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Honors Programs provide gateway into UCs

A gateway into a University of California (UC) school can be achieved by completing academically-challenging courses in high school, which are meant to benefit students who may be at a higher level than others. Yet, a little known fact is that community colleges also offer preparation for prestigious schools.

Honor Programs at community colleges are available for advancing student learning. Fresno City Community College, Willow International Community College Center and Madera Community College Center offer these programs in order to assist students in any way possible. After successfully completing two years at a community college in an Honors Program, a student is offered admission at a UC school.

All community colleges in California either offer or are in the process of developing an Honors Program. This option is for students who could attend a CSU campus, but for whatever reason cannot, possibly due to financial or location issues.

These programs are difficult and more regimented than regular courses. Professors are selected carefully and only a certain number of classes are available. The students in these programs go through this academic challenge as a group for peer support.

Some admission requirements for Fresno City’s Leon S. Peters Honors Program include obtaining a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 and graduating in the top 25th percentile of their class. A well-written essay composed in high school must also be admitted.

Along with the application, two letters of recommendation and a few of essays must be submitted; the applicant must also be eligible for English 1A. A combined SAT score of 1650 or a composite score of 24 on the ACT is required.

The deadline to turn in the applications is Jan. 6, 2012. Sometimes admissions offices will take the application after the deadline, but the reason needs to be legitimate, such as the student is waiting for a standardized testing score.

Honors Secretary at Fresno City, Tami Herman offers her services and information to anyone who desires to know more about the program.

“The classes are much tougher than the regular courses we give,” Herman said. “Although, when you transfer after the two years, if you have completed the program, the universities you apply to will see that you have the stamina to complete a hard course such as that. Students who complete this course are more likely to be accepted into the universities they apply to.”

The requirements for Willow International and Madera Center consist of the same qualifications. Acquiring a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and graduating in the top 25th percentile of their class is necessary.

A combined score of 2000 on the SAT or a score of 25 on the ACT is also essential to the application process. The deadline for this program is Feb. 4, 2012.

Academic Adviser Molly Sargent expresses her enthusiasm for the Honor Programs offered to students to help them better their future.

“This is a fabulous thing,” Sargent said. “Even a student from a not-so-high-ranking high school who is dedicated to their education can go into an Honors Program and, by the end, be ready to hit the ground running when entering a UC school. The opportunity to attend higher-level courses at a community-college price is an amazing thing. The best benefit these programs offer is confidence to the students to help them know they can achieve what they set their minds to.”

Senior Sarah Shoneman’s interest was piqued by the idea when she heard about the Honors Programs offered at community colleges.

“I’m intrigued by the idea of entering an Honors Program,” Shoneman said. “It can provide me with access into a UC school and good preparation for a four-year college. Mrs. [Molly] Sargent has definitely prepared me for the difficult courses I may endure in the upcoming future.”

The applications for both Honors Programs are available on the schools websites, which are both linked above. For more information about the program at Willow International and its deadline, scroll down the website page and click on Honors Cover Letter SP 12 & FA 12.

For more information contact Tasha Hutchings, Counselor of Willow International Center at 559.325.5304 or Gricelda Spear, Counselor of Madera Center at 559.675.4800. For Fresno City’s information, call Honors Secretary Tammy Herman at 559.442.8207.

For more information on academics, read the Nov. 16 article, CSF program assists student body.

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