Students find refuge in community colleges

October 12, 2009 — by Roy Bisht

When students cannot earn credits for a class at Saratoga High, they often head to one place: community colleges.

Community colleges are a popular option for students seeking a challenge or finding a way to fit a credit into their schedule. Credits that are earned in a community college are just as good as high school class. Students, like junior Uttara Sivaram, take this as a blessing when they are unable to get into a desired class at the high school.

When Sivaram was not able to get into AP Statistics because the class was full, she headed to De Anza College to get credits for the class and so far, it has been an acceptable replacement.

Community colleges offer almost every class imaginable, from calculus to West African drumming classes, and dozens of students in the past have taken advantage of this option.

One potential challenge this year is the difficulty of getting into classes.

Budget cuts at the state level have forced community colleges to scale back on their programs, making it more difficult for students to get the classes they want. About 100 sections were cut from course offerings at De Anza College.

Because of the number of classes that have been cut at De Anza, there have been equal number of students rejected as the previous school year and twice as many students are on the waiting list as last year, De Anza president Brian Murphy told ABC News.

This causes trouble for high school students who are looking for a place to earn their credits. Because only a limited number of students are allowed in each class, there is not much room for all of the college students, let alone high school students registering under dual enrollment. As a result, it is much more difficult for students to get in if they are not upperclassmen.

“I took a community college class a few years back and I had to petition to get into the class that I wanted to get into,” said senior Ashwin Siripurapu. “It was much more difficult for me to get into West Valley because I was not yet a junior.”

Those who choose to take community college classes have to pay a fee to be able to earn the credits that they were not able to obtain at Saratoga. Costs per credit for community college classes are around $50 or $60 depending on which school, but the cost can add up after a few classes.

For many, however, community college classes are worth the cost as they provide just as high quality education as classes here and prepare students for a college setting.

1 view this week