Associate’s Degrees Helpful for Transferring, Employment

(U-WIRE) CUPERTINO, Calif. — De Anza College students gathered at the outdoor event arena in their maroon caps and gowns to finally hold in their hands the physical proof of their years of hard work and determination at De Anza. They conquered the not-so-small feat of an associate’s degree. The graduation ceremony was held on June 24 at 9 a.m.

To qualify for an A.A. or A.S. degree from De Anza, students are required to complete 90 quarter units of college credit. General education, or core courses, makes up 31 to 42 of those units in the areas of language and rationality, natural sciences, arts and humanities, social behavioral sciences and physical education, development and performance.

Once a student has completed the general education requirements, the remaining units will vary according to the requirements of the student’s major.

The main objective to obtaining an A.A. or A.S. degree is for employment, transferring to a four-year university or upgrading one’s professional skills.

“Typically students take more than two years to receive their degree,” said Herminio Hernando, counselor and Human Development Studies instructor.

Students often have other responsibilities outside of school like jobs and families, Hernando said.

According to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District student demographic fact sheet for fall 2005, 70 percent of students in the Foothill-De Anza District are enrolled part-time, 30 percent full-time.

“I am so proud and happy I finally finished,” said Erica Tsuha as she shot her hands in the air and cheered. Tsuha has been working towards her A.A. degree in liberal arts for two and a half years.
She said her next goal will be to get a job. She will return to De Anza over the summer to finish a certificate in accounting to help in her employment search.

“I got my stuff done,” said Mike Shackel, another De Anza graduate. “It seems like the degree has left me with a lot of opportunities.”

Shackel took two years to finish his degree in communications, completing 90 units exactly. He will move on to University of California-Los Angeles in the fall.

But not all students will graduate, even some with more than the required 90 units. Cash Chowdary, an electrical engineering major, will transfer this fall to University of California-San Diego after spending three years at De Anza.

Chowdary completed more than 100 units, fulfilling his major’s requirements, but he did not qualify for an A.A. degree because he did not meet the general education requirements. Instead Chowdary took classes he enjoyed and thought would benefit him like physics, chemistry and poetry.

“I think if you can finish all those classes you should be able to get a degree,” Chowdary said.

The counseling and academic advising offices, located on the second floor of the Student Services Building, is a valuable resource to help students plot out the course of their academic goals.

“Be planful and come in for advising, advice or guidance,” Hernando said. “Students should from a relationship with their counselor and teachers to help guide them.”