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Getting a Strong Start

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Narrator: It's a brand new school year at South Seattle Community College. You can feel the excitement in the air. Anticipation and exhilaration. For many of these students it's uncharted territory, the first experience with college. For others, it's a fresh start, a new beginning with the promise of a bright future. Today, our focus is getting a strong start-doing all the right things, right off the bat. Easy, you might say. Yes, EASY. Early Actions for a Successful Year. Today, we meet two students who will show us just how easy it really is. Andrea is a brand new student. It's her first time at college, and as you'll see over the next few minutes, she really is doing all the right things. And there's Mike. He's returning to school after many years in the working world. Mike would eventually like to own his own restaurant. And this time around, he is making sure that he's getting a strong start. We begin with Andrea's story. Andrea Oprel (Student): Hi, I want to attend the college, and I was wondering if I had to take a test for that. Sharon (Testing Technician, SSCC): Yes. You're a new student? Yes, you do. You get to take the COMPASS test. It's our placement test here. You weren't going to do it today? Andrea: No. Sharon: Good, and I say good because that gives you a chance to prepare. This is our schedule. So, anywhere you see COMPASS/ESL COMPASS means that we're giving the test. These are start and stop times, so you want to come at a start time on any of these days that you choose. It's especially good to prepare because when you come here you want to place just as high as you can so you're not wasting tuition money or your own time. Narrator: Every student who starts at a community college and has never taken college- level credits before must take a placement test. If you're a new student, the COMPASS test is an essential part of a strong start. The results can help evaluate skills in Math, Reading and Writing. Plus, the COMPASS test can help connect you with the resources you need for academic success. Sandra (Assessment Director, SSCC): What we're looking at here are some diagnostic tests as well, and basically anything below 80 in here if you want to study up on, you can come back in 90 days and retake the test if you wish. But this looks like a great score. This looks like an excellent score. I think you did beautifully. Andrea: Thank you! Sandra: Sure. Great. Right through there for the advisor. See you. Elaine (Advisor, SSCC): So you're new to South? Andrea: Yes. Narrator: So, with test results in hand, Andrea begins building her network of support, mapping out a good plan with Elaine, an advisor at South Seattle Community College. When Andrea has questions, Elaine has answers. Elaine: English? You're at college-level so you're ready to go. That's fabulous for English. And let's see for Math. Same thing. You're ready. You're at college level, so that's great. That means you won't need to do any developmental classes to get you brushed up and ready. You'll just be set to start the program. So for Culinary your next step would be to actually head down and talk to the Culinary Arts office and find out if there's still room in the program for this next quarter or what you need to do to enroll. Narrator: Andrea is interested in the four-year Bachelor's degree. Elaine: Now, here's the catch for you. If you know you're going on for a four-year school, you're going to want to take the college transfer version. So for English and Math there are two different versions, the applied version for professional-technical and the college transfer version. Since you know you want to do the BAS right now, go ahead and take the college transfer version. That means it will transfer to any four-year school. Easy as cake. Good to go. Narrator: Along with other important information, Elaine lets Andrea know that, even if it is not a requirement, she should check in with her advisor at least once each quarter. This is good advice for any student. Elaine: Any advisor works. If you have one that you're comfortable with, I recommend sticking with that one. But I always say, it's just like going to the doctor. If the first advisor you meet with, you don't connect with, you wouldn't stop going to the doctor. You'd find another one. So let's say you leave here and you're like, that Elaine girl, I'm not really sure about her. I wouldn't be offended at all if you didn't come see me. Just go and see someone else. Sometimes when students self advise, they get into trouble. So if you ever have questions, make sure you ask. Narrator: Some of those answers might be found here in the Quarterly Schedule or Course Catalog. It provides information on courses, important dates for the quarter, and upcoming events. Elaine: The best thing about this entire guide is the map. Okay, so I'm going to show you where some of the cool support services are on campus, so you make sure to go to those. There is a Math and Science Tutoring Center just across the courtyard for help if you need it in Math and Science. All you have to do is go in, sign in, raise your hand and they'll help you in any Math or science class that we have on this campus. You can also get a tutor for free right here, and they can help you one-on-one if you need that in any of your classes. So, there's a lot of support services, but it's on you to go to them. So that's kind of the difference between high school and college is that there isn't necessarily going to be someone tracking you down to make sure you go to the Math and science tutoring center, but you just know if you need help, that's where you need to go. That was a lot. Any questions? Andrea: I think you answered all of my questions. Elaine: Okay, so your homework is to look through this and then also to make sure you've talked with financial aid to make sure you're all set up there. You always want to follow up with them to make sure you aren't missing any documents. Narrator: Because this is Andrea's first quarter, Elaine, or any advisor, will help with the registration forms at the end of the appointment. That's standard for new students. These few initial steps on the path to success are essential. Andrea is getting a strong start. And though it is up to her to seek out help, you can see that there is plenty of assistance available. Successful students share some common traits. Take Mike Chareunsap. He's coming back to school after almost a decade. Mike (Culinary Student): Just a year ago, I never thought, I never thought, I'd be on unemployment, you know. I never thought I'd be out of work for almost a year. Narrator: Like Andrea, Mike is also working to build a network of support. Today he's exploring on-campus study groups. Mike: Hey you guys, how are you doing? So, this is the Cultural Center? You guys come here to study? Student: Yeah, sit down. Mike: So, what else are you guys doing here? Student: We have a whole bunch of stuff here. We have the multicultural library which is right behind you, and we have a... Narrator: Mike still hopes to one day open a restaurant and he's enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at South Seattle Community College. Reaching out to peers for help is a great step toward a strong start. Mike wants to improve his writing. Mike: If I ever want to open my own business, I have to write out business letters, memos to my employees; make sure everything's well written and everyone understands it; make sure I get my point across. Narrator: Like Andrea, Mike took a placement test. Mike: In Math, it will take me another three more classes so I can get to college-level Math and in English, it will be another class... one more class and then I'll be at college level. Roxanne (Tutoring & Support Services Director, SSCC): Hi Mike, I'm Roxanne. Nice to meet you. Mike: Nice to meet you. I was wondering if there was any tutoring services that I can get here. Roxanne: Available on the campus, and you're a student here? Mike: Yes. Roxanne: Good for you. And what program are you in? Mike: I'm in the culinary program and I also might be taking Math and English classes as well. Roxanne: Some extra classes along with it. That's fine. We have tutoring available free of charge for all students. We even have tutoring for the Culinary Program and for all of your English and Math classes. There's a variety of opportunities available. So come on next door, let me show you... Narrator: At South Seattle Community College, the only requirement for tutoring is a student ID and a desire to learn. The tutoring services are free of charge and many students consider the study area a home away from home. Mike won't be saying "If I only had known" at the end of the term. He's seeking out the resources before too much time passes to ensure a strong start. Shireen (Librarian): And, do you know how to get to the library website? Mike: I don't. Shireen: Okay. So from the website for the college there's a link to the library at the top in the center and that'll take you right to the library's website. If you're looking for books in our catalog, you could click on the link to the catalog. Narrator: Remember, the library is a high-powered resource center. Besides a wide range of books, magazines, newspapers and other media materials, the library is a research center with online access to newspapers, magazines, academic journals, subject-specific reference sources, statistics and other research sources. Shireen: If you want, I can show you where... Mike: Yes, that would be nice. Narrator: The librarians will help you locate these resources and also conduct workshops to increase your knowledge of other resources available to you. There are also media services available, study areas, and more. Mike: 700. That would be over here. Narrator: Mike is covering all of the bases, finding resources that some may not discover until it's too late. Getting back to school, for Mike, has been a lesson in preparation, and he shares some of that wisdom. Mike: If you're registering for school and you're not getting all the proper paperwork done, it's going to be a hassle because sometimes you go in and they say, "Oh have you filled this out? Have you filled..." And there's so many different forms you have to fill out. So you've just got to make sure that you have a checklist and colleges will provide that for you. Mike: Mr. Stowers? How're you doing? Allen Stowers (Instructor): Good to see you again. Mike: Sorry I missed class yesterday. Narrator: And Mike keeps in close contact with his instructors as well. Allen: I'm glad you've come to see me because I encourage students to come see their instructors, just in general, to get to know the instructors and to answer any questions. Narrator: Mike is a great example of a strong start. Often times students don't take action until they're struggling. Mike is taking action ahead of time: getting to know his instructors, seeking out campus resources, and getting to know fellow students. But the real motivation? What's at the heart of Mike's success? Mike: My mom was a big influence. You know, I mean, she raised three kids, all pretty much by herself, and even got two degrees! So, that was a big motivation. Narrator: There are services on campus for everyone. But it's up to you to seek out those services. Your advisors, instructors, tutors and fellow students are all there to help. So, as you take your first steps on the road to a good education, remember that a strong start is easy.

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 3 seconds
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Director: Seattle Community Colleges Television
Views: 37
Posted by: scctv on Nov 2, 2012

Early actions for a successful year will help you get a strong start in college. It's EASY! Making Achievement Possible (MAP) Video Series: MAP is a college success video series designed to help students, potential students, and their families learn to navigate the college system and gain the skills necessary for academic success. MAP consists of sixteen short videos, each with curricular materials for instructional use. All videos were funded by a Department of Education/AANAPISI grant to South Seattle Community College. More information is available at

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