The last two and a half years I have spent studying at Victor Valley College went by quick. My work here at VVC is coming to an end and I will be transferring to Cal State Fullerton in the fall. VVC was a great starting point for me to accomplish my goals. Like so many students who are just starting out in school, I was in an unfamiliar place and feeling unsure.
Over time, I found myself learning along the way, whether it was by word of mouth or by chance. More often than not, it was something I wish I had known about sooner, because it could have benefited me as a student. Here are some of the resources offered at VVC that have helped so many students get through school, that may be able to help you too.
1. Be proactive and meet with a college counselor- When starting college, we usually start off meeting with a counselor to discuss our educational goals. Like many students who start college, we have an idea of what we want, but have very little clue where to begin. Ask about resources that are available to students. The information is out there, but it’s not always talked about. Meet with a counselor and meet with them frequently. Share your goals with your counselor. Don’t worry if your plans and goals change along the way, that’s totally normal. Counselors can set you up with an educational plan that is meant to help you stay on track. It might also help if you meet with the same counselor. I didn’t, and it’s completely fine if you don’t either, but it might help you keep a straight focus and feel like everyone is on the same page. Ask questions! And do your research!
2. Use a certification and transfer guide- Why was this not handed to me?
It’s called the IGETC which stands for Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) and is for students who plan to transfer . Also, the California State University General Education (CSUGE) is a guide for students who wish to pursue a general education certificate. In all fairness, it’s probably because I didn’t visit a counselor often enough. Lucky for me, a fellow student told me about it, but by that time, I had already been in school for almost a year. Having that guide could have saved me from wandering around aimlessly wondering which class I needed to take next or if I am even taking the right classes. In addition to meeting with your counselor, these guides can help ensure that you take the classes required for your general education and that you waste no time taking unnecessary classes. Plus, it gives you an idea of all the classes offered at the college, this way you can at least choose some of the classes that interest you most.
3. Take advantage of free tutoring!
Whether it’s math, science, communication, or writing, these centers offer learning and working environments for students. In the Math Success Center, located in the ATC, building 21, room 146, tutors are available to help students work through some of those gruesome math problems. Students can work on homework, study, or get help on any math problem from the tutors. For science, students can get help with biology and chemistry classes in the Tutoring and Academic Support Center located in room 170 in the ATC, building 21. In the Communications Center, students can get one on one tutoring to help students prepare and practice for presentations, speeches, and public speaking. Students can work on interpersonal, intercultural, leadership skills and more! Lastly, the center offers help for ESL and foreign language tutoring. The Writing Center is a great space to work on writing assignments. It is also located in the ATC, building 21, room 177. As a student, I personally love writing and working on my papers in the Writing Center. I love it because it’s quiet, so I can focus on my writing, and if I have any questions about my paper, I can get some quick help from one of the tutors. Whether you are at the beginning of your writing assignment and don’t know where or how to start, or you’d like someone to take a look over your final draft, the tutors can help at any point of the writing process! They also offer online tutoring. Their goal at the Writing Center is to help students by providing feedback and suggestions so that students can improve their own writing skills. If there is a subject that is not offered on campus, students are still able to receive tutoring through NetTutor, which is an online tutoring service that offers help for students in over 150 subjects . If you haven’t already, check these centers out! http://www.vvc.edu/tutoring-services/
3. Look into Veterans services- If you yourself are active military, a veteran, or a dependent of one, check them out! Obviously, this one does not apply to all students, but being the daughter of a veteran, this resource is definitely one that I wish I had known about sooner and had taken advantage of. At the Veterans Center, students get the benefit of quicker academic counseling, a small library with textbook loans, help filling out forms, free copying and printing, and my personal favorite, a lounge with complimentary drinks and snacks! They also help students with employment, financial aid, and scholarship information. http://www.vvc.edu/veterans/
4. Check out the student services and programs offered- There are quite a few services and programs on campus that are intended to help students succeed. These programs are for students who qualify and are meant to help alleviate some of the common stressors that students experience so that they can focus on their studies and accomplish their goals as best as possible.
Here is a brief description of some of the services and programs available at VVC:
ACCESS: Offers services and assistance to individuals with communicative, developmental, learning, psychological, physical, visual, and/or hearing disabilities. http://www.vvc.edu/offices/disabled_student_program_services/
E.O.P.S./C.A.R.E.: Both of these programs offer aid to students that are educationally or financially disadvantaged. The Extended Opportunities Program and Services (E.O.P.S.) provides services such as priority registration, a book program, cap and gown fees, and more. The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (C.A.R.E.) program is for students that are qualifying single parents and active in the E.O.P.S. program. This program offers services such as book and/or supply vouchers, food and/or gas cards, and parking vouchers. http://www.vvc.edu/offices/eops_and_care/
Student Employment/Federal Work Study: The student employment center is a great resource for students seeking work either on or off campus. Student employment services include employment resources, job referrals, interview techniques, and resume building. Students are given the opportunity to gain work experience and marketable skills in their field of study. http://www.vvc.edu/offices/student-emp/
* Students who qualify for financial aid can (and probably should) apply for the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. As part of the FWS program, a student’s employment is federally funded. Students can gain access to available job postings on or off campus. Students can apply for positions they are interested in and job applications will be forwarded to the department supervisor.
Those are just some of the resources available to students. Here is a link to all student services and programs offered at VVC. https://www.vvc.edu/offices/student_services/
5. Earn college credit while working through Cooperative Education- This one is great. Cooperative Work Experience Education (co-op) is a program that allows students to earn transferable college credit through a paid or unpaid/volunteer work experience. I don’t think I would have ever known about this if my professor had not approached me about it, so I got lucky. I know there are a ton of students that would be interested in the co-op program. Gaining work experience while earning college credit just seems like a total win-win situation. Even if it is volunteer work, I can’t help but think how good that will look on college applications and future resumes. http://www.vvc.edu/offices/coopedu/whatis.shtml
6. Apply for scholarships! I saved the best for last. Free money for college! Need I say more?
Believe it or not, it was not until my last semester at VVC that I found out students attending community college can apply for scholarships, and by that point, it was too late for me. Definitely one of those “wish I had known sooner” moments. Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve heard of people earning scholarships, but I just always assumed scholarships were for major colleges and universities. I was wrong. There are all different kinds of scholarships out there for students attending college, period. I’ve included two links to help you get started. http://www.vvc.edu/offices/financial-aid/ http://www.vvc.edu/offices/financial-aid/scholarship.shtml
The time I’ve spent here flew by. I’ll admit, I did stay one semester longer than I needed to, which is not too bad, but by being proactive, using the IGETC sooner, and visiting more often with a counselor, I probably would have been able to avoid that. I may have even had some scholarship money in my pocket had I done a little more research.
I love this school. It’s been good to me. I have been inspired and taught here, and it has given me everything I needed to succeed and then some. This little community college has been my foundation and first stepping stone to help me reach my educational goals. Now, I get to move forward with more focus, knowledge, and confidence in myself as a student. The resources and tools that have helped me and so many other students find success at VVC are all available to you in finding your success as well.