Pierce College District Running Start Tips, Reminders and Helpful Hints for RS Students
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Transferring From a Running Start Student’s Perspective

January 12

The Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Transferring
by Nataly

First off, transferring really isn’t as scary as I thought it would be, but it can be stressful.

When you are choosing and applying to universities, don’t limit yourself! I applied to six different in state universities and was accepted to all of them. This gave me the option to decide where I really wanted to go. If you only apply to one school, then you might be selling yourself short on other possibilities. The worst they can say is no and your life isn’t over if they do. So just apply to as many as you can. BUT no matter what, make sure you chose a university YOU want to go to. There are plenty of diverse schools in this state that you can choose from. Look into what feels comfortable to you. Think about these things:

How is the environment?

Could I see myself living here?

Do they offer the program or major I want to pursue?

If you need to factor in finances then think about that too. I thought I wanted to go to one university that I lived by my entire life, then the last minute I decided to attend a different university that felt more like home and gave me more options for my education.

Coming in with Running Start credits gave me many advantages at the university. I was able to register early, and had a better chance of getting the classes I wanted. The down side is you have to know what you want to major in right when you go in (that is if you graduated from the running start program with your associates degree). If you can apply to your major at the same time that you apply to the school then you will be off to a great start. If not, then you might have to wait an extra year to make the deadline or take classes for a back up major/minor. One good thing to keep in mind is always having a back up major. Make sure it is something you will be interested in and something you would want to pursue. The more back up majors you have, the more prepared you will be. I want to major in business but still need to finish up prerequisites.  I found that I needed to take microeconomics before taking macroeconomics for my program. For other majors, look into what classes have prerequisites that need to be taken first at the university so you can be right on track when you transfer.

When you do register for classes at the university, make sure you have read through both the schedule of classes offered that quarter/semester, and you have read through the course catalog. The course catalog will give you a description of what the class is about and sometimes it tells you what other quarters/semesters that class is offered. This is nice to know incase you have other classes you need to take first. The catalog is just one extra tool to help you organize yourself when you are picking out classes.

Once at the university you will be tempted to hang out with the people at your dorm or within your living space. There is nothing wrong with making friends, but make sure you know when to say no to people when you have to do homework or study for an exam. Become friends with the people in your classes in case you miss a day and need notes. I suggest that during the week you focus on classes and homework, and try to get it done before the weekend. That way you can be free from homework and enjoy the weekend with your new friends.

Adjusting to the dorm life might be tough for some of you. Just give it time, do some of the same things you did at home, and make sure you remember to get some sleep. It is okay to call or text your parents. You will find out that there are students like you who also miss home and their families. You will have something in common to talk about with them!

For some the university workload might be really easy, for others, it can be hard and stressful. I can’t say this enough but make sure you GO TO CLASS. You won’t have your mom and dad to wake you up to remind you to go. You are on your own.

You will have advisors at your university just like you did at Pierce. Make sure you go talk to them. They can give you great insight on different options you could have for classes or how to get into a major, or give you information you need to find out about different things.

One way to keep in touch with advisors, professors, TA’s and other people on campus is through email. Make sure to check your email everyday! In the morning and at night! Professors will send crucial information via email. Whether they are telling you class is cancelled or they are giving you insight about an assignment that is due, or even assigning you more homework, it is all worth looking at!

Lastly, I want to leave you with something I hope you will always keep in mind. Don’t ever give up and don’t ever get discouraged. You are there to learn and better yourself. Take time to worry about yourself everyday. Take 5 minutes of quiet time to collect your thoughts. If you don’t do so well the first quarter/semester, remember that it was only your first! You can do better the next time. The first quarter/semester is all about adjusting to your new life. It really is trial and error at this point in time. Upperclassmen can give you advice on classes to take, things to get involved in, cool hang out spots, but it is up to you to figure out what advice you are going to take and what you want to discover on your own. Ask for help when you need help and remember you aren’t the only one going through the problems you have.

The effort you put forth at the university will show up in your grades, your experiences, the amount of friends you have, and your ability to be successful.

Nataly is a former Running Start student.  She graduated from Pierce College in 2010 and is now a junior at the University of Washington.

Q & A with Fort Steilacoom Running Start Student Ambassadors

March 8

In Winter of 2010, the Fort Steilacoom campus hired Student Ambassadors to work in the Welcome Center.  The ambassadors work on new student orientations, give campus tours, staff the Student Information Station at the Welcome Center, and help new and current students navigate their way through Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.  Three of the ambassadors – Brenda Fernandez, Nataly Brockwell, and Hana Page – are Running Start students.  I asked them if they would be willing to share their experiences and advice with other Running Start students and they were happy to oblige.  See their answers below.

Why did you decide to become a Running Start student?

Brenda – Some of the main reasons I decided to become a Running Start student were because I wanted to better my education, save two years worth of schooling and money and graduate with a degree. In addition, I wanted to try a new school environment because in high school one can tend to get very distracted away from academics.

Hana – I chose to participate in the Running Start program because I enjoy learning and was looking for a challenge. I was excited to go on a college campus and actually take challenging courses taught by dedicated instructors.

Nataly – I decided to do Running Start because I knew it would benefit me in the future. I knew if I worked hard enough, that I could finish off 2 years of college which would be completely paid for and potentially achieve in getting my Associates degree by the time I graduated high school with my diploma. Plus at the time, Pierce had a lot more opportunities for me as a student than my high school does.

What have you enjoyed most about the Running Start program?

Brenda -  What I have enjoyed the most from the Running start program would have to be that you get to pick and choose what classes you want to take that fall under your degree plan and that you get to pick from the class times available in order to fit your schedule.

Hana – I enjoy everything about the Running Start program, from the challenging courses to meeting new people just as dedicated about their education as I am. Most importantly, I enjoy participating in the Running Start program because I am given countless opportunities to fulfill my needs, such as through the various courses offered at Pierce College.

Nataly – I enjoyed every class that I have taken and all of the people I have met. The college environment is SO different from high school, but it is really nice. People here at the college actually care about their education and want to be here. Things are taken more seriously here especially because a majority of the students are paying for their education.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before joining the program?

Brenda – No, there really isn’t anything more I would have wanted to know, because I was well informed about everything involved with the program.

Hana – Most of the information Running Start students need to know is covered in the Running Start Orientation. Therefore, to be successful, students need to make sure they truly understood what is covered in the orientation.

Nataly – I wish someone would have told me about the parking and about the stairs. A lot of the classes are offered at the same time during the day. With a large number of students attending Pierce and a limited amount of parking available it can be really hard and stressful to find a parking spot. Many students and staff have learned the hard way to come early for class just to find a parking spot. Fort Steilacoom campus has TONS of stairs. I personally become out of breath trying to get from one class to another just from the stairs.

Do you have any advice for new students enrolling in the program?

Brenda – My advice to everyone who plans on joining the Running Start program, is to prepare yourself to work hard in order to be successful and don’t ever think you can’t do it.

Hana – The best advice for new Running Start students is to do your best in your classes by completing all of your assignments, attending class, and participating in class.

Additionally, it is important to be prompt in scheduling your advising appointments and registering for your courses so you can take the courses that you need or want to take.

Nataly – My advice would be to actually attend class, to do your homework, and to get involved. I know many students who have not been successful just because they did not attend class or because they did not do their work. They are now having to take classes over or they are completely out of the program. Participating in activities, clubs, sports or anything else available on campus will give you the best college experience and help you become successful.

Is there anything you have struggled with as a Running Start student?

Brenda – The only thing I have struggled with is knowing how to study proficiently, but I attended a Student Workshop that they have here which helped me to improve my studying skills.

Hana – I have not struggled much during my first quarter because I was aware of the resources that Pierce College offers, such as the Tutoring Center, the Library, or instructors’ office hours. Therefore, a key to success at Pierce College is to know the resource available.

Nataly – I have struggled to keep a good balance between focusing on school and having a life. So far I have been doing pretty good at that. I strive to get A’s in all my classes. In order to do so I have put many many hours into studying. My friends have come to terms with me about my schedule because they know that I value my education greatly. Them doing this helps me keep the balance.