Finding the Fit: 24 and Overboard

Name: that part was easy. Date of birth: June, 1989, which made me a few months short of my 25th birthday the first time I applied to transfer to a 4-year university. A lot older than my perfect cousin, who at my age was a college graduate and a newlywed, and eons older than my mother who at 24 had been married for 3 years and in a whole new country. No, not me. I was still living in the same house where I had my 5th birthday and only a few feet away from my childhood bedroom. Where had I gone wrong? I wanted to escape and see the world. College was my answer except I was still at a community college 7 years after my high school graduation, and I would be there one more. This story doesn’t have a happy ending so if you are looking for that I’m sure you will find it on some of the other pages. You have now officially been warned. I had one more class to finish in order to transfer, and unlike thousands of other college students crashing classes I had been able to enroll … [Read more...]

Don’t Rush to ADT the UC

The University of California (UC) recently released a report titled “Preparing California For Its Future: Enhancing Community College Student Transfer to UC,” which discusses imbalances in UC transfer admissions and examines possible social, economic, academic, and institutional causes. They point out the fact that the vast majority of transfer students are admitted from a small handful of the state’s 112 community colleges. I commend the UC and President Janet Napolitano for creating a Transfer Action Team and publishing this study, which shows a degree of transparency that is much appreciated. As a Transfer Center Coordinator, I particularly like that the tone of the report is that of partnership. No one person, institution, or solution can address all of the challenges we face in California’s system of higher education. Within days of the report’s publication,a statement was issued by theCampaign for College Opportunity in which Executive Director Michelle Siqueiros (citing UC … [Read more...]

Thanks for the Entertainment

While many students this time of year are celebrating wonderful admission letters, scholarship awards, etc., and then there are also the other ones. You know the ones I mean. The students with the situations that make us sigh, cry, laugh, or triple facepalm. Some of them are exasperating, some are odd, and some are downright entertaining. You know who they are… if only they knew who they were! Conversations with them often include phrases like: “I thought for sure I’d get in to First Choice University, so I didn’t apply anywhere else” (stated with denial letter in hand). We all know this one. This is usually the student who never made a counseling appointment, attended a workshop, or looked at the university’s website, because “they” know better than we do. The student heard “them” say it was easy to get admitted. It turns out that “they” did their college research via memes on Instagram. “I was going to apply to Local State U., but I heard the parking there is even worse than … [Read more...]

Transfer Topics: The Jeopardy Method

I once took a class in which the instructor used what he referred to as the “Jeopardy Method” of grading. Under his system, students earned points for correct test answers, well-written essays, etc., but we could also lose points for poor performance, even on optional extra credit projects. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least, as I approached an extra credit report knowing that the score could either solidify the A I’d earned so far, or drop my grade to a C for class. Since students never really knew what goal they needed to work for at any given time, it’s no surprise that his “Jeopardy Method” left people with a lot of questions and doubts about their status and the fairness of his system. I sometimes wonder if some universities also believe in some sort of “Jeopardy Method” in managing their transfer admissions criteria. I should point out that I am a Transfer Center Coordinator, and while I work with Admissions and Outreach personnel at many schools, my perspective is … [Read more...]

Community Colleges Offering Bachelor’s-Part 2

Here is the ideal bachelor’s degree program offered at a community college: “The Southern Illinois University program is an accelerated bachelor’s degree program in Aviation Management, held in our classrooms at Mt. San Antonio College. Students completing the A.S. degree at Mt. SAC (with special attention to specific details about the SIU general education requirements) can enter the SIU B.S. degree program in Aviation Management immediately after completion of their A.S. degree.” ( I am all for collaborating with baccalaureate granting institutions to create programs like the one above. Let the community colleges focus on what we do best, which is remediation for underprepared students, A.A. degrees, vocational education, lifelong learning, and transfer. Even with these missions, there are tussles over resources at each of our community colleges for the folks in charge of each of these missions. You … [Read more...]