In California, a few state universities accept lower-division transfer students, while most private universities have less restrictive transfer policies. Many of these universities had very successful 2012 freshman retention and graduation rates, with high rankings compared to over 22,000 world institutions in 2014, by the Ranking Web of Universities, or Webometrics. These universities take a more holistic view of transfer students.

Northern California

Buildings on the UC Davis campus
Buildings on the UC Davis campus

The University of California at Davis, ranked 59th according to Webometrics, with a 92 percent freshman retention and an 81 percent graduation rate, occasionally accepts a few lower-division students into the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The University of the Pacific at Stockton, a private university, ranked 1,572 with a freshman retention rate of 83 percent and a graduation rate of 58 percent. Simpson University, a Christian university, of Redding has a 74 percent freshman retention rate, and ranked 4,680 according to Webometrics, with a graduation rate of 41 percent.

Middle California

Students walking through the UC Berkeley campus
Students walking through the UC Berkeley campus

The University of California at Berkeley, with a 96 percent retention and 71 percent graduate rate, ranking sixth according to Webometrics, offers a student transfer program to ensure those students are successful. Santa Clara University, a Catholic University, has a 94 percent retention and a 77 percent graduation rate, ranking 634th according to Webometrics. The University of San Francisco, a Catholic university, ranked 1,046 according to Webometrics, with an 84 percent freshman retention rate and a 58 percent graduation rate. Azusa Pacific University, a Christian university, ranked 2,444 according to Webometrics, with a 63 percent graduation rate and an 83 percent freshman retention rate. Northwestern Polytechnic University of Fremont, a private university, ranked 9,327 by Webometrics, with a freshman retention rate of 66 percent and a graduation rate of 61 percent. Lincoln University of Oakland, a private university, ranked 1,553 according to Webometrics, with a freshman retention rate of 67 percent and a graduation rate of 84 percent. Holy Names University, a Catholic University, ranked 6,590 by Webometrics, with a freshman retention rate of 72 percent and a graduation rate of 39 percent.

Inland California

College students studying in a library
College students studying in a library

The California State University at Bakersfield ranked 2,251 by Webometrics, with a freshman retention rate of 72 percent and a 39 percent graduation rate. The University of the Redlands, a private university, had a freshman retention rate of 91 percent and a graduation rate of 72 percent, with a Webometrics ranking of 3,053. Fresno Pacific University of Fresno, a Christian university, ranked 4,725 according to Webometrics, with a 78 percent freshman retention rate and a 59 percent graduation rate.

Southern California

College students walking through campus
College students walking through campus

The University of San Diego, a Catholic university, successfully retained 87 percent of its freshman students, with a 64 percent graduation rate, ranking 1,003 according to Webometrics. The University of Southern California, a private university, ranked 27th according to Webometrics, with a 97 percent freshman retention rate and a 90 percent graduation rate. Loyola Marymount University of Los Angeles ranked 1,283 according to Webometrics, with an 89 percent freshman retention rate and a 75 percent graduation rate. Pepperdine University of Malibu, a private university, ranked 1,589 according to Webometrics, with an 81 percent graduation rate and a 91 percent freshman retention rate. Woodbury University of Burbank, a private university, ranked 4,603 according to Webometrics, with an 83 percent freshman retention rate and a 59 percent graduation rate. Soka University of America of Aliso Viejo, a private university, ranked 6,268 by Webometrics, with a graduation rate of 92 percent and a freshman retention rate of 99 percent.