News 3/26/10

Transfer requirements vary with universities

By Sarah Hlavaty
Features Editor    

As colleges are being forced to cut back on their programs, high school students should be aware of upcoming changes and be proactive about their education. For example, the transfer process from a junior or community college to a university may contain many future problems and stress.
Although many high school seniors in California plan to start out at a two-year college and transfer to a four-year school later on because of money issues and personal preferences, there are some hidden dangers that can cause trouble when the time comes to switch schools.
A recent article published in The Sacramento Bee on listed some of the problems related to transferring between schools and what actions were being taken to solve them.
The basic problem is that four-year universities differ on what they require from community college transfer students.
In the article, Nancy Shulock, a professor at the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, was quoted from her testimony at a California joint legislative committee while it was reviewing California’s 50-year-old Master Plan for Higher Education on Mar. 10.
She spoke about how the state needs a more straightforward process for students who are transferring to four-year universities.
A California state official, Judy Heiman, argued that this is the most pressing time for a change in the transfer process because of the ongoing budget crisis.
“Now is the time to do something that makes it [the transfer process] more efficient for students and for campuses, “ said Heiman.
There is a new idea making its way around to California education officials that all three branches of higher education in the state should come together, agree on and prepare requirements for each possible major, so as to fix the tangled web of different requirements each branch currently has.  Instead of transfer agreements mostly being built between local institutions as they are now, the agreements would be taken care of by whole statewide systems.
Some of the present problems many students are running into have to do with requirements classes.  For example, if a student were trying to transfer to a CSU as a psychology major, San Jose State requires
a biology or anatomy class, Sonoma State requires a statistics class, and Sac State doesn’t require either.
Many UC campuses have even additional prerequisites than CSU schools, differing from college to college.
Currently, there is a group of professionals coming together from a variety of community colleges, UC and CSU campuses who are assigned to try and improve the transfer process; they started presenting some recommendations a few weeks ago.  All the leaders of    California’s state education system are meeting on Apr. 8 to discuss how to make the process better for all involved.
LHS academic advisor Janet McHenry said that LHS graduates who plan to attend a community college and transfer to a four-year university should understand several things.
“First, they need to know that you can’t transfer without the two-year degree.
“Second, they should know from the beginning what the transfer requirements are at the four-year universities they are considering and make sure they complete those transferrable courses.
“Third, all college students should make sure that every course they take counts toward something–their general education requirements or their major courses.”
McHenry also said that seniors who want to go to community college in the fall and who haven’t yet enrolled, should go online immediately.
“Even community colleges are facing cutbacks,” she said. “It doesn’t cost anything to enroll in a California community college, so seniors should do that now.”

Students moved by Step 2 experience

By Angelina Folchi
Roar Reporter

Since 1995 LHS teachers and students have been carrying on the tradition of visiting women with personal treatment needs at Step 2 in Reno. Step 2 is an extensive substance abuse treatment program that provides for women and their children suffering from chemical addiction, poverty and domestic violence. The result is self-sufficient, thriving families.
This year, as well as the past four years, teacher Kim McKinney is in charge of the field trip. She’ll choose seven volunteers to accompany her to Step 2 the week before spring break.
McKinney wants a mixture of old and new to attend the activity.
“The veterans will lead the way this year, and the girls that haven’t been will be exposed and organize it next year,” she said.
Each year Loyalton Rotary Club makes a donation to LHS, specifically for this event. With the money, the attendees buy gifts for the women’s children. At the facility these students will put together Easter baskets with the women for their children. This helps them to feel that they’re still good mothers, McKinney said.
Megan Meschery took part in Step 2 for the many years before McKinney took control. She said she feels that putting the presents together with the women is important.    “They got to chat for a while and feel like normal people,” Meschery remembered.
While wrapping the gifts, the women tell their stories and about how they’re recovering.
“It’s fairly emotion-packed,” McKinney added, “but really inspiring. They make it clear that you don’t want to do what they’ve done.”
Meschery said this is also a beneficial experience for the girls who attend. Along with doing a community service, LHS students learn the hazards of drinking and doing drugs and how these actions affect their family. “The girls I took stopped being so judgmental. They realized that for some women there isn’t a choice in what directions they go,” said Meschery.
Kendra Deal went to Step 2 last year. She said she likes the project, because “it helps you realize how a simple mistake can change your life and you learn how it affects everyone, not just yourself.”
McKinney said she keeps going back because “it gives our girls an opportunity to spend time with people having a tough time and learn some life lessons.”


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