Is Community College Still a Path to Dream College?
"If you work hard, you can achieve anything." Prestigious universities like the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley all instill the idea of hard work in high school students, so when I graduated from Woodrow Wilson Classical High School in Long Beach two years ago with a 4.2 GPA and a long resume of extra-curricular activities, I believed that I would get accepted to UC Berkeley, my dream school.
To my surprise, I did not. But, without spending too much time grieving over my disappointment, I decided to give my dream a second shot—that was to enroll into Long Beach City College and transfer to UC Berkeley.
At first, things were pretty good, but as the budget impact slowly crept in, I became more skeptical about my choice. As a declared Neuroscience major, I am not getting the science courses I need.
The Press Telegram announced on Wednesday April 25, 2012: “In one of the largest reductions in Long Beach City College's recent history, its Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to lay off 55 employees and reduce contracts for 96 positions for a savings of $5.1 million.” This greatly affects the Long Beach community and all students who are struggling to achieve a higher education.
Classified staff like secretaries and instructional aids are important to students’ success. For example, the Honors Program just announced that the secretary who has been working here for many years and knows exactly how the program runs is being moved to another department due to the cut backs. It was not her choice to bump someone out, but her near retirement is on stake. Honor student Shannon Salcedo shares that this could affect their academia and being able to fulfill all their accredited Honors classes.
Community colleges used to be a two-year institution where students would complete their general education courses and then transfer to a four-year university. Students in the more impacted majors like physics, biological science, chemistry, and engineering have undergone set backs to their academic career. Long Beach City College only offers one course of science subject, causing students to stress over completing their required courses to transfer because of the lay-offs of instructors.
I am in my second year at Long Beach City College, and by now I should have finished all my prerequisites. Even though I already completed all of my general education classes, I am having trouble enrolling in my science courses because of the impacted classes.
Do I regret not choosing another school regardless of my denied acceptance to UC Berkeley?
I do not know. I have saved a lot of money, but this may have cost me a whole year. For high school students who have a similar plan to go to a community college, my advice is to be knowledgeable of the classes offered.