Jump Start

Agnes Constante

When it comes to attaining educational pursuits, Glendale Community College offers an array of options for students of various circumstances: working adults can enroll in the Program for Adult Continuing Education, better known as PACE; those who prefer to take online classes can take advantage of the college’s distance education courses; non-native English speakers can take ESL classes; and students seeking hands-on learning in biology, oceanography or geology can enroll in the Baja Program. Another program designed specifically for high school students is Jump Start.

Educational Options

For those who participate in these various programs, success is a common destination.
From 1998 to 2000, Cyndee Whitney, head of organization development and training for the city of Pasadena, participated in PACE. Since graduating, she has earned multiple degrees, including a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate in human and organizational systems.

While she was still in high school, Dieuwertje Kast enrolled in a marine biology lab in Glendale’s Baja Studies program, during which she “got the chance to snorkel with a whale shark . find a gigantic whale carcass, [and] boat with a pod of 200 dolphins.” Kast is currently pursuing a master’s degree in marine environmental biology at USC, and said that of her experience at Glendale, “I think that this [biology] course helped give me a lot of the basics that got me started in my marine biology career.”

Perhaps one of the lesser known programs that paves students’ way to success is Jump Start, which allows high school students to enroll in college courses during regular semesters and winter and summer sessions while they are still in high school.
According to Alen Andriassian, manager of outreach and assessment, the campus is home to approximately 400 to 500 Jump Starters each semester.

The goal of the program is to allow high school students to gain an understanding of what college is like. Simultaneously, it enables students to move ahead in their educational goals.

To participate in the program, students should be California residents who are in their junior or senior year of high school. It is also recommended that they hold a minimum B grade average.

Although the program is geared toward high school juniors and seniors, Andriassian said that the program has had students as young as 12 years old.

A Head Start

In the summer following eighth grade, Bianca Saleebyan, who is currently a senior at La Canada High School, enrolled in Jump Start.
After being told that she could not attend summer school until after her freshman year, Saleebyan explored other options.

“I was disappointed, not wanting to spend a summer not doing anything, so I asked about other options like camps or summer programs and my counselor looked at my transcript and said that with my grades, I could enroll in a five-week summer session at Glendale College, so I did exactly that,” she said. “I enrolled in oceanography and its lab and had a wonderful time.”

One might think that handling college courses and high school concurrently would detract from a student’s high school experience, but for Bianca, participating in Jump Start has worked in her favor.

“I can really look at my high school life, where I completed a majority of my academic classes at GCC and transferred over to LCHS by the end of sophomore year, and see it as my opportunity to have fun and be social and involved in activities, whereas at GCC, that’s serious business and is what’s going to matter when I move on,” she said.
Her final year of high school currently consists of four electives and two free periods, so she “can really enjoy high school.”

Jump Start also provides a preview of what a college environment is really like.
Suzanna Sargsyan, a senior at Hoover High School, began taking college courses at Glendale in the fall. She noted differences in the way students are treated in college as opposed to in high school.

“GCC is different from high school because you are considered an adult . while in high school we are still considered kids,” she said. “Another huge difference in the atmosphere is that [students] are on their own at GCC; classes are at different times, people eat lunch at different times, everyone works on [his or her] own schedule.”
Additionally, Sargsyan noticed that in college, attendance is generally up to the student.

“In college you pay for your class,” she said. “So if you decide you don’t want to attend, it’s all on you; it’s your decision because the professors can’t make the time to catch you when you fall.”

Juggling high school classes, college classes, work, and extracurricular activities can certainly be quite a challenge, but both Saleebyan and Sargsyan recommend the program to students who want to get ahead.

“I would recommend this program strongly to others and have encouraged my friends to take on dual-enrollment because it is truly rewarding and just so different from high school,” said Saleebyan. “It gives a whole new perspective to life.”

Sargsyan also “would definitely recommend this program to other students because they should take advantage of this opportunity.”
Since taking classes at Glendale Sarsgyan has completed enough units to transfer out to UCLA as a junior in the fall. Similarly, Saleeblyan, who plans to attend GCC after graduating from high school this spring, expects to be able to complete her requirements and transfer out within 1 1/2 years.

Saleebyan plans to major in English and minor in either theater, Italian studies or history. She also hopes to obtain a master’s in English and a teaching credential. Sargsyan will major in business administration with a minor in marketing.
Both students are now several steps ahead of their peers in their educational goals after having taken part in Jump Start.

More Opportunities

In addition to getting ahead in school, the program has also offered some students opportunities that are not available to them in high school.

Malia Mailes, a junior at La Canada High School, began taking Italian classes at GCC at the beginning of her sophomore year. She is currently taking an intermediate-level Italian class at the college.

“I’m a dual citizen of Italy and the United States and really wanted to take Italian, but my school doesn’t offer it,” she said.
“[By being in Jump Start] I’m able to get college credit while also satisfying my high school language requirements.”

Aside from getting ahead academically, participation in the program equips students with invaluable time management skills,
Sargsyan, who is student body president and design editor and business manager of yearbook at Hoover High School, also works every day of the week. In order to handle her high school and college commitments, she has had to prioritize and make sacrifices. She previously attended a dance class outside of school on Mondays and Thursdays, but now only attends on Thursdays. It is certainly a challenge for her to cope with all her activities, but reaching her end goal keeps her motivated.

“It is hard to pull [off] getting straight As in high school and in college at the same time,” she said. “Since I take night classes I usually get home late which affects my studies for high school. My college studies are affected by my job; however, I pull through knowing that I am getting ahead.”

How to “Jump Start” Your College Experience

 SUBMIT AN APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION. Applications can be obtained: from your high school college counselor or college/career center, from the information desk at the main lobby of the administration building at the college, by request by calling (818) 240-1000, ext. 3031, or online at www.glendale.edu.

 SUBMIT A COMPLETED RECOMMENDATION FOR ADMISSIONS OF SELECTED STUDENTS FORM. This form requires the signatures of the student, parent, and high school counselor or principal. Students in 9th grade or below must also obtain the signatures of the designee of the governing school board and dean of admissions and records at Glendale College.

 SUBMIT THE APPLICATION, RECOMMENDATION AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS. Supporting documents include high school transcripts with the calculated GPA and photo identification (such as a high school ID card, California ID or driver’s license). These should be submitted to the admissions and records office in the administration building.

 COMPLETE AN ASSESSMENT. English and math assessments can be immediately taken at the San Fernando Complex on campus, room 112. ESL assessments require appointments.

 MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO MEET WITH YOUR JUMP START COUNSELOR. The counseling office is located on the second floor of the San Rafael Building. You can also call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5918. Have your GCC assessment results; AP, CLEP, SAT, ACT, or other test results; high school transcripts.

 REGISTER FOR CLASSES. Review the schedule of classes (which can be found at the GCC bookstore, information desk, outreach services, and in the administration building. The listing of classes is also available through the GCC representative at your high school and online at www.glendale.edu). Register for classes in person (see the Glendale College catalog for registration locations, times, and dates).

For more information, visit http://www.glendale.edu/index.aspx?page=901.