• Gila Jones

    I would like to know the transfer statistics for students who are the first in their families to go to college, versus those who had parents or older siblings who went to 4 year colleges, regardless of ethnicity. I believe that one of the significant reasons students fail to transfer is lack of information about precisely what classes they need in order to transfer. In my experience, CC counselors don’t always make this clear. I believe that if parents or older siblings are there to help understand the transfer process, the likelihood of transfer is greater. I have only anecdotal information behind this belief, though, and would like to see it proved or disproved with statistics.

  • Danny Bui

    3.0+ GPA for automatic admission into UCI? Seems a bit low doesn’t it? UC TAG GPA requirements require at least a 3.4 GPA.

    • David Zenger

      Janet Nguyen got in to UCI. Not only that, she claims to have graduated. Have you ever heard her speak? The bar is lower than you think.

  • PIFA123

    Community college is like this for all that go. It is for the people that can not academically cut it in a 4 year program. No one gets out in 2 years ever. First off it is loaded with students so to get the right classes takes a act of God. Second because the under achievers go here ,they have to take all these zero credit classes in English, and Math first before getting the credited courses. It is a place of limbo and discouragement but hey if you are young it is cheap and you got time to kill any way. If you need or want better and faster then pay attention in public school, work hard, get good grades,and a scholarship to a better place. Don’t look for a free pass to it like every other thing our government doles out. Forget it. Education in this country costs either you pay with money or get those scholarships. If you do not then it is off to Community college and a long long long road of frustration.

    • prado4587

      It is weird that everyone has to take remedial classes when only people who can’t pass the remedial tests have to take the remedial classes. It’s also weird that students would chose to save money by going to community college then transfering to a four year university. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/your-money/09money.html?_r=0

      • Prado4587, you mystify me. You assert that “everyone has to take remedial classes when only people who can’t pass the remedial tests have to take the remedial classes.” That’s nonsense. Some students come prepared for college and demonstrate that fact through some sort of mechanism (often, yes, a test). They do not require remediation. What’s weird about that? You next find it “weird” that “students would chose to save money by going to community college then transfering to a four year university.” There’s nothing weird about it. Indeed, as I explained above, the Cal State U system actually recommends that students do exactly that. And, as I suggested above (and as the article you cite makes clear), it is possible to get a fine education in the first two years of college at a community college.

    • No, community college is not for people who can’t cut it. Many students at community college can “cut it”; but they can’t afford tuition at the state universities or UC. Others attend to get vocational certificates and degrees. The notion that CCs are a dumping ground for underachievers is largely a fiction.

      I do agree, however, that it is important for young people to do well in high school so they do not get stuck in remediation. That students often are compelled to take remedial courses is not the fault of the community colleges; it is a consequence of the low rates of academic achievement at high schools. Very few students who go to UC (let alone to community colleges) avoid remedial instruction. But remediation is necessary for those who want to succeed in college-level courses, which typically require substantial reading, writing, or math. Students who do their first two years of college at my college (Irvine Valley College) and then transfer to a UC actually do better than students who started at UC. The point is that a young person can get a high quality education at a community college and then transfer successfully to a State University or UC. The State U system actually recommends to students that they do their first two years at a California community college. It is true, of course, that few manage to transfer after two years, a problem with many causes, some of them mentioned in this article. It is being expressly and directly addressed in a state-wide campaign for “student success.” In my view, none of these problems will be overcome until genuine reform occurs in K-12 education so that students arrive at college prepared to do college work.
      For an excellent book on this subject, I recommend Amanda Ripley’s “The Smartest Kids in the World.”

    • MerseysideOC

      PIFA, I have to respectfully disagree with your take on Comm. Colleges (“CC”) being a bastion for non-achieving students. There are a myriad of students, such as myself, who benefited significantly from attending a CC. I was able to transfer to CSUF & finish my degree as a non-traditional student working full-time with a family. We must be careful not to paint this picture with so broad a brush stroke & lump every student that attends a CC into the “non-achievers” crowd.

      I would agree with your position that it can be frustrating to work your way through the CC system. With significant budget cuts, downsizing availability of courses, significant impacts on instructor-to-student ratios (class sizes), these truly are the cats among pigeons in academia today. More often than not, it does make life difficult in terms of finding the necessary courses needed to transfer to a 4-year university. However, no one ever said navigating your way through the Uni/CC system was ever going to be simple. It’s an inherent part of the education process, no one is exempt.

    • Cynthia Ward

      It is sad (and misguided) to assume that failure to pass the entry level tests for CC and being forced into remedial classes is due to a lack of effort on the part of students. I admit this is sometimes the case, but no “one size fits all” works in any population. I suspect anyone in school simply because they are expected to be there got weeded out at the high school level, and in large part those attending Community Colleges are there by choice and personal ambition. This is one of those areas where kids can be (not always but often) a product of their environment.

      I know personally of a high school math teacher who played episodes of the program “Lost” during class instead of teaching. His students routinely went on to flunk higher math classes because they lacked the basic skills that should have been learned under his instruction. Teachers in upper grades understood that getting a student from his class meant having to reteach what they missed before moving on to the concepts they were tasked with teaching at the appropriate grade level, and some learned to work around him, but for whatever reason, he was not disciplined! Complaints to the school and the district went nowhere, to my knowledge he is still teaching. Low income area schools often become the dumping grounds for teachers transferred out of the higher income schools where parents who have time and the education level to demand their child’s right to a quality education can get a bad teacher moved on, and they get placed where parents lack the time between 2 jobs to rally together and fight the administration for quality teachers. This is a multi-layered problem that goes far beyond lazy students looking for a “free pass.”

      In addition to not starting with a level playing field in terms of educational opportunities that set a student up for success in higher education, students from lower income families have far more responsibilities at home to distract them from homework, and extracurricular activities required by 4-year schools are an impossibility for many of these kids, who not only lack the funds to participate, but have no time. When a 14 year old is helping parents produce income with a cottage industry on weekends, while watching younger siblings after school weekdays, in addition to cooking, cleaning, and laundry (at a laundromat, not conducive to an environment for study) the chances for academic success plummet. We also know the side effects of stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of proper exercise and other issues experienced by low income families impedes learning functions, and attention spans. Overcrowded housing leaves little personal space to study quietly, constant worry from knowing the utilities are about to be shut off, and the instability of frequent moves trying to find the best apartment for the least amount of rent, takes its own toll. Add the general humiliation of arriving at school poorly dressed and/or without school supplies during a time in the development of maturity when “fitting in” is so essential to self-esteem, and a hyper-focus on personal appearance makes outcasts of those without the resources to dress appropriately, much less fashionably, for school. Kids who are hungry, cold (no jacket in the rain) sleep deprived, or stressed do not learn well, we know that. All of these seemingly small (to us) issues have enormous detrimental outcomes for kids living through these conditions, and it does have an effect on learning and achievement.

      No it is not always “the system,” and personal responsibility plays a part as well. On the flip side. I recently heard someone whining loudly, demanding assistance from a non-profit coalition, because when he filed for the new amnesty programs admitting he was undocumented, the school demanded he repay the discount for “in state” tuition! Since he had carried FULL TIME class loads FOR TEN YEARS, bouncing from program to program without completing any one certificate or degree, the balance owed was significant You have no idea how angry I was, as the previous week my son quit even TRYING to attend the same JC, for lack of class space. My American citizen kid cannot get classes in the schools I have paid taxes into for decades while this arrogant punk has his butt parked in programs for ten years flitting from class to class as school has become his excuse for not working or growing up, and has the nerve to whine that he is being held accountable for lying on his admissions forms and claiming the in state tuition discount for citizenship he does not carry. So yeah, there are always exceptions, but I think they are far fewer than the young adults who are there to try getting ahead in life.

      This article is more than just frustrating, it needs to be a call to action, and we need to figure out how to bridge the gap between what this population missed in high school and how to offer it now, NOT because the world owes everyone a living, but because I don’t want to grow old in a community where the next generation lacks an education, and thus lacks the ability to care for US in our “golden years.” We all benefit when our neighbors are educated, with higher incomes contributing more to the tax base, enjoying the means to care for and maintain their homes and keep the neighborhood nicer, this is one of those times when a rising tide DOES float all boats.

      Instead of finger pointing we need to figure out a solution, and somehow I doubt throwing more money at it is the answer. Anyone?