DOWNEY - College gives students the opportunity to explore new boundaries and whether it is on another coast or just down the street, one of the best ways to conquer new territory on a budget is enrolling in a community college.That is exactly what Downey High School class of 2009 graduate Angela Castelli did by beginning her higher education career at Cerritos College. For Castelli, the choice to attend Cerritos was not her first, but has benefited her in several ways. "I decided to go to a community college because I didn't want my parents to pay tons of money for general education. I've been going back and forth on different majors and I feel at a community college I have more freedom to change my major if I realize it wasn't what I expected," said Castelli. Originally accepted into Cal State Long Beach, Castelli chose to attend Cerritos not just for the money she would be saving her parents, but also for the guidance she wanted in her path towards becoming a teacher. With certain schools, it can take up to two years to begin concentrating on your major course of study. For Angela, however, Cerritos had her started right away. "TeacherTrac is a program at Cerritos that helps future teachers become more focused on their goal. My G.E. classes are actually aimed for future teachers, so we learn different teaching methods in our classes. We also work hands on in elementary schools as our field work experience. This program made me feel really comfortable with my choice to be a Liberal Studies major and has given me the confidence to be a great teacher," said Castelli. Angela has no regrets about her decision to choose Cerritos over Cal State Long Beach. Many of the professors she has encountered have taught her life lessons she won't soon forget and have made the learning experience an enjoyable one by incorporating real life stories into their lectures. She is also ready to put to rest any misconceptions students may have about attending a community college. "I think people automatically assume if you are at a community college, you failed a few classes and didn't take school seriously. I think for anyone who is having doubts with their major, going to a community college would help you find the way. The prices of classes aren't a bad factor, either," said Castelli. Now that Angela Castelli is one year out of high school and already has a year of college under her belt, she can honestly say she has enjoyed the transition and is confident going into her future. With the class of 2010 entering college this fall, she knows what it's like to be a first year and has some words of wisdom to remember. "My advice to incoming community college freshman would be to just stay focused. The homework load will be ten times less than what you are used too, but that is why you have to buy a textbook. Everything on the test will be found in the book, always. Don't fall behind, I can't stress that enough."
********** Published: July 1, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 11