Community college transfers fill four-year universities

CN/Infograph, which does not include out-of-state or private universities, by Lindsey Maeda and Brian Villalba

By Brian Villalba

On their path to four-year universities, 65 percent of California’s college graduates attended a two-year institution.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) has California tied for third in percentage of students that attended community college on their way to a four-year degree.

East Los Angeles College is second in the district in students that transfer to four-year institutions,  Los Angeles Pierce College first.

Just under half of all the transfers from the Los Angeles Community College District come from ELAC and Pierce.

ELAC Director of the Transfer Center Paulina Palomino said community college offers a conducive environment for development towards graduation.

She also said that community colleges have open admission, while four-year institutions control admission.

According to the NSCRC, 20 percent of students who are enrolled in four-year colleges are also enrolled in a two-year institution.

Palomino said, “Community college is integral to degree completion.” ELAC has articulation agreements with many colleges in California.

These agreements ensure that credits transfer, and facilitate a synchronization of curriculum standards. “The general education agreements set students on a path for transferring,” Palomino said.

In spite of the clear path ELAC offers its students to transfer to a four-year institution, the California education budget crisis has made transferring more challenging. Palomino said, “Transferring is more competitive than ever.”

Community college offers a way to supplement the school work in a four-year college. Palomino pointed out that there are a few ways to increase the chances for a successful transfer.  She pointed out that is very important to pick a major.

“Undecided is the most popular major,” Palomino said. Even though it is important to have a focus, it is also productive to take classes that are not necessarily in the educational plan.

Palomino said, “It is not a setback to learn to become a better person.”  She also pointed out that it is helpful to pick a primary school to transfer to.

“An educational plan is like a GPS on your journey to become a professional,” Palomino said.

In 2011, the University of California and California State University accepted applicants from 113 different community colleges in California.

ELAC is 27 on that list with 978 transfers.

With the competitive environment and budget cuts reducing the number of spaces available to transfer into, Palomino offered a few areas to develop to help students distinguish themselves.

Palomino said, “Grades are obviously a major factor, but joining clubs and community service help distinguish students from the pack.”

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