El Camino Offers Alternative Path to UC and Cal State Admissions

Andrew Carpenter, Reporter

“One in four or five seniors in the PVPUSD will begin their higher education at a California community college with the opportunity for guaranteed transfer to most UCs and Cal States,” College and Career Center counselors Joanne Lewis and Teresa Hoffman said.

The Honors Transfer Program at El Camino College is designed to prepare motivated and intelligent students to transfer successfully to a university. 

According to El Camino’s website, to apply to the program a student’s GPA must be above a 3.1 and they must fulfill certain requirements as part of the program such as attending four workshops, taking five honors courses in different subjects and making two counselor appointments.

Biology and environmental science teacher Marie Kuhn has both a son and daughter that were in the El Camino Honors Program and are both graduating from UCLA in June. 

“Being in the Honors Program makes you a stronger candidate when applying to UCLA,” Kuhn said. “My kids had a seamless and successful experience in the Honors and TAP(Transfer Alliance Program) programs.”

PVHS Class of 2020 graduate  Ben Nader is currently at El Camino and is planning on transferring to UCLA. 

“I chose to go to El Camino because I didn’t get to where I really wanted to go,” Nader said. “The process of transferring [from] El Camino to UCLA is not hard. [There are] many meetings about it. The classes needed to take in order to be able to transfer are very easy. I personally thought it was much easier than high school.”

Lewis encourages students to attend a community college like El Camino tuition free for the first two years. 

“The Honors Transfer Program at El Camino, for instance, offers motivated students increased consideration and chances of being accepted to UCLA, Berkeley and guaranteed transfer agreements with other UCs, Cal States, as well as Loyola Marymount University,” Lewis said. 

“There are many students with great GPAs, extracurriculars, etc. who are certainly competitive candidates for UC Santa Barbara or UC Davis but are not admitted to those universities. 

“Every year many students end up deciding that they’d rather complete the Honors Transfer Program with a guarantee to either of those universities and receive a UC degree from their dream college at one half the cost. The number is growing because it is the best value out there.”

Current PVHS senior Farinaz Osati will be attending El Camino as part of the Honors Program and is planning to transfer to a UC school after two years. She chose this program because she felt that it was her best chance of getting into a more competitive UC school and it was a very financially smart option. However, Osati says, there are some drawbacks to the program that students should also consider.

“I think one of the cons of going this path is that you might miss many social opportunities and meeting other freshmen,” Osati said. 

Since class sizes are small and honors students get priority registration for classes, the honors program is something Sea Kings consider when choosing where to go for college.