AA/S-Ts are gateways to a bachelor’s degree at a CSU.
By Ricardo Varela, Editor-in-chief
As graduating students prepare for the commencement ceremony June 7 and life after Valley College, the school continues to ready the next batch of certificate, transfer and associate students. Valley students looking to transfer to a California State University can guarantee their admission into the CSU system by meeting the requirements of an associate degree for transfer or AA-T.
Associate degrees and associate degrees for transfer share many of the same requirements, but a degree for transfer guarantees students admission into the CSU system under a similar discipline as a junior. Admission into a specific academic field or campus is not guaranteed, but this benefit does not apply to regular associate degrees.
Valley’s ever-changing student body is reflected in what degrees students are graduating with. Education, specifically child development and pre-school education, is the most popular field to earn an associate degree in. Many students are taking advantage of Valley’s unique pre-K and infant care programs on campus to make their certifications unique or to add value to their skill set. Distance and cost tend to be a major concern for Valley’s 19,000 mostly-local students. As such, the overwhelming majority of students attempt transferring to a CSU campus, according to statistics from Valley’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness. California State University Northridge is a popular choice, for its low cost, comparatively, its close proximity and travel time.
“The people that I know seem to be going to CSUN,” Adan Avilla-Quinonez, a sociology major and future transfer student, said. “It seems like everybody is accepted there.”
A key component of earning these degrees familiar to most students is completion of the IGETC for CSU pattern or the CSU GE Breadth. The CSU GE Breadth was completed by 301 Valley students in 2015, the highest rate of completion of all culmination and certification routes. Associate for transfer degrees also require a minimum 2.0 GPA and the completion of at least 12 units in residence at Valley. Major-specific details vary and are listed in the catalog.
Valley offers 22 associate for transfer degrees in varied academic disciplines such as administration of justice, early childhood education and mathematics. A full list is available in Valley’s catalog, as well as recently-added ones in an adjacent addendum. Both of these can be found on the college’s website on the schedule and catalog page.
The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (Senate Bill 1440), signed into law on Sep. 29, 2010, created associate degrees for transfer. Section 1 of the bill states their purpose as: “To meet workforce demands in a cost-effective way, incentivizing students to earn an associate degree while preparing for transfer to a four-year college or university, and recognizing that they have completed a transfer preparation course pattern, provides students encouragement and support to complete their overall educational pursuits.”
Students should make an appointment in advance for an in-depth 30 minute counseling session in the Student Services Annex. The Counseling Department staff are available to help students construct a timely degree-earning plan, assist in the transfer and graduation process and get students ready for the change to a four-year university.
“I feel like it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s on the student, the quality of their education,” Avilla-Quinonez said. “I could be going to CSUN, I could be going to USC, the only [difference] is the diploma with a stamp of CSUN or USC. As long as you get that college education, it’s all good.”