‘Making It Happen’ Is a Jump Start to College

El Vaquero Staff Writer

More than 200 students took over GCC on May 3 for “College: Making it Happen” a program where parents and potential college students learned about all aspects of college from financial planning to career planning.

The event started at 7 a.m. and lasted until noon. Students were broken up into high school, middle school and elementary student groups. Each group then attended three separate workshops.

Each workshop was geared towards educating both parents and students about the different options at community colleges.

The first workshop was a financial aid workshop. This workshop educated parents about the possibilities and advantages of a two-year community college as opposed to a four-year college.

Parents and students were informed about their options with financial aid, loans, scholarships and Cal Grants.

The next set of workshops was a college overview. This session presented students and parents with a basic idea of what college is all about. There were discussions about the different career options and different degrees available at community colleges.

The final workshop was a roundtable discussion where parents and students had an opportunity to ask questions about things they were still unclear about.

“The panel discussions answer students’ questions, and a lot of the times students are hesitant to ask,” said Richard Kamei, a social science professor at GCC.

Students and parents were also provided with information packets that included general information about colleges and universities.
Students were also provided with a planning chart to help organize which classes to take during high school to prepare for California State University and University of California systems.

Parent Annie Kazanjian received a note from the district informing her about the program.

“I wanted [my daughter] to hear that if she does better in school there is a wide field for her and she can be successful,” said Kazanjian. “Most parents think about community colleges for those students who have low grades, but GCC prepares them for universities which is much easier for them.”

“College: Making it Happen” is a new program replacing the Start Smart program used in previous years. The new program is more interactive and incorporates students as well as parents.

“This gives parents and students some options to go home with some tangible information,” said Kimberly Bryant, coordinator for the outreach program. “Start Smart was an open house and the students would come and just look at the campus.”

“We thought it would be better to get to know the different career options and college choices. We learned a lot,” said Natalie Villegas, a student visiting the campus.

“They taught me that a two- year [college] is less expensive, books are cheaper and tuition is cheaper, but there is less variety than at two year than a four year college.”

Workshops were taught in English, Armenian and Spanish to ensure that almost all the parents and students were well informed about everything.
The program was coordinated by GCC in conjunction with CSUN. Students from Glendale, Burbank, and Los Angeles Unifies School Districts participated in the event.