Selective colleges seek diverse transfers

Selective colleges and universities are pursuing community college achievers who can provide racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Sichen Hernandez-Martinez is the type of undergraduate who is increasingly in demand at four-year colleges: She had been a community college honors student, a member of campus government and was active in school clubs.

After three years at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, she was admitted to USC, UC Riverside and Cal State San Bernardino. She accepted a scholarship to Pomona College, a selective, private school in Claremont, which she entered as a junior this year.

. . . “Our college is always interested in enrolling a diverse population of students that includes race and ethnicity but also socioeconomic background,” said Joel Hart, Pomona’s senior assistant dean of admissions. “Some students don’t have the same advantages as that of a significant portion of our campus, but they have overcome that and those experiences make them compelling applicants.”

Thirty-six percent of community college students are the first in their families to attend college, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. In California, Latinos, Asians, blacks and other underrepresented minorities made up more than 60 percent of students enrolled in the state’s 112 community colleges, reports the Times.

“Community college students are becoming a very respected commodity and that’s a shift from what we’ve seen in the past,” said Janet Marling, director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Georgia. “Not just four-year institutions, but competitive universities are seeing community colleges as a great source of students who can bring diversity.”

Whittier College, a private, liberal arts campus near Los Angeles recruits about 15 percent of its students from such two-year schools as Pasadena City College, Mount San Antonio College in Walnut and Whittier’s Rio Hondo College. Starting in 2015, Whittier will help prepare about 300 two-year graduates annually to transfer to elite universities across the country.

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