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.