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Palomar College Learning For Success

Counseling Department

Counseling Services Division


Counseling Services

In order to meet with a counselor, you need to schedule a counseling appointment. Counselors can help you obtain an education plan.  If you have a general or specific questions that can be answered in 15 minutes or less, schedule a quick question meeting with a counselor.

Counselors and counseling appointments are not assigned. Instead, it is important that you find a counselor that you are comfortable working with. Once you find that counselor, make sure and make an appointment to see him or her at least once a semester!

There are many student support programs offered at Palomar College. For a full listing, please see the Student Support Programs page.

Palomar College Counselors are trained and experienced with personal counseling. However, if you are experiencing constant stress, fighting depression, or having other personal problems, please visit our Behavioral Health Counseling Services website.

For general and specific questions that can be answered in 15 minutes or less, schedule a Quick Question Counseling Appointment or email the Quick Question Counselor. Otherwise, schedule a full counseling appointment with a counselor to get your questions answered.  Also, take a look at the Student Resources webpage for additional help.

Education Plans

An education plan is an individualized map of classes created by you and a counselor. An education plan outlines a strategy for identifying and reaching your educational goals. Included are recommended career planning activities and support tools. An education plan should be developed during your first semester and maintained throughout your enrollment at Palomar College. Schedule a counseling appointment with a counselor to obtain your education plan.

The education plan completed by your counselor can be found under the Records section in your Student Center in MyPalomar.

Set up an appointment with a counselor to obtain an individualized education plan. For new students, complete the Ed Plan Intake form to have a 1 semester ed plan added to your Student Center in MyPalomar.

To prepare to transfer to a four-year university, it is important that you make an appointment with a counselor to discuss the specific requirements for your university and major. You may also want to consult the Transfer Center website for more information. Take a look at the "Pathways to a University" on our  Degree Options page.

The Palomar Pathways Mapper tool can be used to explore the Associate degrees and certificates at Palomar College. The tool provides generic roadmaps for each Associate degree or certificate and also provides labor market information. These roadmaps differ from education plans as education plans are individualized for each student and their circumstances.

Academic Details

Palomar College offers both certificate and associate degrees.

An "AA degree" is an Associate of Arts degree. Each AA degree consists of 60 units, and is a combination of general education, major, and elective classes. Palomar College also offers a new Transfer AA for students planning on transferring to a 4-year university.

A Certificates of Achievement are designed for individuals seeking short-term education and training in preparation for work. Ranging from 18 to 40 units, Certificates of Achievement focus on a specific career area, and do not include General Education or elective classes.
To see a complete list, visit the certificates and degrees page offered at Palomar.

A unit is the amount of credit you receive for successfully completing a class.

Units also give you a clue about the approximate number of hours the class meets each week. For example, a 1 unit class will meet about one hour per week for the semester, while a 5 unit class will meet about 5 hours per week for the semester.

Units also are an indicator about the level of difficulty of the class. The more difficult the course, the more units you receive for successfully completing that class. For example, you would receive 1 unit for completing physical activity class, while you would receive 5 units for completing a chemistry or calculus class.

The number of units you should take per session depends on what other commitments you have in your life, such as work, parenting, etc. It will help you in planning your schedule if you have an idea about how much time you need to dedicate to your classes, so here is a good rule of thumb:

For taking classes in a semester, multiply the number of units you will be taking times 3. That will tell you how many hours you will need each week between going to class and doing homework outside of class. For example, if you are planning on enrolling in 12 units in a semester, you will need 36 hours (12 x 3) each week to dedicate to school - which is almost a full-time job!

Remember, it is not the number of classes that will determine how busy you will be - it is the number of units you enroll in. Taking three classes that total 7 units is very different from taking three classes that total 11 units.

The general guidelines for the number of units you should take in a semester are as follows (the maximum allowed is 16):

40 hours of commitment per week (work, parenting, etc.) - take 3 to 6 units
30 hours per week - 3 to 6 units
20 hours per week - 6 to 9 units
10 hours per week - 9 to 12 units
Fewer than 10 hours per week - 12 to 16 units
Since the Winter and Summer sessions are only 6 or 8 weeks long, the classes are much more condensed, move at a more rapid pace, and meet for more hours during each week.

For taking classes in a shorter session, multiply the number of units you will be taking times 6. That will tell you how many hours you will need each week between going to class and doing homework outside of class. For example, taking 6 units in the summer session means you'll need about 36 hours (6 x 6) each week to dedicate to school - again, almost a full-time job! The general guidelines for the number of units you should take in a Winter or Summer session are as follows (the maximum allowed is 8):

40 hours of commitment per week (work, parenting, etc.) - 3 units
30 hours per week - 3 units
20 hours per week - 3 to 6 units
10 hours per week - 6 units
Fewer than 10 hours per week - 6 to 8 units

Full-time students carry a course load of 12 units or more during the fall and spring semesters. During the summer sessions, 6 units is considered full time.  Other programs may have a different definition of full time during the summer sessions.

The maximum number of units you may take in the fall and spring semester is 19. The maximum is 12 for the summer sessions. Students can petition to exceed 12 units in summer 2020 by completing the Request To Exceed 12 Units Petition.

K-12 students are limited to 7 units in Fall or Spring terms and 5 units in summer session. Students can petition to exceed these limits in some circumstances. Complete the K12 Special Admission Unit Petition and submit to the Admissions Office with unofficial transcripts of high school and college grades to demonstrate your past success with taking an increased unit load

There are three components to any degree: General Education (GE) classes, Major preparation classes, and Elective classes. GE classes are designed to provide you with a broad base of knowledge, and usually include the areas of English, Math, Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, and Physical & Biological Sciences.

To see the general education requirements, visit planning your pathway page and select the general education based on your goal of obtaining an associate degree or transfer to a CSU or UC.

The classes required for your major depend both on the major you choose and on your academic goal. For example, the courses required to transfer to a university may differ from those required for an AA degree. To learn of the specific courses required for your goal, please schedule a counseling appointment.

There are three components to any degree: General Education classes, Major preparation classes, and Elective classes. An elective course is essentially any class that is not required for General Education or for Major preparation. Electives are often required in order to accumulate the number of units needed for your degree or for transfer. Meet with a counselor to determine if the elective class you are considering is applicable for your degree or for transfer.

Your GPA, or grade point average, is the main indicator of your academic performance in college. GPAs are based on the following system:

Grade Points
A = 4
B = 3
C = 2
D = 1
F = 0

To calculate your grade point average, multiply the letter grade points by the number of units in the class. For example, if you received an "A" in English 100, a "C" in Psychology 100, and an "F" in Counseling 110, you would have:

Class Grade Points Units Attempted Grade Points
English 100 A 4 x 4 = 16
Psychology 100 C 2 x 3 = 6
Counseling 110 F 0 x 3 = 0

Divide the total number of grade points (22) by the total number of units attempted (10) and that gives you your Grade Point Average = 2.2 GPA.

Policies and Procedures

Probation is applied to your transcript when your semester GPA or cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0.  Levels include Probation 1, Probation 2, and lastly Dismissal.  If your semester GPA is a 2.0 or above, but your cumulative GPA remains under a 2.0, then you will be placed on Probation 1 or 2 Continued.  For information on what to do, see the Probation and Dismissal page.

A student may petition for up to thirty (30) units of previous substandard course work attempted at Palomar College to be disregarded when computing the grade point average (GPA). Review the conditions and submit the Petition for Academic Renewal to the Records Office.

  • a high school graduate or equivalent
  • anyone (including non-high school graduates) 18 years of age or older
  • a minor who may profit from instruction and has permission of the local high school district and a parent or guardian.  Students under 15 years of age are restricted to courses designed for children.  Permission to enroll in other classes rests with the instructor.  Some programs have limited admission or have additional academic or skill requirements. Please visit the K-12 Special Admission page for more information and instructions on how to enroll.

When you are in the semester completing your last courses for your degree, submit an Application for Graduation.  Deadlines are February 28 for spring, June 30 for summer, and September 30 for fall. We encourage all graduating students to attend commencement. Commencement is held once a year in the middle of May. You can visit the Palomar College Student Life and Leadership Office for more information about commencement.

We recommend you schedule a counseling appointment to verify you have satisfied all of your academic requirements.

Parking permits are now your registered license plate- physical permits are no longer available. Purchase your parking permit on your MyPalomar. Visit the Instructions on how to purchase your parking permit page.

Adding and Dropping Classes

Brand new students to Palomar College need to start with the Steps for Enrollment.  For help on how to use MyPalomar, view the Student MyPalomar Instructions page.

Online registration appointments are provided to students after their application is processed.  Check your MyPalomar account for your registration time. You may enroll anytime after your scheduled appointment. Students who have attended Palomar College but have missed 1 or more semesters (excluding summer) will need to reapply to Palomar in order to obtain a current registration appointment.  Fall registration begins in June. Spring registration begins in November.  Summer registration begins in May.  Checkout the Registration Timetable and the Enrollment Priority Procedure for details on your appointment assignment.

For help on how to register for classes, view the Student MyPalomar Instructions page.


The decision to change to Pass/No Pass grading must be made by the end of the fourth week of a full semester course or by the first 30% of a short-term course, after which no other evaluative grade may be given.  No faculty signature needed. However, students are advised that four-year schools may limit the number of CR units acceptable for transfer. Major preparatory classes should never be taken on a P/NP basis. ENG 100, 202 and 203 may not be taken as P/NP. In most cases, courses numbered below 100 are ideally suited for the P/NP option. Please see a counselor to find out how this option may affect your educational goals. The change of grading status is not reversible.

Complete the Pass/No Pass form to change the grading status of a class from ABC to PNP. Submit the form to the Admissions Office in the Student Services Center in San Marcos or the Escondido Center, or submit via email to from your Palomar student email.

If a class is full, you will have to “crash” the class. If you waitlist a class, then you are putting your name in a prioritized list of crashers.  As students drop the class, you will be automatically bumped up the list. In order to crash a closed class (all spaces in the class and the waitlist are filled), you must attend the first class meeting. Let the instructor know you are not enrolled and wish to “crash” the class. If there are no-shows (enrolled students who don’t claim their seats) or withdrawals (enrolled students who decide the class is not what they want), you may be allowed to enroll.  There are no guarantees on whether or not a student will be successful in crashing a class.  For more on waitlists and permission codes, click here.

To drop a class, select Enroll in your Student Center through MyPalomar and click on the Drop tab. All students are expected to attend classes. Failure to attend class can result in an “F” or “FW” grade, unless the student processes a drop before the W deadline. For help on how to drop a class, view the Student MyPalomar Instructions page.

You may also want to make an appointment with a counselor to determine if withdrawing from a class will impact your academic status at Palomar. Dropping classes is the student’s responsibility. At the same time, making sure that one is not dropped from a class is also the student’s responsibility. Pay attention to drop date deadlines in the schedule.

Click here for a list of add/drop dates and other important deadlines.

Classes must be dropped within the first two weeks of the semester to qualify for a refund or waiver. No refunds or waivers will be granted for drops after the drop date deadline, unless the class is cancelled by the College or if a verified processing error by the College occurred. There is no prorated refund schedule.  Not attending classes does not warrant a refund or waiver of fees. It is the student’s responsibility to drop classes by the refund/waiver deadline or incur the fees.  Refunds are processed after all fees or obligations owed to the College are met. Go to the Refund Policy page for specific details.

You can only repeat courses with a “D” or “F” grade.  You are allowed to attempt a course 3 times.  “W” grades are counted in the 3 attempts. After 3 unsuccessful attempts, you are not allowed to repeat the course at Palomar and can repeat the course at another college.

One needs to be a resident of California for one year prior to the residency determination date which is the day before classes begin.  In addition to residency, one has to show intent to make California a place of residency. Please visit Admissions-Residency to find the specifics for details and special residency rules.

Type in the last name on Palomar College Directory page to search for an email address.


If you need assistance in identifying your career goal, writing a resume, preparing for an interview, or finding a job, career counseling services are available for Palomar College students at the Career Center. To make an appointment or for more information about the services offered by the Career Services Center, please see the Career Center website.

Palomar has many internship opportunities for students who would like to gain real-life job experience while attending college. For a list of internship opportunities, visit the Career Center website. You may also want to check out the Cooperative Education website to learn more about how you can earn credit while working and through internships.

Visit the Career Center page for a variety of resources to help you explore career and majors.  We also offer counseling courses focusing on career exploration (Coun 165 Career Search, Coun 170 Major Search, or Coun 115 Career/Life Planning). Counseling courses are transferable to a four-year university and are degree applicable.

Transcripts and External Coursework

Please visit How to Order a Transcript page for more information on how to order your transcript.

If you want to transfer classes from another school to Palomar, submit official transcripts from all colleges to Palomar College Records Office.

A student needs to come in to see a counselor to have their college transcripts evaluated. Request to make an appointment with a counselor to determine if your classes count toward an AA degree and/or transfer, and to have an official evaluation completed.

Evaluation and application of credit from other institutions towards the Palomar AA degree and/or transfer institutions can be a complex process when the previous coursework has not been completed at another California Community College.

Students need to schedule a counseling appointment. Prepare for your counseling appointment by bringing an unofficial copy of all transcripts from institutions you attended, and copies of course descriptions from the institutions college catalog. To locate a catalog online refer to If you are requesting an evaluation of English composition courses, be prepared to bring a copy of the course syllabus too. If you do not have the syllabus, contact the department at the institution where the course was completed to obtain a copy. It is the student's responsibility to have official transcripts, from all institutions attended, sent directly to the Palomar records office.

Special Populations

Please visit Palomar Athletics website and complete the New Student-Athlete Checklist.

The DREAM Act allows students who qualify for AB 540/AB 2000 to apply for California financial aid.  Visit the California Dream Act page to fill out the application and for additional resources.


If you attended high school for at least 3 years and have graduated from high school in California (AB 540), or you have the equivalent to 3 years in high school and have attended K-12 schools for at least 3 years (AB 2000), then you are eligible for in-state tuition.  If you meet AB 540 or AB 2000, then you need to complete an AB540/AB2000 Affidavit Form to get the in-state tuition rate.