Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Availability

Diablo Valley College will be closed beginning Tuesday, December 22, 2009 until Monday, January 4, 2010. Faculty, including counselors, may not be available until classes begin on Friday, January 22, 2010. In the meantime, students are encouraged to utilize available resources for finding answers to common academic counseling questions. These resources include:
1., for information about CSU and UC admissions and program requirements, majors offered, and the transferability of DVC courses to the CSU and UC systems.
2. The DVC Catalog, available online at; click on "Schedule of Classes" on the right; on the next page, find the Catalog and Addendum files at the bottom of the page. Both are PDF documents.
3. The DVC New International Student Orientation online: Go to, then click on "DVC New International Student Orientation." The orientation has audio and lasts approximately 1.5 hours. There are other useful and informative presentations on my authorstream page that might answer many academic counseling questions.

Also, read my other posts on this blog to see if your questions can be answered by one of those.

Happy Holidays, and see you all next year!

If the classes you want are full...

If the classes you want to take are full:
1. Check the Schedule of Classes daily to see if someone has dropped, leaving an opening for which you can register.
2. If the class has a waiting list that still has openings on it, add your name; if an opening occurs, the department will contact you and ask if you want to register for the class. If you attend the first day of class and openings are available, those students on the waiting list will get priority for the open seats.
3. If the class is still closed on the first day, attend anyway, taking a Schedule Request form (available at ) . Ask the instructor if you can take the class; if the instructor consents, get his/her signature on the form, then take it to the International Student Admissions and Services office.
4. Look for other classes to take, such as General Education courses or elective classes. Remember that international students MUST enroll in at least 12 units each semester in order to maintain legal status while in the U.S.

More students are enrolling in California community colleges while fewer classes are being offered, due to the bad economy and state budget cuts. Classes at DVC fill up VERY quickly, and students MUST be flexible in their expectations. If the classes you want are full, there is nothing that counselors, instructors, or administrators can do to create more classes for you. If you would like to take action, please consider contacting the California legislators for Contra Costa County to voice your concerns:

Monday, November 2, 2009

The UC Personal Statement: A Great Video

If you are applying to the UC system, here's a link to a wonderful video hosted by a UC faculty member:

When I give advice about writing the personal statement, I get my information from this video and similar presentations offered by UC authorities. Here you can hear and see it directly from the UC officer herself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The UC Personal Statement

The application for the University of California system is now available. Part of the application is the personal statement. The personal statement consists of two topics, and applicants may write a maximum of 1000 words. The personal statement topics can be found at the following link:

Applicants are reminded to complete the application before writing the personal statement, as statement readers will be looking at the applicant's application before reading the personal statement. For other great tips on writing the personal statement, view the PowerPoint presentation, courtesy of the UC system, posted on my authorSTREAM page:

To access the UC application, click on this link:

DVC international students should be advised that the international counselor will have extended drop-in counseling available in the month of November to offer feedback on the personal statement. However, applicants should not expect extensive editing, as the personal statement is just that: PERSONAL. It is your story, not mine.

For details on the extended drop-in hours, contact the DVC Counseling Center: 925-685-1230, extension 2276 or 2278.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reporting Prior Coursework on the University Application

I want to take this opportunity to remind students that ALL prior coursework MUST be reported on the University of California application, as well as on any other university application. Some students act like they do not believe me when I tell them this information. Here is a link to the University of California website that confirms my assertion:

University applications all include a statement that must be read and signed, even virtually, by applicants verifying that the applicant has reported all information in the application accurately and honestly, and that failure to do so can have negative consequences on the applicant's admissibility to the university. If the university discovers that you failed to report prior college coursework, you can have your admissions rescinded, or taken away, and it can affect your admissibility to any other university in the system.

Do not be afraid to report prior college coursework, even if your GPA was weak. Let the university make the decision on your application, not your peers, and remember that any decision can be appealed through proper channels of communication.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Transfer Admission Guarantee

Students who will complete all of their transfer requirements by the end of Spring 2010, and who have no units from a college or university outside of the U.S., might want to look into the opportunities provided by the Transfer Admission Guarantee, or TAG, with several of the UC campuses.

All UC campuses except Berkeley and Los Angeles have TAG programs. All of the TAG programs allow international students except San Diego.

Davis is the most popular TAG for international students at DVC. The deadline to submit the Davis TAG is September 30. You MUST see a counselor BY APPOINTMENT to write the TAG, as doing so requires your file to be pulled from the Admissions and Records office, and it requires more time than a drop-in meeting would allow. So, if you are interested in writing the TAG with UC Davis, schedule an appointment IMMEDIATELY by calling the Counseling Center at 925-685-1230, ext. 2276 or 2278.

The other UC's have different procedures and deadlines. Check with the Transfer Center in the Counseling Building for more details about the UC TAGs. You can also refer to the UC website:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Unavailability of Classes

Please read this letter to students from DVC regarding the great difficulty that students are facing in enrolling in classes and accessing services this Fall semester:

While international students do not have voting privileges in California, you are here legally and the budget cuts have just as negative an impact on you as they do on California residents. The U.S. government requires that you be enrolled in at least twelve units per semester; finding that many units that all count toward your academic goal is extremely difficult in these times. You, too, are encouraged to send letters and emails to the California legislators named in the letter and explain how the budget cuts are negatively impacting your education at DVC.

DVC Forms Online

Looking for a DVC form? Find most, if not all, of the forms you need online at this link:

Some of the forms can even be filled out and submitted online! You can also find .pdf documents showing IGETC courses, CSU-GE courses, and the DVC AA-GE courses.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Importance of Planning Ahead

"A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

I saw that sign posted in the photocopy services office of the university where I completed my last master's degree. At first I thought its tone was sarcastic, and I felt it was inappropriate to display it publicly. However, after more than seven years as an academic advisor and counselor, I've come to see the simple truth conveyed by that quote.

We humans are free to make our own choices: To be proactive or reactive; to plan ahead or to wait until the last possible moment; to accept the consequences of our choices or to blame others. For some people, planning ahead is a way of life. These are the people who use calendars, planners, PDAs, and so forth to organize their lives, sometimes to the least detail. For others, planning is an excruciatingly painful process that goes against every fiber of their being. They're just not made that way.

To be successful in college, though, planning ahead is vital. Students must exercise foresight and good time management skills in order to achieve their academic goals. This week, many students, both domestic and international, are realizing the unfortunate consequences of a lack of planning. They're arriving on the DVC campus expecting to get into all of the classes that they want to take with no obstacles or barriers. They're discovering, much to their disappointment and frustration, however, that most of DVC's classes are already full, and that it is very unlikely that they will be able to take some classes (especially Math, English, and Sciences) in the Fall semester. This setback might delay their achieving their academic goals by at least one semester, and in some cases, by as much as one year!

In addition, many international students will be compelled to take courses that do not count toward their academic goals because F-1 students must be enrolled in at least twelve units each semester. Because of their lack of planning, they will have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for unrequired classes, and they might have to delay their transfer by up to a year. In most cases, this could have been avoided if the student had read the materials that they received from DVC and arrived earlier in the summer to attend orientation and register for classes.

Of course, life sometimes gets in the way of our plans. Unexpected delays which are beyond our control can occur, and our plans do not unfold according to our expectations, despite our best efforts. But even in cases such as these, we cannot expect the rest of the world to accommodate our individual situations. Successful students are adaptable; they plan in advance, they meet challenges well-equipped with good time management skills and effective coping strategies, and they adapt to unexpected changes by taking personal responsibility for their educational outcomes.

Are you a good manager of your time? Do you plan well in advance for important events? Do you have a back-up plan in case your primary plan fails? Do you take personal responsibility for yourself and your situation? If the answer to all of these questions is "yes," then you will be a successful student. If you need to build skills in academic planning, then consider taking Counseling 120, Student Success. It is transferable to both CSU and UC and counts toward the 60-unit minimum requirement.

Using AP, IB, GCE, and other test scores

While in high school, many students take classes and exams in college-bound programs such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE), often know as O-level and A-level, or in similar programs based on that of Cambridge, such as KHALE. Acceptable scores on such exams often result in requirements being waived, and in some universities, earn unit credit. Each college and university has its own policy regarding the use of exam scores; indeed, sometimes there are different policies from one department to another in the same university. Each student's case is unique, so if you have exam scores like one of the ones mentioned previously, you should look at the websites of the universities you plan to apply to and determine how they will accept your scores. In almost all cases, however, only AP scores can be used to meet General Education requirements. The UC transfer website does have some information on how the UC accepts such scores:

Exam scores might also be used to clear prerequisite requirements for courses that you want or need to take at DVC. To determine whether or not your scores meet prerequisite requirements, be sure that DVC has an official copy of your score report on file. Submit a Prerequisite Form, along with an unofficial copy of your score report, to the DVC Admissions and Records office. Be sure to fill in the information on the form about the class you want to take and the score you believe meets the requirement for that class. If the DVC class you want to take is still open, or if you have been given permission by the instructor to enroll, you can also submit a Schedule Request form to enroll in the class. The appropriate academic department will review your credential to determine whether or not you can stay in the class.

Using units earned at another college or university

Many students are coming to DVC having already earned some units either at another U.S. college or university, or at a foreign institution. How can you find out if those units can help you meet your academic goal at DVC?

First, if your units are from a U.S. college or university: Make sure that DVC has an official copy of your transcript(s) in your file. Then, schedule a counseling appointment with me, being sure to tell the scheduler that you have units from another school. The scheduler will ask you questions about your academic goal, so be sure you have identified a goal by then. About two or three weeks later, you will come for your appointment, and I will have your file. In it will be an official evaluation of your units from DVC's Admissions and Records office. In the meantime, I can help you guess how your units might be applied to your requirements at DVC, but until I have the official report from DVC's A&R, I cannot provide you with exact information. If your units are from another California community college, you can use to determine how those units can meet your goal to transfer to CSU or UC.

Second, if your units are from a foreign college or university: DVC can use foreign-earned units ONLY as elective units; those units cannot be applied toward the DVC Associate's degree General Education requirements. They might be applicable to a DVC major, but you would have to talk to someone in the major department regarding that issue. So, if your goal is to earn an associate's degree from DVC, you must get an evaluation of your foreign-earned units from an outside agency, as DVC does not employee foreign transcript evaluators. This link will take you to a list of agencies from which you can choose: My advice is to choose the least expensive agency. Once DVC has received an official copy of the evaluation from the agency, schedule an appointment with me, and when you come for your appointment, I will have a report from DVC's Admissions and Records office explaining how many units you can use as electives. If you want to use those units toward a DVC major, then you'll have to visit the appropriate academic department.

If your goal is to transfer to a CSU or a UC, DO NOT get an evaluation of your foreign-earned units from a private agency. CSU's and UC's employee their own foreign transcript evaluators. When you apply to the CSU or UC, you will be required to submit official copies of ALL of the colleges and universities you have attended, both here in the U.S. and in other countries. This is required; you cannot hide foreign-earned units. Attempting to do so could result in your being denied admissions at ANY of the CSU or UC campuses. If you plan to transfer to a private or out-of-state university, you need to read that university's website to determine their expectations. I am unable to tell you about the requirements of private and out-of-state universities.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New International Student Orientation

The last orientation for new international students for Fall 2009 was held on Friday, August 7. More than one hundred students attended. However, if you are new for Fall semester and did not attend the orientation, you still have a chance to view the slides from the presentation on Just click on this link:, or visit and click on "DVC New International Student Orientation."

Before meeting with a counselor, all new students are expected to attend new international student orientation. Please view this presentation before meeting with a counselor so that you will have the framework for the conversation that you will have with the counselor and so that you will know how to think about choosing classes for the Fall semester. This will save both you and the counselor valuable time.

Also please note that at this time, there are very few open seats in DVC English, Math, and Science courses. You might have to wait until Spring, Summer, or even Fall 2010 to begin a Math or Science sequence. This is the current reality for all California community colleges: The demand for classes far exceeds the supply due to state budget cuts. DVC will do the best it can to provide classes and services for students, but only so much can be done with limited resources. Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding during these rather trying times.

For more information on what to do if the classes you want to take are already full, refer to the last few slides of the orientation presentation linked above.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

California's Budget Crisis and DVC

By now, I'm sure everyone has heard about the very serious budget crisis that the state of California is experiencing. This crisis severely impacts the public education system, including Diablo Valley College. For students, this means that fewer classes may be offered, and student services may be drastically cut. It might be harder for students to get into classes that they need, and it might be more difficult to access individualized help. So, what's a student to do?

First of all, students can be self-guided and self-motivated and take advantage of the numerous online resources available to find out valuable information for academic planning. For transfering to CSU and UC campuses, is the best resource. Not only does it show students how their DVC courses will transfer to the CSU and UC systems, but it also shows which DVC courses fulfill admissions requirements for both systems, as well as IGETC and CSU-GE requirements. The DVC website itself contains much valuable information, along with digital copies of the DVC catalog, in case students misplaced the one they received at New Student Orientation. Other useful websites include and The Student Planning Guide that students receive at orientation contains a list of other helpful websites. Students can also look in my blog archives to find other useful internet resources. Of course, looking at the websites of the universities is very informative.

Second, students should plan well in advance to see a counselor and not expect to get counseling on demand. There are a limited number of counseling appointments available, and those fill up fast. So, students should make an appointment, make a list of their questions, and while waiting for their appointment date, they should research the answers to their questions on their own and get confirmation from the counselor at the appointment. This will save both the student and the counselor valuable time.

Finally, the best pieces of advice are: Remain calm. Be flexible. Stay open-minded. Adapt. Be independent. Successful students are the ones who are most resilient when faced with challenges, and these are challenging times.

In conclusion, I am reminded of an old Asian proverb: The reed that fails to bend in the wind, breaks. Will you be the reed that bends with the wind and remains standing once the storm has passed, or will you be the reed that breaks because you were too inflexible and rigid?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Using Pass/No Pass Units

As students register for summer and fall classes, it's good to review the policy on the use of Pass/No Pass units. Many courses at DVC are offered with the Student Choice (SC) grading option. This means that the student can choose either the letter grade (A-F) or Pass/No Pass (P/NP) option. In order to get a Pass, you must make at least a C in the course. However, your transcript will indicate a P. If you earn less than a C, your transcript will show NP for the course. Either way, there is no affect on your GPA. Be advised: Courses that are required for your major must, in most cases, be taken for a letter grade. General education courses and elective courses, however, can be taken P/NP for CSU and UC transfer. The maximum number of units that you can transfer to the UC system with a P grade, however, is 14. Maximums in the CSU system vary from campus to campus, so check the websites of the campuses you want to transfer to. The same holds true for private and out-of-state universities.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Appealing an Admissions Decision

Now is the time of the academic year when transferring students receive notification about their university applications. Some students are happy with the results, and some are not.

If you are denied admission to a university, you have the right to submit an appeal of the decision. However, you should appeal ONLY if you have NEW and/or COMPELLING information that was NOT included in your original application. For example, if you have some low grades because of a health problem, and you did not mention that in your personal statement or in the Additional Comments section of your UC application, and if you were denied admission, you might appeal and include documentation of your health issues.

Here are links on appeals information for three of the most popular UC campuses:
Los Angeles,
San Diego,
Other UC campuses, as well as CSU's and private or out-of-state universities, may have appeals information on their websites. Type "admissions appeal" in the search bar of the university's website to search for that information.

Read the information thoroughly and completely, and follow the directions well, especially noting the deadlines. Appeals received after the deadline may not be reviewed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

UCLA to Temporarily Discontinue International Development Studies Major

The International Development Studies major at UCLA will be temporarily discontinued while the program is reassessed for resource allocation. Transfer students admitted for Fall 2009 to that major will be able to continue in it, but transfer admits thereafter will not be able to declare IDS as a major. UCLA has not indicated whether or not this major will be offered again at a later date. Please refer to the note on the IDS website for confirmation of this information:

Students who had been planning on transferring to UCLA as an IDS major after Fall 2009 can consider another major, such as one of the area studies (e.g. Asian American Studies, Latin American Studies, etc.) or a broader field such as Political Science or Sociology. Refer to for assistance in researching majors offered in the UC and CSU systems.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prior College Coursework & University Applications

Quite a number of international students come to DVC having attended a college or university in their home country. When it comes time to apply for transfer from DVC to a university, such students often fail to report their prior college coursework, for various reasons. Some have the mistaken notion that foreign college coursework is not valid in the U.S. Others believe that, since they are studying a major that is different from their former program of study in their country, their prior foreign college coursework is irrelevent. And others, like many U.S. students, did not do well academically their first year in college, so they do not want their grades to affect their admissibility to a U.S. university.

Whatever the case may be, transfer applicants are REQUIRED by the universities to report ALL college-level coursework completed, whether in the U.S. or in another country. Failure to report all prior college coursework can result in the student's application becoming invalid. There have even been cases where a student got admitted to a university, but when the authorities of that university discovered that the student had failed to report prior college coursework, the student's offer of admissions was rescinded, or taken back.

So one may ask, How would the university know that I completed college coursework in my country if I do not report it on the application? The application asks the applicant to account for each semester after high school completion until the time of the application. Any breaks in the student's academic history...a semester or two or three, for example...will raise flags of suspicion, and university admissions officers may ask the applicant to provide documentation to prove what the applicant states on the application. For example, if the applicant reported that s/he was working, the university may ask to see copies of payroll receipts for those dates to verify the employment.

The best advice is for each applicant to be completely thorough and honest on their application. College admissions is as much art as it is science. Of course, the universities are looking for strong academic achievement demonstrated by a high GPA, but they are also looking for much, much more than mere numbers. They want students who are leaders, who show community-mindedness, who overcame challenges and obstacles in their lives to succeed academically and personally. A bad first year in a college in another country can actually be turned into something positive, especially if the student's academic performance since then clearly demonstrates that the student is capable of doing well.

The old adage "Honesty is the best policy" holds true when it comes to university admissions applications. Put all of who you are and what you've done out on the table for the universities to see. Your accomplishments will shine even brighter next to challenges and obstacles that you may have faced earlier and overcome successfully.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

GPA: Myths and Realities

I don't know how many times I've heard statements like the following: "I have to make all A's!" or "If I don't have a 4.0, I won't get in!" My heart breaks each time I hear a student making that claim because I can't imagine the kind of pressure that student must be feeling to make perfect grades. While no one will deny the fact that the higher the GPA, the greater your chances of being admitted into a selective major, the reality is that there is much more to the admissions process than simply having a high GPA.

For those of you who are numbers-driven, though, I refer you to the official website of the University of California system to see those numbers for yourself: Look at the table for California community college transfer students, and you will see that not all of those students admitted had perfect GPA's. In fact, the tables don't even indicate how many students had a perfect 4.0!! I looked at the statistics for UC Berkeley, for Fall 2007 (the most recent data available). For that semester, there were 1,536 community college transfer students enrolled for the first time. Of those students, about 85% had a transfer GPA of 3.4 or higher, and about half had a GPA hovering somewhere around 3.7. So, what about that 15% with a GPA less than 3.4? What did they have that UC Berkeley wanted?

While it's difficult to answer that question without having been a fly on the wall in the rooms where those admissions decisions were made, we can surmise that a student's other qualifications are considered in the admissions process. Any university wants to admit students who display leadership qualities. This doesn't mean that you have to be the student body president, or the founder of a new club or organization; it just means that you are self-guided and self-motivated, that you know how to lead others while being a good follower, yourself. Your extra-curricular activities should reflect these qualities. Also, universities want students who are community-minded and have a global perspective, so performing acts of community service will help you gain these qualities. Don't choose an activity simply because you think it will look good on your application; if you do that, your heart won't be in it, and therefore you'll learn little from it. Instead, consider what you feel passionate about, and find an opporunity to make a difference in your community in that context. Are you passionate about the environment? Participate in a recycling program! Do you love children? Volunteer in a shelter for homeless families! Are you an animal-lover? Offer your time to a local rescue association or animal shelter. There's something for everybody out there. Finding the opportunities might be difficult, but just ask around. You can also search online. [] is a good resource when looking for volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area.

Finally, while it's true that California residents get priority when it comes to admissions into the UC and CSU systems, all campuses of the CSU and UC value the unique contributions that international students make to the diversity of the campus community. Make yourself as competitive as possible in all ways, not just when it comes to GPA. However, to help you have as high a grade as possible, here are two suggestions: First, visit your instructors during their office hours to ask questions about the lectures and the assignments. Having that one-on-one connection might be just what you need to be successful in the course. Second, utilize tutoring services on campus. DVC tutors are well-qualified and trained to help you be the best student you can be, and tutoring in a variety of subjects is offered each semester. Visit the Tutoring Services website for more information:

Have a great Spring Break!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stress Management

It's that time of the semester: Mid-term exams are happening, projects are due, extra-curricular activities are eating up a lot of your time. Spring break is still a week away. The pressure to succeed is greater than ever. What's a stressed-out student to do?

Stress itself is neither positive nor negative; it simply "is." However, how we deal with the stress in our lives is what matters. Some people choose to deal with stress negatively; they smoke, overdrink, overeat or eat unhealthily, or otherwise engage in activities that are not helpful. There are, however, positive ways to deal with stress. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important ways to deal with stress. With homework and assignments piling up, it might be easy to rationalize "pulling an all-nighter." But good time management skills will solve this problem. Knowing when your assignments are due and when your exams are scheduled, and working/studying a little bit each day, will help you avoid the "all-nighter." Exercise is another positive way to deal with stress. You don't have to spend hours in the gym, or even break a sweat; just going for a walk or jog can help your body work out the tension caused by stress. Finally, eating properly is vital in maintaining your health in stressful times. Avoid fast foods and processed products. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, protein-rich foods, and other nutritious options. And drink plenty of water; dehydration will cause headaches and other aches and pains.

And on a final note, while over-socializing can contribute to poor time management, and thus cause you to neglect your responsibilities as a student, having a good social-support network can de-stress your life. A good time manager will schedule time for fun and relaxation; do something that you enjoy with someone whom you enjoy being with. You could even combine strategies by exercising or sharing a healthy meal with a friend.

For more information on stress management for college students, refer to this article on stress and students at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

W's and University Admissions

There seems to be a myth passed around by students that a W on your transcript will keep you from being admitted to a university. There might be some extreme cases in private or out-of-state universities in which a W negatively impacted a student's admissibility to that university. That could be attributed to the fact that some colleges and universities will indicate a W along with the grade that the student had earned at the time of withdrawal; in other words, if the student was making an F in the class and withdrew from it, the student's transcript indicated WF for the course, meaning that the student was failing at the time of withdrawal.

DVC, however, does not follow this practice. If you withdraw from a course, your transcript will merely indicate W. And, according to UC officers at a recent UC counselors conference, the UC system will disregard a W on an applicant's transcript. Therefore, W's have no impact on your transfer GPA. However, having a great number of W's on your transcript might have a negative impact on your admissibility, as admissions officers might consider a large number of W's as an indication that you do not complete what you begin. If you have extenuating circumstances, such as an illness, a disability, or other reasons for frequent withdrawals from courses, use the "Additional Comments" section of your university applications to explain why you have a large number of W's. Accentuate the positive: Point out that you have overcome your challenges to be successful in other courses, and that you didn't let your circumstances impede your progress toward your academic goal.

One final point to remember: F-1 international students are expected to complete a minimum of 12 semester units each fall and spring in order to stay in legal immigration status. PLEASE talk to an international student advisor in the ISAS office before you withdraw from any courses.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Financial Assistance for International Students

In these tough economic times, finding the money for college can be a challenge, especially for international students, as many financial aid programs are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, there are some private sources of funding out there; finding them, however, is another story. Here are a few websites that might help you begin the arduous task of finding finances for your college education in the U.S.:
1. EduPASS is a non-profit organization with some useful tools and links on its website for researching money for college in the U.S. [].
2. The International Education Financial Aid website [] has a fairly comprehensive database of financial aid available for international students. Read all of the information carefully; some of the programs are campus-specific.
3. Peterson's, a reputable publisher of college guides, has information about financial assistance on their website []. Read carefully; some of the programs described might not be available for international students, but some will be.
You can find other websites by simply entering "international student scholarships" in a search engine.

Another source of information might be the embassy or consulate of your home country, as the government of your country might have financial aid available for its citizens who are studying in other countries. Also, if either or both of your parents work for companies, ask them to check with the Human Resources office of their employer to see whether or not the company provides scholarships or loans for the dependents of its employees.

As you research, keep in mind that even U.S. citizens and permanent residents have difficulty financing their college education. But, where there's a will, there's a way! It might take longer than you'd like, and you might have to choose a university that's not your first...or even your second or third...choice, but you CAN find an affordable option eventually.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Summer and Fall Registration Dates Available

Log-in to WebAdvisor, click on "Current Students," and under the "Registration" section, click on the link that states "My Priority Registration Dates" to find out when you can register for summer and fall terms. If you need to see me before you register, make an appointment now. Available slots are filling up fast, and remember that I am not here in the summer. There will, however, be counselors available to see you.

Your registration date and time is based on the number of units you have completed, and registration dates cannot be changed. Log-in just as soon as you are able to register for the classes you want. If they are filled already, remember that you can go to the class on the first day and ask the instructor if you can take the class. If the instructor consents, s/he will give you the add code, and you can add the class using a Schedule Request Form, available in the Admissions and Records office.

Remember: The early bird gets the, class!

Monday, March 30, 2009

What is a "good" school?

So many international students want me to tell them whether or not a school is "good." Very often, I will recommend a school, and the student asks me, "But is that a good school?" Well, I wouldn't recommend it if it weren't good, would I? But I think what students really want to know is, "Will people in my country recognize the name of that school when I return to look for a job?" For that answer, you will have to ask employers in your country, since I am not from your country and do not know which schools they may or may not be familiar with here in the U.S. I can, however, give you some information that might help you decide for yourself whether or not a school you are considering attending is "good."

First of all, you should consider whether or not the institution is regionally accredited. DVC, all CSU's and UC's, and most private institutions in California are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Every region in the U.S. has a regional accrediting commission that examines schools to determine whether or not the school is continuing to meet the high standards set by the accrediting commission. It is important that you attend a regionally-accredited institution so that your units will more easily transfer.

Second, see if the program you want to study at that institution has special accreditation. There are national and international professional accrediting agencies that give their stamp of approval to programs that meet their standards. This type of accreditation is important, especially if you plan to seek a license of some sort related to your program of study. Some professional accreditation programs include:
1. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or AACSB []
2. For engineering programs, ABET, Inc. []
3. The National Architectural Accrediting Board, or NAAB []
4. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design []

These are just a few examples of professional accrediting agencies. Visit the Career and Employment Services office for more information about professional accrediting agencies, or come see me in the Counseling Center if your program is not business, engineering, architecture, art, or design, and we'll see what we can find out together.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome to the DVC International Counselor's Blog!

Hello, DVC international students! I've created this blog as a way to get academic planning information to you on a regular basis. I'll blog about upcoming deadlines, changes in academic policies and requirements, planning practices you should be performing, and more. Here are some things for you to consider:
1. If you will complete the requirements for an AA degree, the deadline for petitioning for the degree is March 31. Visit the A&R office in the Student Services Building to get and submit the form, or click this link:
2. The deadline to drop a full-term course is April 24. Remember you will receive a W for the course (W's are not bad; they do not affect your GPA, and in most cases, they will not affect your admissibility for a university). Be cautioned: F-1 international students have to maintain full-time enrollment each semester. If you drop a course and it causes you to be enrolled in less than 12 units, you will be out of status! Use the Schedule Request Form, available in the A&R office, or here:
3. The summer and fall 2009 schedules are now online: Now is the time to make a counseling appointment for academic planning for those terms. If you wait too late, there might be no more appointments available. Call 925-685-1230, extension 2276 to make an appointment.

Thanks for reading, and check back daily for updates!