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October 22, 2001

Dual Admissions program increases opportunities for community college transfers

By Laurel Perotti

Karina Hernandez had the dreams and the grades to attend college straight out of high school, but was sidetracked her senior year by her new baby. Now, two years after graduating from high school, she is well on her way to making her dreams of college come true.

Hernandez, a student at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, enrolled last fall in a new program for students interested in transferring to UC Santa Cruz. She maintains a 3.65 grade point average and hopes to reach a 3.8 by the time she transfers to UCSC.

In its second year, the UC Santa Cruz-Community College Dual Admissions program has already opened new doors to the university for 133 community college students such as Hernandez. Many participants will enter UCSC as juniors in fall 2002. The program is designed for students just beginning their careers at community college with fewer than 15 UC transferable semester units or 22.5 transferable quarter units. Upon completion of program requirements, participants are guaranteed a spot at the university.

According to J. Michael Thompson, associate vice chancellor for outreach, admissions and student academic services, "We want students to know that they have a place at UC Santa Cruz even if they are not admissible directly from high school."

The program helped Hernandez solidify her career and educational goals. "I knew that I was interested in eventually working in the financial sector--possibly as a financial analyst--but I didn't know how to get there," she remembered. "From my Dual Admissions representative and my counselor at the transfer center, I've signed up for economics and accounting classes and I'm acing them." She plans to major in economics at UCSC.

Prior to transfer, participating students are required to earn 60 UC
transferable semester units and to maintain a cumulative grade point
average of 2.8 or higher, while completing a specific set of courses.

"The important thing about the program is that it gets you early--I didn't know anything about college or transferring to a four-year institution," said Hernandez. The program, conceived in collaboration with the presidents of 13 area community colleges, provides intensive support to students in preparation for transfer. UCSC representatives and community college transfer centers provide academic advising, application and financial aid workshops, campus visits, student panel presentations, and mentoring.

For this quarter's semester, 855 students have enrolled at UCSC as transfer students from California community colleges.

"We are deeply committed to Dual Admissions--the program increases opportunities for all students seeking higher education and also helps the campus reach its continuing goal to boost minority enrollment," said Thompson. About 85 percent of current program participants are from under-represented groups.

The statewide "dual track" admissions system, which was modeled after the UCSC program, is expected to become effective in fall 2004 depending on availability of funding. Differing from the UCSC program, students become enrolled upon graduation from high school. Under the UC system, students who rank in the top 4 to 12.5 percent of their graduating class at their high school, and who are not already UC-eligible under the university's statewide criteria, would be granted admission to UC, provided they first complete a transfer program at a community college.

The UC Santa Cruz-Community College Dual Admissions program welcomes applicants. Interested parties should contact the transfer center at participating community colleges: Cabrillo, Cañada, College of San Mateo, De Anza, Evergreen Valley, Foothill, Gavilan, Hartnell, Mission, Monterey Peninsula, San José City, Skyline, and West Valley.

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