Career Programs on Television Commercials

If you’ve flipped through commercials during your favorite ball game or television show, you may have come across commercials promoting programs to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2 years, career programs that offer specialized hands on training, or programs that offer job placement assistance.

Before you log onto their easy to remember websites, before you call to see if that cute, singing girl in the commercial answers the toll-free hot line, or purchase plastic goggles like those uniformed mechanics on the billboards, permit me to give you the rebuttal to those commercials;

1. Cost vs. Earning: The vocations highlighted on those commercials, while necessary to society, come at an unnecessarily high cost.

The costs of their programs are usually in the thousands of dollars and a big portion of the financial aid assistance they advertise will come in the form of student loans you will need to pay back. Unfortunately, the pay you can expect from the training (assuming you can find a job) will make it difficult to repay those thousands of dollars in student loans and lead into a very long struggle with debt. And should you decide that program is not for you, you will still be “on the hook” for the tuition and fees for the entire program.

An investigative report by the Wall Street Journal indicated that students at “for profit” schools were most likely to default on repayments of students loans.

2. “For profit” education: The commercials advertise schools and programs designed to make a profit.

Many, if not all, of these schools are funded by corporations with the goal of making money for stockholders. A portion of the tuition and fees are designed to cover expenses, but are usually funneled into the pockets of outside investors. While making money is not a crime, you should be aware of how those program operate…by making a profit from you.

A 2010 Reuters article cited a report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the United States Congress, in which it reports very troubling activities at “for-profit” universities; including higher tuition and deceptive practices.

3. Few, if any, of the classes students complete at “for-profit” schools transfer to traditional universities.

Unlike high school and community colleges, the “for-profit” schools do not have admissions or transfer agreements with UC’s or CSU’s. They do not have agreements with reputable private universities. This means that, while you will develop a transcript at the “for-profit” school, you will not receive credit for them if you wish to eventually transfer your credits to a community college or university.

4. Job Placement Assistance is not a job guarantee.

The term job placement can mean just about anything: a one-time mock interview, a simple handout on “what not to do” on an interview, or explaining how to find job listings online. Either way, it is not the same as guaranteeing you a job.There are alternatives.

Visit this blog soon for additional details….

Angel Viramontes
West Los Angeles College
Outreach Coordinator


UC Admissions

What is in store for UC Admissions? I thought you’d never ask! 🙂

For the Class of 2011, your admissions review falls under the traditional process: GPA, Courses Completed, Extracurricular Activities, Test Scores. The UC system is very clear about what they are looking for in students and have no problem explaining what Comprehensive Review means-even at the individual schools.

For the Class of 2012 and beyond here are some details from the University of California Office of the President that is meant to allow more students become eligible for the UC system:

What are the top factors to be eligible (and competitive)? Academics. Courses. GPA.

Your application will be read, no matter whether you are eligible based on this criteria and your test scores may be less important to the application process, but there is a reason that Academics and GPA are listed first. They are the most important factor when considering admissions.

You can have the most awesome extracurricular profile, but if your GPA doesn’t match up then you will already be at a disadvantage when your application is in comprehensive review.

Remember, balance. Show off your best assets and be true to who you are. Trust me, the admissions readers and officers can tell who is genuine and who got help writing their essay.

A New Year, A New Attitude

Six more days until the first day of school. It’s time to put forth all those promises and commitments to yourself and your parents and kick it into gear. For some, this is the last year to make a difference either academically or socially. Make it a good one.

Here are some tips to help you have the most successful year yet.

  • Invest in a calendar (or planner or organizer of some sort). Although I am a fan of an electronic calendar, I must admit that I am horrible when writing down my work and “To Do” list on my phone. A calendar or planner will help to keep your thoughts organized and written down in the same place.
  • Keep in communication with your parents. Yes, I know this may be a very difficult task for teenagers, but it will come in handy for you, trust me. Your parents know way more about life than you think. One of the most important things to keep your parents in the loop with is your calendar, knowing important dates and tests will help them feel better about being in touch with your life.
  • Start the year off strong! Commit to yourself (and your future) that you will keep up with your school work and study for those tests, submit your best work and be proud of your academic reputation. I can’t tell you how many times I (and people around me) regret not starting this project earlier or not writing that paper sooner. Be proud of how you represent yourself through your work.
  • Keep in constant communication with your teachers, they can be great resources (and can even write some awesome letters of recommendation).
  • Get involved with stuff that matters to you! Do work/activities that make you happy because that will be the best representation of who you are to colleges/universities.
  • Be flexible, keep an open mind, keep your creativity active, smile as much as possible and take many deep breaths. Take care of yourself and de-stress with physical activity-take a run, go for a swim or bike to a friends house. You must take care of you.