By Mario Cortez
Southwestern College and its students have a couple of things to be happy about this time of the school year. The college is seeing more and more successful transfers and students now have more options in transferring out to a four year institution than ever before.
The campus has been offering workshops at its Transfer Center inside the Cesar Chavez building located in the heart of its main Chula Vista campus. At these workshops students can come in and get help on their applications for either the University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) systems .
“We try to get as many students as we can at these workshops .” Said Norma Cazares, a transfer specialist counselor for Southwestern College students.
“Every application cycle we offer workshops here at the transfer center to help out with CSU and UC applications and well be offering even more workshops in January to help with UC application updates and supplementals to help students who chose to study in an institution in that system.”
Cazares also described new opportunities available for Southwestern College students as well as the changes in the way California’s universities are now accepting and screening prospective students.
“There are some changes in public institutions. The California State University came up with the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) program in 2012 which makes it possible for a student who meets minimum eligibility for CSU to be guaranteed admission, they’re just not guaranteed that they’ll be admitted to a specific university.”
This means that under the new Associate Degree for Transfer program students who do not meet the required eligibility for a CSU campus with either impacted majors or highly competitive admissions can be admitted to a CSU upon completion of the 60 unit associate degree as that milestone fulfils the baseline level for admission.
“You could apply to San Diego State, for example, but not get in due to how competitive it is. Eight campuses of the 23 in the CSU system remain open after the admission period since they don’t fill up. ADT students end up being offered admission to these campuses but they may not have the focus of the major that they want”
Cazares also highlighted the program and encouraged students to considered this way of reaching their education goals.
“It is an option which opens up horizons and allows students to finish their education sooner rather than later. A lot of students want to wait until the following year to transfer out to San Diego State or other competitive campuses and they’re just delaying completion by a year. That’s a wasted year that could have been used to get closer to graduation and starting a career.”
In a similar effort to simplify admissions, the University of California has begun to extend its Transfer Pathways program to California community college students.The UC program selected 10 majors and developed templates for 18+ units that are applicable to those selected majors across all University of California campuses.
While the Transfer Pathways program does not guarantee admission, it does establish base requirements that are consistent at all institutions and will help with eliminating excess requirements for community college students.
At the local level Southwestern college has made an accord with CSU San Marcos to facilitate transfers to the north county institution.
“We do tell students to apply for spring semester. Students can still apply for CSU San Marcos for the spring semester and the beginning of the spring semester is right around the corner.” said Cazares
“You have to have 60+ units and the golden four courses as well as meet general educations courses to successfully apply to San Marcos for the spring semester.” she added in regards to transfer requisites.
The counselor also talked about the possibilities of private institutions in the region.
“We have this program called Transfer Tuesday, and at least once or twice a month we’ll have workshops and will also introduce some private local institutions like the University of San Diego (USD), Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), and Alliant University to students.
And while price is often a deterrent to students looking at private institutions, there are also more forms of financial aid applicable to these schools.
“Private schools can offer you financial support that public institutions can’t offer. There are a lot of endowments and offer financial aid sources that aren’t offered at public institutions. Private schools can sometimes be cheaper on a out of pocket basis with the aid provided by the school.”
With these new agreements and accords between southwestern College and other higher learning institutions, transferring and graduating is now much closer than ever to the more than 18,000 students that attend their closest SWC campus.