College classes open doors to exploring interests

What if you could get a head start on earning college credits before even starting your first year? In reality, the option to take a community college class is available to all San Marin students, and whether or not they’ll take advantage of the opportunity is up to them. Many students have enrolled in college classes and would recommend doing so for multiple reasons.

“I recommend taking community college classes because it gives you opportunities to learn what you’re interested in.”

– Jim Hu

Many students take community college classes to make them stand out in college applications. The classes are treated as AP classes in the gradebook, giving students the ability to receive a grade boost. A wider variety of classes are offered to high school students at local colleges than at San Marin, which gives students opportunities to take classes that they are passionate about.

“I recommend taking community college classes because it gives you opportunities to learn what you’re interested in,” counselor Jim Hu said. “San Marin can’t offer everything, so it’s a great resource.”

Hu explains how, in the application process, colleges like to see students showing that they are doing something about their interests.

Junior Manvitha Kancharla plans to take psychology at College of Marin (COM) this summer. She hopes it will help her prepare for her future career and plans. Kancharla wants to put the credit earned by taking this class on her college applications, to demonstrate that she challenges herself academically outside of school.

“I want to be a doctor, and by taking a psychology class at the community college, it can show that I truly am interested in things in the medical field,” Kancharla said.

A lot of students are hesitant in deciding to take a community college class because they fear a heavy workload. Senior Katie Cook was enrolled in an in-person pre-calculus class at COM during her first semester of senior year. She described the workload as harder than APclasses.

“My teacher told our class that we needed to be spending at least 10 hours a week outside of class working on homework and practice problems in order to succeed,” Cook said.

She expected this to be an exaggeration, but Cook ended up spending over 10 hours a week on her work. While this was Cook’s experience, all classes are different.

Sophomore Jessica Rolle has taken five college classes and is currently taking an additional three. Her goal is to fulfill the requirements for her first two years of college with these courses before graduating high school. Rolle shares her experience with the college class workloads.

“I’d say the amount of ‘busy work’ is extremely low,” Rolle said. “In college classes it is up to you to get a good grade and there’s no real hand holding.”

Rolle prefers this way of learning. She has had a mix of in-person and asynchronous classes.

“I think asynchronous works better for me because it allows me to do things on my own time, but I do find in-person classes more enjoyable,” Rolle said.

Since finding the time for a class outside of a high school schedule can be challenging, students have taken advantage of college classes offered during the summer.

“I plan on taking it over the summer,” Kancharla said. “I’ll have more time, and I can balance it out more, rather than adding another class during the school year.”

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