El Camino College and Santa Monica College

We recently visited El Camino College to get students' input on the conditions, the life at the community college.

Two community colleges, both successful in the fostering of transferring to 4-year universities. Graduate about the same percentage of people.

Santa Monica has the best transfer rates to 4-year universities. They retain freshman at a clip of 65%.

El Camino has the best transfer rate to UCLA and certain other schools. They have a freshman retention rate of over 74%.

What are the things these schools in Los Angeles have that facilitate a transfer to the 4-year university?

One of the things that facilitate university transfer was just having a lot of couneslors. Santa Monica College has 60 full-time counselors and 40 more part-time counselors, as mentioned before in this blog via the LA Times. However, when I asked how many counselors El Camino currently, students said that El Camino had around 6-8 Full Time Counselors.

So what are some of the things El Camino provides? An article in their student newspaper touches on the building of not only transfer agreements between colleges, but also the building of on-campus support networks:

The success to the increase of transfer rates can also be [attributed] to organizations that were built to help students transfer.

Organizations include: the Honors Transfer Program, Mathematics Engineering Science Acheivement(MESA) and Project Success.

This brings up the questions that might be seem obvious on an individual level, but:

1) What networks do community college transfer centers tap into to secure enrollments at 4-year universities? This might be a question for academics and administrations to explore more.

2) If all the resources are there for people to get, why do others constantly miss them? For example, the Measuring Up 2008 report found that on average, students from more affluent, RICHER families are likely to get bigger grants than low-income students.

Is that not bass ackwards or what?

Theoretically, the resources are always there as they might be at any other institution of education, but I suspect that it's because everyone tends to stick with what they know, and what they know often does encompass the tacit, social knowledge needed to navigate the higher education system.

3) To what extent do transfer-facilitation resources exist at other community colleges? Are there the same resources everywhere? Why do students who want to transfer feel the need to be at a certain community college like an El Camino or a Santa Monica? Why not a Los Angeles City College, or a Los Angeles Harbor College?

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