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Joining the community

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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

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This week we will be looking at the various ways in which Hong Kong students can get to community college in the United States.

What can international students from places such as Hong Kong do to ensure they have a productive experience at community college? How can you safeguard a smooth transfer to your prospective university? Are your plans in any way guaranteed?

One smart option is to join a college that is a recognized "feeder" school for respected institutions. One such example is the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California (www.fhda.edu). Previous international students from there have joined prestigious colleges like UC Berkeley, USC, Columbia, Cornell and Yale.

However, they also have guaranteed transfer to universities, which varies depending on GPA.

For example, a GPA of 2.0 would gain admission into Palo Alto University, whereas someone with a GPA of 3.5 would be admitted to UC San Diego if they so chose.

Community colleges like this with a proven track record allow students to save money by doing the first two years of their university education at the colleges, before offering them excellent transfer resources that allow them to join a suitable university for the final two years of their program.

For this reason it is important to check if your prospective university offers Transfer Admissions Guarantee, or TAG, courses, like these at the University of California (admission.universityofcalifornia.edu /transfer/guarantee/).

By doing things like this students can ensure they have a university place, and that their proposed community college is recommended by their future university.

States such as Virginia also have a similar arrangement but it is not available throughout the United States, so students should not assume that TAG programs are standard.

Ideally you should plan your transfer before you even start community college in order to help ensure that you get onto a TAG program for your preferred university.

Your chances of admission to university from community college also increase if you follow sound advice - for example, completing your associate degree instead of just taking a collection of credit-bearing courses you hope to transfer to your bachelor's degree.

Remember to remain open-minded and consider both public and private institutions before making the transfer.

One thing students must also do is check the reputation and track record of their proposed community college before showing interest.

A good school will be happy to tell you how many students it has managed to get into top universities, as it is something to be proud of.

It should also provide all the other documentation and resources associated with university study including visas, accommodation, course structure and teaching methodology.

When we next visit this topic we'll include some further tips for Hong Kong students wanting to make the transfer from community college.

If you have any questions about our column, or the issues raised within it, please e-mail them to us: enquiry@englishlearning.edu.hk


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