For All Not For The Few

Delta Winds cover 2011Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


For All, Not For The Few

Vanessa Rodriguez

Beginning in 2014, there will be a change in the enrollment priority at community colleges all throughout California. This new registration priority will favor two groups of students: new students who have set up a clear educational plan and returning students who have no more than 100 credits. Many people think this change will benefit students at community colleges, but I disagree. I don't believe this new enrollment priority is a good idea. Currently, it is difficult for students to complete their college education. But this change in priority registration will make it even harder for some students to get through college.

One reason I don't agree with this change is that it will unfairly shut out hundreds of students. Some of the students who will be shut out are those new students who are undecided about what they want their major to be. I was one of those students. When I first started at Delta, I had no idea what major to declare. I knew that I wanted to transfer, but I didn't know what I wanted to be. I took random classes from different areas until I decided that I wanted to be a nurse. I had the liberty to try different classes, and decide what I liked and didn't like. With this new priority registration taking place, students won't have the same opportunity I did, and that isn't fair. Other students who will be shut out are the life-long learners. Those older adults who take classes simply to enhance their knowledge won't have the opportunity to take classes any longer. Some of my classmates are re-entry students in their 30's or 40's. It is a pleasure to have them in class because they are serious about learning. They also have the chance to share with the class a little of their own knowledge, and that enhances the education the professor gives us. Since they are older and have had more experience, they are able to teach us important things, along with the teacher. That is something you can't get with having only new, inexperienced students in class.

Another reason I disagree with this change is there aren't enough faculty and counselors working on campus. The new registration priority will force students to set up an educational plan, and many aren't capable of doing that on their own. All students will have to meet with counselors to get help setting up their plan. It is already a struggle to see a counselor on this campus. In my first semester at Delta, I called to make an appointment with a counselor, and it took two weeks to see one. With the new change, all new students would have to make an appointment, which would probably take all semester to accomplish. It would also make it harder if students decided to change their major in future semesters. This would mean they would have to meet with counselors again and make a whole new plan. Allowing students to try classes, without forcing them to decide what major they want to declare right away, avoids all this chaos. These students have the chance to see a counselor on their own time, when they are ready and sure about their decision.

Lastly, the biggest reason I disagree with the new registration priority is it would change the essence of what a community college is. For many years, people all over California have seen community colleges as a chance to further their education. Community colleges provide education for all, no matter what age, marital status, educational or financial level people are. Students are able to sample classes, either to decide what they want to be or simply to learn new things. They have the freedom to enjoy themselves, while getting an education, by taking extracurricular classes. Students who want to transfer and aren't ready for a university just yet, like myself, are able to attend community colleges. People who want to get a degree at their community college are able to attend as well. Lastly, people wanting to enhance their knowledge have the chance to come back and take classes for the sake of it. With the major change coming in 2014, much of this won't be allowed. Community colleges will consist mostly of young, new students and some returning students who haven't gone over 100 credits. Students who, like my friend John, have been taking classes for more than ten years simply to further their knowledge will be unfairly shut out when it comes to enrolling for classes. Also, students who, like myself, are undecided on what to be will be placed in the back of the line when enrollment time comes. This is extremely unfair. A community college is about education for all, not for the few.

Some people argue in favor of the new change and say the new registration priority will leave room for students who are serious about their education. I agree with this, but I think the new change has more negatives than positives. Many students will be unfairly shut out and put in the back of the line. There aren't enough counselors to make it happen easily and smoothly. It will also change the essence of community colleges and the type of students who attend. Yes, this change will make many smart students who have set goals and plans. However, it will create many more people who are unable to get an education or job, and it will make their futures tough. A community college is about providing education for all, without the pressure of having to set up an educational plan right away. The new enrollment priority will negatively affect many students, and that isn't what we want.