Which GE pattern is right for you?
To begin with, every college has a different GE pattern. If you plan on working towards an Associate degree then you will follow De Anza's GE pattern.
Planning GE classes for transfer to CSU or UC:
If you plan to transfer to a CSU or UC, then you will probably follow either the CSU GE pattern for the CSU or the IGETC for the UC. If you are unsure whether you intend to transfer to a CSU or UC, then you should follow the IGETC since it can be used for both. Both GE patterns are generic GE patterns that students can work towards at any community college. A note of caution: some majors at some UCs do not accept the IGETC. Usually this information can be found on ASSIST.org. A counselor or academic advisor can assist you in GE selection.
What if I'm planning to transfer to a private or out-of-state university?
If you are planning to transfer to a private or an out-of-state university, then you can consult that school's catalog to identify what GE classes to take. This can be tricky, so please allow a counselor or advisor to assist you with your course planning. When in doubt, however, following the IGETC is a sound idea. Keep in mind that many private colleges, especially ones that focus on the arts, require less general education courses than what is required for the IGETC. A college advisor from that school can advise you on what types of GE courses you should take.
What about 'high-unit' majors?
For the most part, if you plan to transfer to a CSU or a UC, then follow the CSU or IGETC pattern which works best for you. But there are exceptions, especially if you are in what is called a 'high-unit' major.
A high unit major is a major in which there is an especially large number of lower division major prerequisites that should be completed before transfer. Examples of high unit majors include engineering and the sciences.
In these instances, it is important for the student to complete most if not all the major requirements and then complete the minimum GE requirements to be eligible for admission. As you compare the CSU GE pattern with the IGETC, you will learn which GE classes to take.