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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC program creates pathway to achieve academic success

Enrollment is open for a recently implemented program at City College called iPATH, which is designed to help students create and achieve their transfer goals.

It is a transfer program at City College which has a variety of features, including specialized classes, paid-for college campus visits and individualized counseling centered around academic success.

While there are other programs offered at City College geared to assist with student transfer, iPATH differs in its ability to connect different academic-success services offered throughout the school into one program.

The program works in connection with the transfer center and the career center. They also have a relationship with Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and the athletics department. The program also has a specialized counselor.

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“Integration is the key word, because [assistance programs] are so spread out. We want to keep it simple and help navigate a pathway for the student in a streamlined way,” said Director Tina Kistler.

The program currently offers 31 classes, and students do not need to be in the program to enroll in the class.

“I think it’s benefitted my learning experience a lot,” said Shane Byers, a third-semester student in the program. “In high school, there was a nice connection between students and teachers, and when I got to college, there was a huge power distance. iPATH really helped to reduce that power distance.”

He said he finds classes are more interactive, because all of the students want to be there and want to learn.

The smaller classes include a tutor who is present in the classroom. The classes are designed to help students see the value of the general education courses in their overall education experience, Kistler said.

The faculty are encouraged to teach their courses using small group discussions, interactive teaching strategies and incorporating small group assignments. The program should feel personal, and that it’s specialized to the individual navigating through the transfer process.

“We want to be a support system that is inside of the classroom and the goal is for all SBCC classes to be taught that way,” said counselor Vanessa Olguin. “Whatever institution that a student wants to transfer to is what we’ll help them get to.”

Olguin said that the specific classes offer transferrable units geared towards helping students finish their general education, or IGETC courses, in a timely fashion. Students can also complete their Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG), if that is the path the student chooses.

“Having that TAG guarantees your admission if you if you keep your GPA up, and without the TAG, you are competing with the rest of the population that has 4.0’s,” said Olguin.

She explained that a common cause as to why students do not meet their TAG requirements is because they do not complete the classes that they need within the correct time frame.

“If a student wants to do a TAG into one of the 6 UCs that offer it, there are certain requirements that they have to do their English and their math units in a certain amount of time.”

With the help of the program, students are able to gain a clear idea of where they want to transfer, what they should major in, what classes they need and when they should take those classes.

“We want the way students experience general education to be meaningful and relevant,” said Olguin.

The program is open to all students who are committed to reaching their academic goals, who have tested into the English 110, “Composition and Reading.” It is not open to international students.

To enroll, eligible students must make a commitment to transfer, and complete a comprehensive Student Educational Plan (SEP) with a counselor and remain in good academic standing.

Byers said he recommends the program to everyone, and particularly to new students at City College with a goal to transfer.

“If you are looking to get through your general education, look to iPATH first,” he said.

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