ELAC should not be a dead end

By Jason R. Farabaugh

Community college students get lost in the shuffle. Where are the guidance counselors?

The foundation that’s been built through elementary, middle and high school is proving to be cracked as students are finding it difficult to make the adjustment into community college. According to the Community College Review, a website that offers reviews on community colleges throughout the country, 70 percent of California community college students fail to obtain a degree or transfer to a four year university.

According to the ELAC Accreditation website, a 2010 survey showed that 40 percent of students were “not at all familiar” with the transfer center. The lack of preparedness in K-12 students may be a place to start, but it isn’t the sole source of the problems for the failure at the college level. The lack of direction and attention to properly inform students about the community college obstacles and lifestyle also play a role.

While there may be a let down in the type of educational preparation they receive, students themselves are not just the victims in this disturbing trend. Students share measure of accountability on their shoulders as well. So, what can be done to provide an environment that promotes students to reach the finish line in their education rather than quit? The educational system should try to make college as much about the individual as they possibly could.

Smaller class sizes and an attention to career decisions should play a vital role in the selection of classes. Too many times, after receiving counseling appointments students are left unsatisfied and more confused rather than informed, due to an assembly line mentality that many counselors have taken.

If a student feels important, and not just like another cog in the machine, they will be more inclined to take themselves seriously and hopefully invest the time and work needed to complete their education.

Also, proper mandatory orientations at the community college level are needed. Students often enter community college with very limited knowledge on how the system functions, such as registration of classes, to requirements on how to complete an Associates Degree, and to transfer.

Students are often in the dark when it comes to crucial information for progression throughout their college career. While there is no solution that would cater to all student’s needs, these are a few steps that can be taken in the right direction to prevent students from falling through the cracks of the educational system.

Seventy percent is a staggering number. In an economy that shows very little promise, having an education is more important than ever and must be viewed as a step to enhance a career rather than neglect one.


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