First year experience

Alicia Edquist, Advertising Manager/Lab Aide

When you came to Cerritos College did you ever think about how you were going to make it through college? How would you adjust to college and that it would not be like high school anymore?

For many new students the adjustment maybe complicated, confusing and lost. The pressures of being at a new school and taking classes that just don’t fit for them can make students feel like they can’t make it and the students will drop out.

Cerritos College Learning Communities has created a pilot program called the First Year Program. This project is to help students adjust to college life and culture.

“Sometimes students get used to not going to class and drop out, so this program is design to help students stay in class and get adjusted to classes and campus,” said Ana Torres-Bower, Philosophy teacher and coordinator of the First year Program.

The program will begin in the fall of 2003. It is the third track of the Learning Communities program. The program will consist of two houses.

“The reason for us calling it a house is due to the nature of the program. We feel that it will be like a support system for the students and a friendly family like environment for them to get support from,” Torres- Bower said.

There are requirements that the students must qualify for such as taking placement testing, and signing a one-semester contract agreeing to complete the course track and commit their all to their classroom performance.

Two houses are within the program, House A and House B. Each house will require the students to take 12 units and complete. The first house consisted of classes for English 20 and Math 20 students and the second house is for students that meet the English 52 and Math 60 requirements after taking the Math and English assessment tests.

The students will be taking other types of classes too to meet the requirement and the classes are pre chosen for each house.

Each house will have 40 students, for a total of 80 students for the whole pilot program. The 80 students will be selected from the placement exam.

When the students are done taking the placement exam they can call Torres-Bower to see how to get involved with the First Year Experience.

The program will be a simulated model of a program that was launched over 30 years ago at the University of South Carolina.

FYE will allow students at Cerritos College to adapt to college by placing them in a unit-type of atmosphere where all of their classes will meet in the same classroom and will be taken with the same students.

“The First Year Experience will help orient the students from high school to college,” Torres-Bower said.

So why should you join?

You make friends by being with the same group of students in multiple classes.

Convient class schedules that work for students

Early registration to pick you classes ahead of time

Learn new skills to complete college courses

Make connections with important resources on campus

The program is apart of the Learning communities program and the teachers that are in the FYE are already apart of the Learning Communities classes here on campus.

“The teachers already have experience working with other faculty to help students succeed in the classes and help the students with any thing they need,” Torres-Bower said.

“The goal of the program,” Torres-Bower said, “is a 100 percent retention rate.”

The students will also go through a student orientation on July 15.

Students interested in the program can call Ana Torres-Bower at 562.860.2451, ext. 2778 for registration and enrollment. Also for additional information you can also access the web site at