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An Damning Article on Cal Community Colleges

NCalRentNCalRent Registered User Posts: 5,827 Senior Member
edited May 2013 in California Colleges
My wife pointed me to this article:

The article does talk about some onging changes/improvements but, overall paint a bleak picture for Cal CC students.

Transfer club at Oakland's Merritt College helps students navigate path to universities - ContraCostaTimes.com

"Each year, more than 100,000 students flock to California's community colleges with the hope of transferring to four-year institutions. Only about a quarter of them make the leap within four years. The reasons behind that statistic are many, from a lack of academic preparation to the formidable balancing act that some students manage with work, study and family. But the notoriously complex transfer process hasn't helped. With its countless deadlines and a different set of requirements for each university campus and major, the path to a bachelor's degree is often hard to see."


"In recent years, students faced a moving target as colleges froze spring transfer admissions or stiffened requirements to ration slots -- all while community colleges cut back on classes and academic counseling. "

Many moons ago, I went to a CC, transfered to a CSU in 2 years and graduated 2 years after that. I felt like I was fighting a tide the whole time. It sounds like that current has gotten stronger.

Meanwhile, highschoolers through out the state are being led to believe transfering to a CSU or UC of theri choosing in 2 years is easy and cost effective. I think it's a shame.
Post edited by NCalRent on

Replies to: An Damning Article on Cal Community Colleges

  • crizellocrizello Registered User Posts: 1,293 Senior Member
    It is a shame. The statistics are true. About 20% of CC students actually graduate with a certificate or AA degree and matriculated to a 4 year

    The maze of requirements to transfer is dizzying, and only the most motivated make it. You have to know exactly which school you are aiming for to ensure you meet all the requirements.

    It doesnt help either that classes are overcrowded with waiting lists. And frankly, in CA, I think that CC tuition is too low. There are a lot of people at CC that are just cruising around with no goal.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,894 Senior Member
    But the notoriously complex transfer process hasn't helped. With its countless deadlines and a different set of requirements for each university campus and major, the path to a bachelor's degree is often hard to see.

    Welcome to ASSIST is much better than what other states typically offer in that is gives lists of the exact CC courses needed for each major at each UC/CSU. In many other states, the CC student has to look up the articulation list, then look up the major requirements in the state university's catalog and match them up to figure out what s/he needs to take to transfer.
    crizello wrote:
    There are a lot of people at CC that are just cruising around with no goal.

    That also makes it hard to determine what the low graduation or transfer rates actually mean. There are also students at CCs who just take a few courses for personal interest (e.g. learning another language) without any degree, certificate, or transfer goal.
  • turtlerockturtlerock Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    Good points.

    I haven't transferred yet (get to apply this Fall . . .), but before I even started at CC I spent the better part of 6 months constantly reviewing different schools' transfer processes, requirements, and everything else. I realized before I started that to have a real chance to get in and out in 2 years, I would have to decide on a school/program to transfer to, stick with it, and pray the schedule of classes falls my way. To know I am on track, I've created a spreadsheet with a timeline of requirements down to each single course for a few related schools/programs (e.g. CSUs with same major, etc) and constantly check all the webpages and databases online to determine if anything has changed.

    It's a lot more effort, but hopefully it will pay off - and so far I'm still on track to have all the requirements completed in 2 years. However, this summer I foresee myself having to make some new product to keep up with the myriad of deadlines and application items for the different schools I'll apply to.

    Sometimes I wonder how other students have kept up with it as well as I have, let alone to get at least 20% of all students to hang in there.

    To be fair with the data, CC student demographics are commonly misinterpreted because they are much more demographically diverse than a traditional 4-year institution. A higher proportion of students work (often full-time, like myself), have family commitments, or other more "adult" things going on that make it more difficult to devote time to class or studies, and thus motivation is often lost. So when they say 20% make the transfer point . . . only 20% of a CC's students may have the time or resources to 'keep on keeping on' in school to begin with. And then, yes, there are those who have the time and resources to reach a goal, but choose not to . . .
  • MLMMLM Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    I think with the implementation of SB1440 SB 1440 Student Transfer > Home transfer procedures have become much easier to navigate if you intend to transfer to a CSU (and for those transferring to a UC, following IGECT). Assist.com was a big help, but SB1440 was a huge step in the right direction. My daughter has registered for enrollment at a CC for this fall and during mandatory orientation and workshops all transfer procedures were discussed quite thoroughly. She registered for classes a few weeks ago and didn't have any problem getting all the classes she wanted. Her plans are to transfer to either a local CSU or possibly one of the private schools which have guaranteed contract agreements with the CC (and their transfer requirements are quite clear). She received information on the Puente Project at her CC during one of the workshops (which she isn't interested in) and I'm strongly encouraging her to join the Transfer Club just to keep informed.
  • MLMMLM Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    Adding a bit on to my previous post. I don't think SB1440 will increase the number of students transferring to 4-year colleges, it will just make it easier for those who intend to transfer. At D's future CC (not the one in the article the OP posted), there are 10K students, and only 2K are full time degree seeking students. I don't think the statistics will change (and I don't think anyone would expect them to). There are many part time students with families, working students, those taking random classes through necessity or interest, etc.
  • NCalRentNCalRent Registered User Posts: 5,827 Senior Member
    Good discussion - I appreciate the real life feedback.

    It sounds like the student experience varies campus to campus.

    Classmates of my son are having trouble geting more than 2-3 classes at our local CC. I am sure there are some opportunities to add classes but they are starting out pretty discouraged.

    I think the legislation will help students who have a specific goal and it's not a transfer to a super competitive school. Cal Poly SLO and SDSU, for example, are as selective (or more) for non-local x-fer as they are for freshman admission. You need to get your courses and maintain a competitive GPA (like an A- which is hard at the college level). I understand the GPA threshold at competitive schools varies year to year and major to major. There are only so many seats...

    I guess my frustration is, i am seeing kids (and their families) who bought into the 'Easy and Cheap 2 year Transfer to your Dream School' sales pitch. They are quickly finding that, though tuition may be lower, it will take you more time, it won't be easy and you probably won't get into UCLA.

    Many of these kids would have probably been better served attending a more pedestrian school out of the gate. It's probably where they will wind up anyway.

    I wonder if all the participation trophies awarded to these kids (mine included) have deluded them into thinking they all belong at UCLA. In truth, a small sliver of the CA student body is in the top 5%.
  • MLMMLM Registered User Posts: 743 Member
    While there are times when it’s difficult to get a particular class (regardless of which college you are at), many times students are picky about their scheduling and don’t want early classes or classes on particular days. D’s boyfriend claimed to have difficulty in getting classes last semester, but it turned out he didn't want a class that started before 9:30 AM or that ended later than 12:30! Then he complained that he couldn't fit the classes that were available into his schedule! D didn't have priority registration, but was able to schedule with no problem. Three days a week her class starts at 8:10, and she has 3 consecutive classes that day with a 10 minute break in between. Two other days she starts at 9:00. For students who have other obligations besides school – work, young children, etc., I’m sure scheduling can be very difficult.

    I've not heard kids/their families claiming they will save money by attending CC (and then transferring to a dream school). I have read a few comments on my son’s Facebook where classmates were claiming by attending CC they will not be 50K in debt (and ranting about how stupid it is to attend a 4-year college instead of going to a community college). Everyone was polite and didn't engage in the discussion, just let them rant on….but many of the kids who made other college choices will not have families in debt! Their families saved or have funds available for college.

    This is a real interesting website on college pathways, including transfers, and it’s unfortunate they don’t include info for the past year or two…but interesting still. California Postsecondary Education Commission -- Transfer Pathways The CC my D will attend has had a medium transfer pathway to UCB and UCD (averaging 20-99 students transferring per year), and a large transfer pathway (100+students transferring per year) to SFSU and SJSU (which makes sense as they are the CSU’s north and south of us and some kids want to stay in the area). Cal Poly SLO gets the majority of its transfer students from Cuesta Community College (which “feeds” into Cal Poly SLO). SLO is very much a non-typical CSU in every way – application process and admission process and very difficult to transfer into (heck, it's difficult to get into, period!). D’s twin brother will be attending in the fall (as a freshman). If anyone has an interest in attending SLO as a transfer student….I’d suggest they attend Cuesta Community College.
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