends on whether or not the student’s former institution is approved by the California Acupuncture Board (CAB). To find the list of CAB approved institutes, please visit the CAB website.
Generally speaking, if the transfer student’s former institution is ACAOM accredited and CAB approved, most of the didactic units will be transferred in. Clinic units will be considered for transfer up to the observational level.
If the transfer student’s former institution is ACAOM accredited but not CAB approved, ACTCM can transfer up to 50% of what ACTCM’s curriculum requires in each TCM subject. If the student’s former institution is accredited by ACAOM, the student may need to take placement examinations in order for the transfer evaluation committee to determine which, if any, credits will transfer in. If the student’s former institution is not approved by the US Department of Education, none of the credits will be considered for transfer.
Can I expect that all of my credits will transfer into ACTCM?
Due to differences in credit and hour requirements among the various TCM institutions in the US, transfer students should expect to lose some credits when transferring to any TCM institution. ACTCM’s transfer evaluation committee works extremely hard to award as many transfer units as possible in order to minimize the loss of units from the student’s former institution. ACTCM is very particular to only transfer in credits that will be approved by the California Acupuncture Board (CAB). In doing so, students will avoid complications with their transcripts when applying to take the CAB licensing exam.
The curriculums also vary among the various TCM institutions so additional time may be required to complete a program of study at the new institution. Occasionally, transfer students need to complete first-level coursework at ACTCM that was not required at their previous TCM institute (ex. Medical Chinese, History of Healing and Medicine). ACTCM requires students satisfy all the first level coursework requirements before they are eligible to take their first level comprehensive exams. Students must pass their first level comprehensive exams before they can take any of the coursework offered in the second level of the program.
What is a Required Review?
In certain cases, ACTCM students may be required by the College to refresh their knowledge in a particular subject, either because they are transfer students needing to synchronize their education with ACTCM’s program, or because they are regular ACTCM students with specific academic issues. Students needing to refresh their knowledge must complete a Required Review (RR) in which they participate fully in a given course (including taking tests, completing assignments, attending classes, etc.), but are not required to pay tuition. Although a 70% grade is required for successful completion of the RR, the RR carries no credit. An “RR” designation will be placed on the student’s transcript upon successful completion of a Required Review. If the student does not receive a grade of 70% or higher, he/she will be required to enroll in the course for credit and will also be placed on probation. If the student fails the class a second time, the student will be dismissed from the program. If a student is given transfer credit for a class, but fails a placement exam, the class will be a required review. Students needing to take a required review can take the RR of a class higher in the sequence before the class they are taking for credit. For example, if a transfer student needs to complete a required review of Materia Medica II but has not taken Materia Medica I for credit, he/she may enroll in Materia Medica II if it is offered first. Required Reviews are granted transfer credits. Therefore,for example, a student can register for Materia Medica III even if they need a Required Review of Materia Medica II.
What does it mean to Audit a class?
An ACTCM student may audit any didactic course without charge that he/she has successfully completed. Auditors are required to comply with class attendance rules. Academic credit is not awarded for audits, and a notation of “AU” is noted on the transcripts. Classes are available for auditing on a space available basis.
What is the difference between placement exams and comprehensive exams?
There are first level comprehensive examinations and second level comprehensive examinations at ACTCM. Once a student has completed the “first level of study” at ACTCM, he/she must pass the first level comprehensive examinations before moving on to the second level of study. Once a student has completed the second level of study, he/she must pass the second level comprehensive examinations before advancing to the third level of study.
First level comprehensive examinations consist of five individual written examinations that test the following subjects: Fundamental Theory, Diagnosis, Materia Medica, Meridians & Points, and Acupuncture. Additionally, first level comprehensive examinations include two practical examinations: one in Clean Needle Technique, and the other in Point Location.
Second level comprehensive examinations consist of five individual written examinations that test the following subjects: TCM Internal Medicine, Western Medicine, Herbs & Formula, Points and Acupuncture, and Case Study. Additionally, the second level comprehensive examinations include two practical examinations: one in Diagnosis and one in Point Location.
We have separate placement examinations for “Medical Chinese I and II”, “western medical terminology”, and “pathology”. However, if a transfer student has completed a series of classes at another institution (Meridians and Points I-IV, for example), ACTCM will use that written portion of the comprehensive examination as a placement exam. Practical portions of the comprehensive exams are not used for placement, and must be completed after the first or second level of study has been achieved.
Please keep in mind:
● if a student does not pass a placement exam for a series class, the Department Chair, Academic Dean and Academic Advisor will meet to determine which classes will be Required Review.
● Diagnosis is a class that varies greatly from one institution to another. Therefore, transfer students are often required to review these classes, regardless of the placement exam results. However, if a student passes the placement exam for Diagnosis, they are not necessarily required review a diagnosis class. The transfer evaluation committee will evaluate each student on an individual basis.
First Years Students- Once a first year student has completed a portion of the comprehensive examination as a placement exam; he/she does not need to retake that portion of the exam when completing the comps.
Second Year Students- Second year students who have completed a portion of the second year comprehensive examination as a placement exam are not exempt from completing that same portion again at the time of the comps. These students must complete all portions of the second year comprehensive exam at the same time. This is to show complete proficiency in all areas before advancing to the next level. The placement exam demonstrates proficiency in a subject upon the student’s arrival, and the comprehensive exams allow the student to advance to the next level of the program.
The College has a first level comprehensive examination preparation guide, as well as a second level comprehensive examination preparation guide available.
How can I get in contact with previous transfer students?
ACTCM’s Admissions Office knows all of the transfer students at ACTCM, and many of them have expressed a desire to speak with prospective transfer students from their former institution. Contact an Admissions Counselor to be put in contact with a previous transfer student.
Does ACTCM offer any scholarships for transfer students?
Transfer students are eligible for ACTCM’s Transitions Scholarship for incoming students. The Admissions Office selects 8 students each year to benefit from this scholarship. Each quarter, two incoming students are awarded $600 each to help alleviate the cost of relocating. For more information about this scholarship, visit our Scholarships page.
How will my financial aid be affected by transferring to a new school?
You cannot directly transfer federal student aid that was awarded to you by one school to another; however, your new school (ACTCM) can award you financial aid based on the original FAFSA you submitted. To receive aid from a new school (ACTCM), the first thing is to contact ACTCM’s Financial Aid Administrator and let us know that you are interested in attending. While you don't need to fill out a new FAFSA, you do need to have ACTCM added to your FAFSA record so that the new school receives your FAFSA information. The best way to do this is to call (800) 433-3243. Be sure to add ACTCM’s school code, which is 030782. After receiving your FAFSA information, ACTCM will provide you with information about your federal financial aid eligibility at that school. You should also notify your current Financial Aid Office and explain that you are leaving and requesting to have your aid cancelled.
As a transfer student, how will I integrate into the ACTCM Community?
The ACTCM Community is very open and active. Opportunities to socialize and interact outside of class with other students, faculty, staff and guest lecturers occur every quarter. A variety of activities are planned by the Director of Student Affairs and the Student Council. The Director of Student Affairs is also available to meet with new and transfer students at any time.
The Admissions office gave me a list of classes that may transfer to ACTCM based on my transcripts (“transfer evaluation”). How can I figure out how long it will take me to graduate?
After a transfer evaluation has been completed, the Admissions office will update the transfer student on their potential program of study at ACTCM. A program of study form will be generated, which includes a full list of courses that will be transferred in (using the ACTCM course titles). If they choose, transfer students can plot their progress in ACTCM’s full-time, ¾-time and ½ time tracks by highlighting the transferred course titles and comparing them alongside the respective curriculum.
In this way, students will have a rough estimate how long will take to graduate from ACTCM. Considering our policy regarding the transferring in of clinic units (clinical transfer units are only considered for credit up through the observer level), transfer students can expect to spend a minimum of 1.5 years at ACTCM.
How easy is it to find housing and employment in San Francisco?
The Admissions Office has put together a comprehensive booklet of all the information you need to know regarding housing and relocation to the Bay Area. This is available on our website under the Housing and Relocation page. Many ACTCM students are employed part-time or more in the city. ACTCM also offers work-study opportunities for eligible students, which include work in our on-side herbal garden project, our community clinic, the library and learning center, and more.
Which staff member at ACTCM should I contact about which types of questions/concerns?
Before and during the admissions process, please contact the Admissions Office via email or at (415) 282-7600 x214.
ACTCM’s Director of Student Affairs is available to assist students with issues or concerns related to any aspect of your experience at ACTCM. The Director of Student Affairs can be reached via email or at (415) 282-7600 x216.
Once the student has been admitted, ACTCM’s Academic Advisor can be contacted for academic advising, placement examinations, and registering for classes. If the transfer student would like additional units to be considered for transfer after the transfer evaluation has been completed, the Academic Advisor can submit this information to the evaluation committee on the student’s behalf. The Academic Advisor can be reached via email or at (415) 282-7600 x229.
Is there any information on what will be on the placement exams?
The purpose of placement examinations is to determine the student’s competency in a particular subject so the College can develop a course schedule that reflects their level of knowledge. Transfer students are encouraged to study their own textbooks and notes. If interested in getting a copy of course syllabi associated with the subject you will be tested on, please feel free to contact ACTCM’s Academic Advisor. ACTCM has first and second level comprehensive examination preparation guides available. These can be obtained from the Academic Advisor. For placement examinations on Medical Chinese I & II, please contact Aileen Huang, 415-355-1601 x219
If I’m accepted, when should I expect to take my placement exams?
Once admitted to the college, please contact the Academic Advisor to schedule a day and time for your placement examination/s. The examination/s should be completed no later than the second week of the student’s 1st quarter. This allows enough time for academic planning and registration.
What exactly are the curriculum requirements for sitting for the state and national boards, and how might it affect the transfer credit evaluation process?
Once a student has transferred into ACTCM, he or she must meet all required credits and hours required for graduation. Upon graduating, students will be eligible to sit for both the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) and NCCAOM examinations. Series courses are a progression of knowledge and must be completed in order. This will mostly affect transfer students who have excelled in one area, but not another. For example, if a transfer student has completed the herbs series but not the Meridians and Points series, it will still likely take that student 1 year to complete the 1st level of study.
Please click the links for more information about the CAB examination, and the NCCAOM examination.
What exactly are the curriculum requirements of ACTCM regarding prerequisite coursework, sequence requirements, possible exceptions to sequence requirements and how might these affect the transfer credit evaluation process?
For curriculum sequencing, including general science prerequisite coursework, please refer to the various programs of study that are offered by ACTCM.
I already studied a particular course or a sequence of courses (ex. Material medica) at my school. Why am I being asked to repeat this course or sequence of courses again at ACTCM?
During the transfer evaluation process, the committee reads through course descriptions and syllabi students provide and compare them to the course content of ACTCM courses. Often, there is missing content or a gap in course sequence. In these cases, the committee will either require the students to review the course, or request that the student retake the course with tuition credits. Generally, if 85-90% of the ACTCM course material was covered at the other institution, transfer credit will be granted. Please Note: Classes cannot be taken for partial credit. For example, if a transfer student is awarded 2 units of tuition credit for Anatomy II, he/she cannot complete part of the class at ACTCM for partial credit. Only completed courses can be awarded a grade.