On Tuesday night in the PAC Cafe, representatives of five local community colleges hosted a mini college fair, gave presentations, and answered questions about financial aid and how community colleges work. Colleges in attendance were Foothill, Cañada, College of San Mateo, Skyline, and DeAnza.
Klee Freedman, a representative of Foothill College, emphasized that there is great success in transferring from a community college to a 4-year university. “University of California (UCs) and California State Universities (CSUs) really try to take community college students. They know that you might be a little bit more prepared.”
Senior Jacqueline Hernandez learned that the Promise Scholarship guarantees two years of free tuition. “It’s very affordable,” she said. “I won’t have to pay at all. I want to go to Foothill if I don’t get into a CSU next year.”
Hernandez plans to study for a certificate or Associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology. “My sister is motivating me,” she explained. “She graduated [M-A] 10 years ago and went to Foothill but didn’t finish. She’s finishing it now, so I might [take classes] with her.”
“DeAnza college feels very much like a university,” said representative Erick Aragon. “We have around 70 clubs, and 21,000 students, so we’re a little bit bigger.” Aragon also explained that DeAnza has free tutoring on campus.
“I want to study construction and engineering,” said senior Jairo Lopez. “I am thinking about Cañada or Foothill. I came to M-A two and a half years ago, I took English Language Development (ELD) classes, and now I want to keep studying.” Lopez is working right now and plans to continue to work through college.
“Cañada has a smaller campus, so students here get more personalized attention,” explained representative Cecilia Miranda Sousa. “We have certificates in more narrow concentrations like radiology. Students work in hospitals as part of training and can have a job lined up.”
Elijah Hernandez of Skyline echoed this. “There are programs in anything from surgical tech to cosmetology. Cosmetology students work at the spa on campus and offer their services to students and staff.”
“At a community college, you get to meet all kinds of different people,” said Martin, a current student of College of San Mateo. “In your classes, sometimes they can be all different ages, so everyone has a really cool story.”
College counselors Mai Lien Nguyen and Heather Lowe encourage students interested in applying to community college to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to receive free tuition for the first two years. Nguyen and Lowe are also available to help students through any part of the application process.