Junior college blues

DOWNEY - Thanks to the failing economy and continuous budget cuts, more and more high school graduates are running into financial roadblocks when moving on to follow their dreams of attending college, whether it is a UC, Cal State or community.Unfortunately, for many community college hopefuls, the task of registering for classes this year was a headache to say the least. Many students entering a community college for this fall semester were rudely awakened by the over-crowded classes and lack of resources available to them. Some students were forced to take classes that weren't transferable simply to gain units that would allow priority registration in the future, while others were pushed to take classes at ridiculous times of the day, placing their already busy lives on hold. "I was fortunate enough to get into classes that were transferable, but my class schedule was all over the place. I had class on Monday at 6:30 in the morning, then another class the same day at 7:30 at night. I understand that the state is going through budget cuts, but they need to find a way to help out newer college students," said Angelo Stephens. "Because of all these things happening, I ended up not even attending school this semester; it was just too much of a hassle." While some took classes that were less than ideal, other students were forced to take more drastic measures. Because their needs could not be fulfilled at just one institution, they were driven to meet their needs in any way possible. "I had to register at another college just to take one of the classes I needed to transfer. Thankfully, I got the class I needed, and even better, the class is available online so I don't have to drive all the way to school," said Shanon Aldaco. While many students did face hardships, others were proactive in their approach, and found ways to get the classes necessary to set them on the right track. Whether it was taking summer courses or getting involved in sports and clubs, students found ways to avoid the influx of high school graduates. "The cool thing about summer classes that most people don't realize is that you don't need to take some hardcore class that's going to interfere with your summer in order to acquire the registration benefits," said Ryan Somohano. "There's this course they offer at Cerritos during the summer called Counseling 50, and it's a three hour a day class that prepares you for school, giving you campus tours, transfer information, and they even help you pick your fall schedule. The best part is the whole course only lasts four days, and you get the same priority registration that people who took whole courses over the summer get." While entering a community college can be a struggle, taking preventative measures and being proactive can ensure a positive first experience. Talk to your counselors early to avoid the long lines and the headaches.

********** Published: September 2, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 20