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The Middle college admissions journey with Nupur and Pundalik

4-year plan community college middle college May 29, 2023
 

Summary

  • The experience of getting into middle college. 
    • The process of applying to middle college.
    • Nupur's perspective on community college.
    • The importance of networking and context.
  • How do you know what’s the right thing to do? 
    • Why Nupur wanted to go to community college.
    • Transitioning from high school 11th grade to middle college.
  • The California High School Proficiency Test. 
    • California high school proficiency test vs. middle college proficiency test.
    • What the senior year looks like at Middle College.
  • How many credits do you need to finish your associate’s? 
    • How much it costs to go to community college?
  • The application process for College Advantage. 
    • The method of applying to the program.

The one advantage of doing middle college over college advantage

  • if you’re in college, you still have to take your history and physics. 
  • The middle college vs. college advantage.
  • How to get 22 credits per year.
  • I was struggling with high school math.
  • The middle college has an age requirement of 16.
  • How many people apply for the program? 
    • Junior year vs. senior year applications.
    • How many students apply for the program?
    • Advantage of community college vs. middle college.
    • Transfer agreements and transfer agreements.
  • What’s the transfer acceptance guarantee? 
    • The Transfer acceptance guarantee (TAG) advantage
    • Community college is about creating an environment for students. 
    •  
  • The importance of understanding students.
    • What are some students who haven’t figured out what they want to do in college? 
    • College is a way to discover.
    • The importance of taking time for yourself.

 

Detailed Transcript

Harpal

Tells us about your experience with Middle College admissions. Four months ago, you came to my office and are now attending community college.

Nupur  

I had a friend last year who went to Middle college, where they have two programs. The first is Middle College, and the other is college advantage; the latter is more competitive and rigorous. The word meant Middle College. You're still like a student in high school. Still, you're taking all of your classes at the local community college; I had difficulty finding friends at school as most of my friends were seniors. So I wanted to try this program. See how it goes. I knew I could start doing my college-level courses immediately if I did this program. And because there's like with AP classes, you're not guaranteed college credit? With Community College, I'm taking these classes; I'm assured college credit and will like to help me transfer within two years if I plan accordingly.

Nupur  

With Middle College, you must still take your high school-level classes to graduate. So, our high school juniors have to take classes like physics. They have a counselor between the district and Middle College, like your high school district in the middle of college, and they ensure you take all the classes you need to take to graduate on time. 

Harpal Kochar,  

Is this a two-year program, Middle College, or can you join in your senior year?

Nupur  

So it's because I joined as a senior; it will just be my senior year. But if you entered, you're so if you did it during your sophomore if you filled out the application during your sophomore year, and you got in, then you would do your junior year, and you could potentially do your senior year.

Harpal Kochar  

At the end of this senior year, you will have 30 credits to transfer to community college.

Nupur  

No, so they max you out at 11 credits. You're not allowed to take more than that. And so, with little college, I wonder how other like programs do this. But they have two teachers specifically for the juniors and the seniors. And those two teachers, one of them teaches history and got econ, and the other one teaches English, so you're required to take those two classes. And then you're allowed to take two to three additional courses they want to take, so you're getting only about 11 credits per semester. And because they have like the summer like false winter and spring semester. You can have 11 credits for each, but the winter semesters are only a month, so people usually get classes then.

Harpal Kochar  

By this process's end, you will still attend college as a freshman, not a junior-year transfer.

Nupur  

Um, so I'm going to. I'm still going to go to community college afterward. So I will be technically a freshman there, but I will still have my credits from beforehand. Still, if I were like going to a university, then they'd help me transfer those 20 Something credits over,

Harpal Kochar. Still, these credits will transfer to the community so you may finish Community College.

Nupur  

No, so these are community colleges.

Harpal Kochar  

But these are being held in Middle College. They're going to give you community college credits.

Nupur  

The three classes you take outside are with the college and are on your own. They're the community college classes. So you're a college student like you're taking those classes, they're going to stay the same as they will be there the following year.

Harpal Kochar  

Are you applying for a AA degree, or what would you call our community at the end of this process?

Nupur  

To get an associate's degree, you need 60 credits. Some people can get an associate's degree when they apply for their junior; they have 60 credits. So there are people that graduate with high school and associate's degrees. 

Harpal Kochar  

If you go halfway through, you will have certain credits enough to finish what you would have. Would you go into the second year of associate degree associate degrees to Yeah,

Nupur

It's like 60 credits depending on what you did.

Harpal Kochar  

The big advantage point is giving guaranteed credits, which are community college credits. You will be able to finish Community College in less time; it could be less by a year; if you had started in 10th grade or 11th grade would have been completely bypassed, which is a great way. You save two years of community college and third B; you've gone into junior year directly at a university, whichever university you attend. That clarifies quite a bit of this thing. So please walk us through the process at college monopods, like what all was involved.

Nupur,  

Middle school, it's entirely government funded, so they pay for all your textbooks. In the English teacher's classroom, they have a reimbursement form. So you fill that out for your books, whatever you need for your class, and they'll give you all your money back. So that's

Harpal Kochar  

Talking about money, how much of the cost of college?

Nupur  

It's free. You don't have to pay anything.

Harpal Kochar  

community college, you would pay, like if you went to the community directly after college after high school, ~$7,000 

Nupur  

the West Valley specifically, they have two years tuition free. And so if you fill out your FAFSA form, right and stuff like that, it's two years tuition free. And yeah, that's

Nupur  

A lot of people need to learn about the program. And they kind of like to keep it that way. Because of all the interviews, I have to do. It's something that the dean of enrollment mentioned to me when I was interviewing him. And the process started in January. And we went to, like, during study hall, there was an information meeting where the counselor between the two districts came, and the counselor came. Then the English and history teachers came with two students to share what it is. In February, they had the parent-like meeting night, and they went through this entire slideshow for what was going to be the application process. And for the application, she only has two weeks to do it. And it opens in March. And so they opened the application in March, and basically, it's just a couple of short response questions. And there's like an essay you have to write based on the short story for one of the programs. And you need letters; I believe you need them on your check. You need letters of recommendation, but

Harpal Kochar  

What type of application essays?

Nupur  

Yeah, so for the Middle College program, they gave you a short story, and you had to do an essay about that.

Harpal Kochar  

It's not like a personal essay. 

Nupur,  

Correct. And so you're supposed to have a 2.8 GPA for Middle College. Yeah, so you need three letters of recommendation, two from a teacher and one from a counselor. Do you need the essay? Well, a sample of, like, a recently graded English essay. And then you need some required documents like proof of residency and like if you have a 504 like proof of that, and stuff like that. So you need to submit all of that, within like the two weeks that you had. And then, in April, a couple of weeks sent, they sent you an email about when your interview slot would be, and it was a Zoom interview. They're still doing Zoompick. It was on Zoom. And they just asked you if it was short or short it was like 10 minutes, and then they asked you some questions about like the program. They did say in the email they sent to have your essay open so they could ask some questions about that. I never asked myself any questions about mine, but I did have a friend who also applied to the program, but he used it to college advantage. And they didn't even ask him for an interview. They just let them in, and

Harpal Kochar  

What’s the College Advantage program, and how different is that from Middle college?

Nupur,  

So they will call you to get your GPA and college advantage needed three, eight. I was close to 3.8. I like a 3.71. Was there like that? As you know, you can't do that. But I think like they The one advantage of doing Middle College over at college advantage is if you're in college advantage, they still max out 11 credits, but you still have to take your English, your history, and physics if you're a junior, so that kind of like already maxes you out at 11 credits you don't have time to take other classes that you want. So with Middle College, the two courses I take with the count like teachers there don't count towards my 11 credits. So I still have the opportunity to take three other classes want.

Harpal Kochar  

Why would you want to take classes which don't count toward your credit?

Nupur  

They do count; obviously, they go on your transcript and stuff, but because they max you out at 11 credits. You're in college advantage, or you can't take outside like when you're maxed out 11 credits, you can't take a math class necessarily if you wanted to because you have to fulfill these requirements to graduate. So

Harpal Kochar

Related questions, so 11 credits per year, if a student came in as rising senior

Pundalik  

11-credits per semester

Harpal Kochar  

So then you can get 22 in the year,

Nupur  

two in a year. So they also have a winter and a summer semester, so you'd like to take classes then, but they're relatively short. So

Harpal Kochar  

it depends on where you land up picking up a credit. You could pick up 30 credits during Senior year; that makes the math correct because you could jump directly to call it. The biggest thing no put that I walk away from this, and what I want the community now to know, is even close to it. As all of you can see, we're already bright. You've already done well. But I have a lot of students who are struggling with math, and they need to go to school because they're like everybody is doing well. Like, I want to avoid even showing up over here for them.

Nupur  

I struggled with math a lot because all my teachers were downright awful; my AP Stats teacher this year did not teach us a single thing. He was always reading emails. I walked into the AP test. I didn't know what I was doing. Like, I tried to self-study, but there was a month before the test, and I was like, I don't know what to do. And like I know before, that too was because my first year was on mine. It was COVID, and I did fine. Because it was just like I was like algebra, like drawn here. But I struggled with the landlord and felt like I needed to be more enough support. Like at community college, because it's a community college and stuff, they have a lot of help. They have an entire like math like Resource Center. And I know like I have friends that go to Westside. And their teachers are super caring. They're like it's open to help, and they have like a math Support Center. So I'm, like, super excited about that.

Harpal Kochar  

Middle College has an age requirement. You have to be a junior. I got it. I should have included aI. Should else should, I ask?

Nupur  

College advantage is only for seniors. It's not for juniors.

Pundalik  

How many candidates do you select? I know they have specific.

Nupur  

limitations. Yeah. So for Middle College, there are 50 juniors and 50 seniors. So middle, like if you apply as if you use your sophomore year to be a junior, there's like 50 spots here pretty much like, you know, it's pretty easy. And then, for seniors, it depends on how many people go to the college management program or don't do the program anymore. I know there was a handful of people that don't co2 middle.

Pundalik  

So basically, the reason I asked that question and if you enter in the junior year, it is easier to get in versus senior year because the senior year will ultimately depend upon, like, how many positions are available because because because in theory, right, let's say all of those students directly go to junior year, I mean senior year then there is no students, right?

Nupur  

There's a bot for seniors, but I saw many more people get accepted. So a lot of seniors like either, like, go into the college bench program, right?

Harpal Kochar  

Now, how many apply for this program? Ballpark we talked about? 

Nupur  

Like, I'm not sure I know. There's a handful. 

Nupur.  

It depends on how many people hear about the program. I know one of the questions they asked me and my interviewer was like, how could we get this program more widespread so other people could hear about it, but at the same time, they don't want a lot of people to hear about it because that's more work for them. So yeah,

Harpal Kochar,  

This is Middle College offered. All community colleges are their own.

Nupur  

There is a link between the Campbell Union High School District and the Los Gatos High School District, and they partnered to create the program, but people outside of those districts can apply. I don't think all community colleges offer this program, but I'm sure people use it out of the section. You must go through a process, but you can still do it.

Harpal Kochar  

Okay, all right. Well, what else? Did I ask all the questions, or is there anything else you want the audience to know about as a part of the process?

Pundalik  

Another thing is how you're thinking right from, like, you don't, because they always ask constantly, " What should I do now? She's asking me if I should do mechanical engineering. So anyway,

Pundalik  

But anyway, do you see, the reason I'm asking right is, do you know that kind of thing? Okay, you're trying to figure this out. So do you see any advantage in taking this path versus

Nupur  

Well, the thing with Community College is you're doing all your lower divisions like crazy, like your first two years of college, you're just taking all your lower division classes. If you get those out of the way, there's more opportunity to learn about what you want to do. And the west side is like a super good counseling team, like pure junior or senior at Middle College. You must take Counseling 005, which helps you with what classes you should take and what you want to do. So if you don't know what you want to do, then this career might be better is beneficial. Just because like the classes you're taking are college classes. So you might get a better gauge of what you want to do. So if you're planning on transferring to a UC, West Valley has the transfer, administer like no guaranteed program with some of the UCs. So if you're going to a specific school, like the schools or art centers for specific UCS, they will automatically admit you; you must maintain a certain GPA and take certain classes. And there's also a website called assist.org, where you can look at transfer agreements. So you can make sure that if you knew what you wanted to do, you could look at the transfer agreements and ensure you're keeping specific classes that would help you towards a degree like CSU or UC that you want to go to.

Harpal Kochar  

The combination of assist.org and the TAG program, a transfer acceptance guarantee, has made life for many people more accessible. But at the same time, the tag is not guaranteed for all significant Majors.

Nupur  

Yeah, mostly they exclude the School of Engineering and stuff like that. So you have to apply, like the common app.

Harpal Kochar  

The requirements are out there, but it's still. People should not get overwhelmed or scared of that process because all it means is there's no acceptance guarantee. You still need to enter the fact that they still have a quota and still process your information. Wonderful. Bucha, what else? Anything else that we missed out on is so proud of you. I'm glad that you're speaking these things so much in my heart, and you know, you're looking a lot more confident about something, and you're telling the community, so what else would you say anything else that you want to tell everybody?

Nupur,  

I don't mean searching. That's entire.

Pundalik  

The whole thing is about this awareness of this community college, and we can look down upon them. Still, I think I think, and of course, you know it's not again, every kid is different seven I go back to that thing, right that as a parent, right, I think more than me trying kind of to push them in a particular direction or specific university right. As a parent, my number one thing is to try to understand them and recreate that environment for them where I'm saying you know what, I feel proud. Just know what you're seeing right how confidently she's talking about her clarity level. I wish I had that level of transparency when offered a choice, but she's making these decisions alone. And again, one thing is so again, coming back to that right actually one thing that I realize specifically from a community college perspective, right, everything after talking to her the way she explained the things to her also speaking to other parents it is you know, it's about okay, community college is about OK if you're not clear about what you want to do that maybe there are two things that you missed out on something better. 

 They are mostly always in such a hurry to get to our goal. Still, sometimes you see, it's okay to kind of, you know, okay, get in the environment where you know: They mostly more spe for you more variety of, you know, the attention you know from from from yours call, you know, basically staff, right? I mean, all your teachers and everything, different kinds of environment, and you want to try to figure out so Community College, the way I'm seeing right now is for any kid: They mostly, they're still kind of, you know, in exploratory mode, they still want to figure out Right, right. 'that what they want to do when you know, gets the exposure to college. Middle College is right, and I wish we had known this when she was in her junior year because I'm sure it would have helped her significantly. 

After all, she's constantly introspecting, so she doesn't just come up with ideas randomly, right? These are my, I mean, she has, like, when I asked her why you're thinking like that, she has an excellent explanation, why she's feeling like that, or she could articulate that. And that is the most important thing, right? So creating, you know, that kind of environment for them and, you know, pushing them in that direction. Right? And so that they can make those decisions for themselves. That is, that is what I'm realizing through this process.

Harpal Kochar  

What they haven't figured out they want to do in both, in some cases, I would say most points, using college as a way left to discover, and that's okay; nothing wrong with that. And there is one set of students doing well in the crate, and they're like, I'll figure out in college that I want to go. There's one set of students who do not blossom at all. They're still very stressed out. They have yet to have a chance to succeed in high school will take another year. So it's much easier to thrive in, in a community college when you're still kind of, you know, you still have mom's soup being cooked in the night, and you know, there's You haven't left the nest yet. And I'll step away to blossom for a while and then slowly, you know, take you off.

Pundalik  

Yeah, so kids, you know, take their own time right and let them take that time.

Pundalik  

to you. I mean, you know because she ultimately counts anarchy. Talk to, like, you're doing it right now. So, so that also use your confidence because one thing is okay, you're hearing from your kid, but how do you use need somewhere to validate right some of these things so, but then when you are talking and had this kind of conversation, and the parent tells when

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