Community College in the fall?

High school seniors, have you made the decision to attend the local community college in the fall in lieu of the four-year university originally planned? It is in your best interest to start the application/enrollment process now (if you haven’t already done so). There is so much to do and few people holding your hand along the way…

1) Applying for the college is the first step, a student cannot register for classes without enrolling in the college. I know it sounds silly, but it can be a silly error and naive unknown.
2) Once you have applied to the college, sign up for assessments in English and Math. Don’t forget to study for the assessments! These are super important for your post-secondary future and if students fail to take these exams seriously, it could lead to several additional classes (and additional semesters needed before transferring).
3) Check to see what programs are available to students for accelerated transfer to particular universities. Honors programs, Accelerated Transfer Programs or any kind of program that offers additional advising for students are available to students on most (if not) community college campuses. Most selective majors on selective campuses offer transfer guarantee programs primarily because the receiving university wants well prepared students that have already taken the lower division courses in the major before transferring.
4) Make an appointment with a general counseling advisor. Review the necessary courses that will satisfy the general education requirements but also review the requirements for the intended major.
5) See what scholarships are available specifically for the community college students. All campuses have a financial aid/scholarship office open to students. Take advantage, even if you don’t qualify for need based federal or state financial aid.
6) Find an on-campus job. They are much more convenient for a student and they can be much more flexible than an off-campus job. Most students may need a past time job to help pay fees or books.
7) Check to see what certification or vocational programs are available at the community college and are of interest to you. Becoming certificated in a trade can come in handy if you decide to work while completing a degree after the community college. Knowing a trade is also a good skill to have.
8) Keep reminding yourself that “just community college” is a post-secondary institution. An institution of higher education gives individuals (regardless of social or economic standing) a chance to improve ones intellect but also give a chance to improve the social mobility. There are people of all ages, abilities and educational levels that enroll in community college classes. Be prepared to be challenged, to be intimidated, and to find a new love of learning in an institution of higher learning.
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Summertime is around the corner….what will you be doing?

After having answered many a frantic email about what to do for summer, here are some helpful tools to consider:

If you are an incoming freshman into high school-there are few academic summer school options for you. Some local community colleges offer summer programs and there may be space available for a summer program or if programs are still recruiting students like the Design Immersion Days Program offered through the Southern California Institute for Architecture.
Another recommendation for incoming ninth grade students is to start volunteering! Offer your services at a local community garden, at the zoo, in the local library, at the YMCA or Boys and Girls Club. If you are involved with organized religion, there may be summer opportunities available for you to help out.
Students currently in grade 9 and 10 should also volunteer, find summer work, search for additional programs that are of interest to the student. If you are college bound, remember that colleges prefer students not that are necessarily “well rounded” but that have found a particular niche in their community (in addition to maintaining a strong academic profile). Colleges are searching for students with character.
Students that may have gotten less than a C (meaning a D or Fail) in an academic class that could satisfy an A-G requirement should retake the course during summer school or at a local high school that offers credit recovery or remediation. Due to severe restraints with LAUSD, summer school is offered only for current 10th and 11th grade students that have earned a D or Fail in an academic class.
For those students that want to finish high school early, have a desire to attend UCLA, and want the most financially savvy means for pursuing a post secondary education, I recommend an early college program similar to the Ralphe Bunche Scholars Program offered through LA City College.
Students can also register NOW to take courses in the fall while they are concurrently enrolled in traditional high school. See more details here!
The worst thing a high school student can do during the summer is sit around and watch TV or play video games the entire time. While that may be permissible for an hour or so, the idle time for your brain can be an incredible detriment to you in the future.

Schools with late application deadlines and rolling admissions


Louisiana State U.–Baton Rouge

15-Apr

Clemson University (SC)

1-May

Loma Linda University (CA)

1-May

New College of Florida

1-May

Texas Tech University

1-May

University of Redlands (CA)

1-May

Florida A&M University

10-May

Azusa Pacific University (CA)

1-Jun

California State U.–Stanislaus

1-Jul

Colorado State University

1-Jul

Duquesne University (PA)

1-Jul

Seattle University

1-Jul

Texas A&M Univ.–Corpus Christi

1-Jul

Univ. of Colo.–Colorado Springs

1-Jul

University of Memphis

1-Jul

University of Texas–San Antonio

1-Jul

Univ. of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

1-Jul

Boise State University (ID)

12-Jul

SUNY–Purchase College

15-Jul

Calif. State U.–San Bernardino

17-Jul

University of Mississippi

20-Jul

Bethany College (CA)

31-Jul

Fresno Pacific University (CA)

31-Jul

Adams State College (CO)

1-Aug

California State U.–Sacramento

1-Aug

Hendrix College (AR)

1-Aug

Humboldt State University (CA)

1-Aug

San Diego Christian College (CA)

1-Aug

University of Akron (OH)

1-Aug

University of Idaho

1-Aug

University of Nebraska–Omaha

1-Aug

Cleveland State University

15-Aug

Hawaii Pacific University

15-Aug

Indiana State University

15-Aug

University of Arkansas

15-Aug

University of Louisville (KY)

22-Aug

Univ. of Missouri–St. Louis

24-Aug

New Mexico State University

28-Aug

California State Univ.–East Bay

31-Aug

American Jewish University (CA)

rolling

Arizona State University

rolling

CUNY–Brooklyn College

rolling

CUNY–City College

rolling

CUNY–York College

rolling

California Lutheran University

rolling

California Maritime Academy

rolling

California State Univ.–Bakersfield

rolling

Calif. State U.–Dominguez Hills

rolling

California State University–Monterey Bay

rolling

Carroll College (WI)

rolling

Chaminade Univ. of Honolulu

rolling

College of Santa Fe (NM)

rolling

Concordia University (CA)

rolling

Embry Riddle Aeronautical U. (FL)

rolling

Florida Institute of Technology

rolling

Hofstra University (NY)

rolling

Idaho State University

rolling

Indiana University–Bloomington

rolling

Iowa State University

rolling

La Salle University (PA)

rolling

La Sierra University (CA)

rolling

Loyola Marymount University (CA)

rolling

Michigan State University

rolling

Mills College (CA)

rolling

Northern Arizona University

rolling

Oklahoma State University

rolling

Otis Col. of Art and Design (CA)

rolling

Pacific Union College (CA)

rolling

Pennsylvania State U.–University Park

rolling

Portland State University (OR)

rolling

Purdue Univ.–West Lafayette (IN)

rolling

Regis College (MA)

rolling

Rochester Inst. of Technology (NY)

rolling

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–Camde (NJ)

rolling

SUNY–Binghamton

rolling

SUNY–Oswego

rolling

SUNY–Stony Brook

rolling

Sacred Heart University (CT)

rolling

Seton Hall University (NJ)

rolling

St. Olaf College (MN)

rolling

Stephen F. Austin State Univ. (TX)

rolling

The Citadel (SC)

rolling

University at Buffalo–SUNY

rolling

University of Alabama

rolling

University of Maryland–University College

rolling

University of Montana

rolling

University of Nevada–Las Vegas

rolling

University of Nevada–Reno

rolling

University of Pittsburgh

rolling

University of Tampa (FL)

rolling

University of the Pacific (CA)

rolling

Utah State University

rolling

Western Oregon University

rolling

Alternative Options….after the rejection letter is received

Many students have been notified of their acceptance or rejection to the list of colleges to which they applied earlier this school year. If you are one of the few that were accepted into your top choice, then congratulations! More information for you will follow suit.

For those that got more (or all) rejections, here are some ideas to think about:
Check out other schools that have rolling admissions or late application deadlines.
There are alternatives to immediately starting your academic careers right out of high school. The National Association for College Admission Counseling have some pretty helpful articles to help you understand your options.
All hope is not lost because you didn’t get in to your top school. You will prevail, you will make things happen. This is just a road block that you have to get through….si se puede!

Unsure? That’s what "Undeclared" is for…

I had an awesome conversation yesterday with one of my student runners. He says he is worried that people keep talking to him about college and he hasn’t got a clue about what he wants to do in college, where he wants to go, and how he’s going to get there.

Coupled with a struggling tenth grade, this student felt like all hope was lost and that he would never get in to college.

Does this story sound like you? Yeah, it sounded like me in 10th grade too….and probably your classmate. And the kid in Kansas and the other one in Alameda.

Here’s the thing, generations ago when parents had many children to work the land and to continue to provide for the larger family, children were required to grow up, get married and have children sooner. That was then.

This is now.

Nowadays, young people stay in obligatory school until the age of seventeen or eighteen. Students are required to take the same classes as their peers in a school that has the same requirements as other schools in the state (in our case, California). This rarely fosters an opportunity for a student to explore careers or future programs of study. Unless the student has found an interest of their own by chance or by having incredibly involved parents fostering that interest, it’s not likely that a student in high school will know what they want to do for the rest of their life.

That’s OK. Yes, I said it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know many young people that barely made it through high school and realized that they wanted to make music, films or play sports right away and so the rest of the world became secondary. Even post secondary education. But that’s a small fraction of a percentage…(like the amount of marathoners in the U.S.).

If you are lucky enough to know what profession you would like to pursue after college, 6-7 years from now, that’s great! Just know that you are certainly in the minority. Chances are that you may change your mind while in college or after college. That’s OK, too. I started out wanting to be a lawyer. I am a school counselor. I love my job but who knows what the future may hold for me. My younger cousin wanted to be a ice cream truck driver when we were younger. She is now studying to be a nurse and finds that just as fascinating as an ice cream truck driver.

As a student in high school, there are many opportunities to help you decide which options are available to you. This article is a helpful place to start:
“Choosing a College Major”

Also, I encourage you to check out some of the college questionnaires (and no not the ones on Facebook):

Delta Personality Mosaic

Career Key

Career Zone
Mapping your Career

Show this article to your parents

Another way one can begin the career search is by starting to take classes at the local community college. Classes are free for students in the Los Angeles area, take advantage of this and take a class on welding, or ceramics, woodshop or even Sociology! Talk to your counselor about the many options to help you decide what field of study you would like to pursue.

Also, start volunteering or check out some clubs at your school. Google the volunteering opportunities within your community. Ask your parents if they have internships available at their work (or at friends’ place of employment).

If you’re still not sure, use those inner childhood dream voices to help direct you in the right path. Those young children that lacked the overly articulate and increased pressure of the world had some awesome ways of looking at the world. Look to them for guidance…and read this cool piece by another young adult that kept that inner voice alive through his double major.

Lastly, I must mention that if you may be struggling in the tenth grade, all hope is not lost, there is time to make up any classes that you may have gotten a D or F in, and it won’t affect your chances of getting in to your most ideal school. Although you may have to attend summer school or adult school to make up the grade, there is still time. Know that universities favor an upward trajectory in grades from 9th to 11th grade, of course if your grades stay the same or decline over the years, that is definitely a bad sign. Take care of the GPA and balance the rigor because that is the first thing that colleges or universities look at when determining selectivity for admissions.

It is OK to not know what you want to do for the next 50 years of your life. You have 50 years to decide that. Now lets take the next five years, one step/click at a time. Be you and you will be happy. But, take care of your business now so that you’re not “I should have….” or “I should not have…” No one wants to should themselves.

ACT vs. SAT?

Are you at that point in your high school academic career where you still don’t know which test to take that will best represent you as a person (or get you the highest score on your applications)?

Here is a quick flyer on the differences between the two tests:

SAT v. ACT – what is the difference?

Do you want to take a practice test before you sit down for the real thing? Hamilton High School, in partnership with the Princeton Review offers just that!

On November 13th, we will have a practice test for BOTH the SAT and the ACT. Then on the following Wednesday, the Princeton Review will have a score interpretation night to explain your scores and offer suggestions on how to prepare and which tests to take. Of course, you can sign up for the test preparation class with them that is offered here at Hamilton, but if you just want to see your scores and have other plans for test prep, use this time to strategize!

Sign up in the Hamilton High School College Office (Room 109) to be guaranteed a seat in the practice test. Cost is only $10.

Are you wondering whether you should take these tests multiple times in hopes of getting a better score? Read some helpful hints from a fellow counselor regarding taking the test multiple times.

Do you have more questions? I recommend talking to your counselor.

From the perspective of a student….

The following is an article from Hami Humanities “Weltanschauung” (Worldview in German).

Ci Vediamo in Italia (See you in Italy)

As many of us know, either from rumors, experience, or current placement, 11th grade in the Humanities Magnet is a difficult year. Of course the expectations of Junior year add to that stress, but sleepless nights and numerous cups of coffee a day prove those forewarnings true. And what’s the reason for the stressful period? It all boils down to College. I’d like to think that answer is only a generalization and that some of us chose our classes in order to (do I dare say) learn? And as much as I reasoned against it, and claimed to choose my class solely based on interest, the bottom line of why we took (or were forced to take) those classes comes down to looking good for college.

To give myself a break from this “life after high school” anxiety, I disappeared to Europe for two months. Not once did college applications, SAT scores, and brand name universities cross my mind. Instead, I explored the diverse life-styles of Europeans. Across 5 countries I lived as 5 different people leaving my high school life behind me. I adopted the lifestyles of restless Isle of Man young adults, cultured Parisian students, Austria settling expatriates, Swiss workaholics, and Italian studying International students.


And through all these experiences, I find myself most comfortable with Italy. And it’s not necessarily because of my Italian heritage, but because of the Italian way of life. But before you stereotype the Italian as a pasta-eating Mafioso, the true Italian, the one left out in movies, works for only a few hours in the morning and the evening and spends the rest of the time relaxing and enjoying life through numerous social gatherings, including food festivals and music concerts.
Before my visit, I found it strange that most Italians don’t choose to travel or move outside of the country, and that those who have left are now moving back, but after living there for 6 weeks, I can see why. During my time there, I had no interest in the American Lifestyle, and I still don’t. In Italy they have a saying that explains perfectly what I feel: “In America you live to work, but in Italy you work to live.” No one needs luxury in their lives and these Italians, who don’t have very much, are a million times happier than anyone I know here in the States.


Additionally, the opportunity to study with students from all over the world, at all ages, was another adopted lifestyle all on its own. For 5 weeks I lived in San Giovanni Valdarno, a small Tuscan town where the only foreigners were students attending the small language school and a group of German students studying geography at the local university. At it’s zenith, our school had 18 students split between 3 classes and the only other American was my 30 year old roommate, Carrie, from Tennessee, which depending on our culture difference, could almost be an entirely separate country.

But besides our many surface differences, you’d be surprised by the similarities you do find between these international people. I’ve made best friends with people who, before they met me, thought Los Angeles was a completely different world only in American movies and no one besides movie stars lived here. And the best part of these friends is that we all have a common interest of studying the Italian language and culture. Together we adopted the Italian life style of having morning espressos before class, sleeping away the hottest part of the day, and sitting with Gianni, the pizzeria owner downstairs, while he plays and sings Italian songs with his guitar.

So in short, this summer gave me a taste of the other options out in life that most of us don’t learn about from our Fiske College Guides. We spend all of our Junior year stressing ourselves thin in order to get into a top school, but in 11th grade most of us don’t know what we want. I recommend that everyone try to find out who they are before they sign up for something they might not even want.

Rosa is a fabulous grade 12 student in the Humanities Magnet. The article was reprinted with permission. She can be contacted through email at rosapalermo1@yahoo.com

Career Programs at Community Colleges

Two weeks ago I wrote you about the perils of “Career Programs on Television Commercials”. As a follow up, I make the case for pursuing career programs at community colleges.

Cost vs. Earning: Unlike “for-profit” schools, community colleges offer low tuition rates. California residents currently pay only $26 per unit. On average, full time students will pay approximately $300 per semester plus the cost of textbooks.

I agree with you if that sounds like a substantial sum of money…and the community colleges think so too. In response, all community colleges offer qualifying students fee waivers, grants, and other supplemental forms of financial assistance. Please visit the “FINANCIAL AID INFO” for details.

Fee Waivers: Qualifying students of low-income backgrounds qualify to have tuition waived; meaning that you do not pay for the cost of classes. A fee waiver covers an entire academic year and is renewable. You do not need to pay this back.

CAL & PELL Grants: Qualifying students that complete the FAFSA may receive grants (free money) to help you pay for your living & travel expenses, textbooks, etc. while in school. Maximum eligibility at a community college is approximately $7,500 dollars per academic year.

“Non-profit” education: Unlike the “for-profit” vocational schools in television commercials, community colleges do not operate to make a profit. Community college are mostly funded by taxpayer dollars; which explains why tuition is so low. Earnings from tuition are used to offset educational costs and surpluses are reinvested into the college.

Job Placement? No reputable institution will guarantee you a job. What community colleges can guarantee you is you will have access to career/job centers that will assist you in developing a resume, teach you how to look for jobs, and prepare you for interviews. As soon as you select a community college, inquire about their career counseling services.

Recognition: All community colleges offer classes and programs that lead to career and vocational certificates/degrees. To name a few, these programs can include Aviation Maintenance, construction, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental hygiene, design, electrical engineering, graphic arts, nursing, paralegal studies, etc. etc. etc. These programs have broad oversight by state and federal regulators and governing bodies that accredit California’s prestigious universities.

To view vocational certificates listings for local community colleges, please visit the links below:

Los Angeles Community College District
West Los Angeles College
Santa Monica College
El Camino College

Note: This blog above only covers career/vocational certificates. Please visit this blog soon for a review of Associate Degree (A.A./A.S.) and community college transfer processes.

Angel Viramontes
Student Recruiter
West Los Angeles College
viramoa@wlac.edu
www.wlac.edu/highschool

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