International students released from taking basic planning class

BENTE VAN ANDEL, Channels Staff

International students who plan to transfer to university are no longer required to take a personal development class at City College, starting this semester.

Before their first semester at City College all international students must attend an orientation week, referred to as Wave Week in order to get acquainted with other students and the new environment.

When planning on transferring, international students were required to take a personal development class called PD 149B. The class is an introduction to educational planning, and leads to the completion of a long-term Student Education Plan.

The class is normally scheduled during the first four weeks of the semester, but is now offered in February, March and April. Even though the class is no longer mandatory, it’s highly recommended.

“We felt that the students were not really ready to talk about transferring and a two-year commitment a day after they arrived at the college,” said Carola Smith, senior director of international programs. “By moving that course later into the semester students have a better chance at orientating themselves and I think we’ll get a lot more out of it.”

However, not all students appreciate that the personal development class has now been pushed back.

“It would be much better to have it in the beginning of the semester, then I would know exactly what classes I have to take,” said Swedish student Sara Wahlström. “I think it would be really good if this class was included in the Wave Week.”

Wahlström also referred to the costs of the course. The personal development class is worth half a unit, which costs approximately $250 to enroll in.

Although the course is now offered during several months, it’s not offered as often.

It used to be available six times a week, but it’s now only accessible on one day at two different times.

“It is only offered for students in their best interest to make them aware of the time and work that goes in to transferring to a University,” Smith said. “We’ve made these changes for the benefit of the students.” Smith also added that this way the program allow students to read through the information beforehand so they can enjoy the social events more.

City College has over 70 different nationalities and offers a wide variety of courses. The main reason there’s an orientation week is to introduce the new international students to all the opportunities City College presents. Students play games, come together at the West Campus lawn and have barbecues at the beach. There is also an assessment test to establish grammar and writing level.

“We felt that all international students really wanted was help with the registration for their classes,” Smith said. “And that is what we want to provide for them.”