I'm missing a major pre-req for transfer to a UC, among other things.
March 5, 2013 7:46 PM   Subscribe

I'm missing a major pre-req for transfer to a UC, among other things.

I apologize in advance for my question being all over the page. I'm panicking and not thinking clearly, and could frankly use some help in pulling myself out of this state of mind. And if there ends up being no solution, at least somebody to listen to me. I am really alone. :(

I'm afraid the professor won't be adding me into a major pre-requisite course at a SoCal community college that I need to transfer to a UC. He currently over added by a few and I am up next. However, he says he's not adding anyone else unless somebody drops the class by this coming Thursday. I spoke to him about my transfer situation, but unfortunately it's so very common as the students behind me are on the same boat. He told me that he doesn't make the rules and to speak to the dean.

So last week I followed my classmate, who was ahead of me on the waitlist, to see the dean. He agreed to send the professor an e-mail to consider the few people BEFORE me. However, when it came my turn he said he didn't feel comfortable writing him another e-mail although it shouldn't matter because he technically can't force the professor to do anything and to come back today if I'm still not added into the class.

I spoke with him today. I was told that there was nothing he could do for me. I asked if he could write an e-mail like he did for the first few students and he flat-out refused. His reasoning was that he is his boss so even if he worded the e-mail as a favor, they are still obligated in order not to piss him off. Total contrary to what he told me last week!

Staying one more year wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for these circumstances:

As stated in my previous question, I left my parents' abusive household in August and have been fending for myself since the living arrangement with my aunt fell through. My job search hasn't come up with anything that I can live independently on, and I have no credit anyway so who would rent their property to me? Currently, my generous friend allowed me to crash on their couch with the understanding that I finish community college and transfer by June.

In addition, I have no health insurance and I was hoping to wing by through drugs and alcohol until I can get on university insurance that FAFSA would pay for (I get maximum aid). I'm struggling with severe depression.

I think my luck is beginning to run out. I'm getting more depressive and I may not have a place to stay after June. The dean knows my life circumstances. I may tell my professor this Thursday to get some sympathy, but he may still be stern on closing the class from waitlist.

What other options should I have? I believe other community colleges already started spring semester. I know a few universities that are finishing up their winter quarter. Maybe I can enroll at a local university like Cal Poly? Even then their classes may be impacted and there are no guarantees.
posted by squirtle to Education (21 answers total)
Response by poster: The pre-requisite class I'm speaking of is first semester organic chemistry. Admission letters come March and April, however missing a major pre-req would greatly hinder my chances of acceptance.

As for mental health care, I tried the health center at my community college. They don't have the resources to help me out. They gave me referrals which have led to dead ends.
posted by squirtle at 7:57 PM on March 5, 2013

Call the school you are hoping to enroll in and explain the circumstances to them (you don't need to go into the personal, just the academic). Ask if you can get conditional acceptance. You may be able to find a course this summer, or take an overload your first semester. Most admissions have dealt with the issue of missing prereqs and they can probably give you some options. Regarding your mental health, have you explored sliding scale therapists in your area? Also, perhaps you can seek out a free support group in the meantime?
Good luck. I'm glad you're sticking it out and doing what's best for yourself. It's a hard thing to do to just try, so by just trying, you're doing a great job. Keep it up :)
posted by greta simone at 8:09 PM on March 5, 2013

Would the professor agree to allow you to attend all classes and exams and wait for someone to drop? With the subject being Organic Chemistry, it is likely someone will drop and then maybe they can enroll you? Maybe the Dean who is otherwise unhelpful will help to facilitate a late add.
posted by quince at 8:14 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

A few thoughts:

- Is there another community (or other) college nearby that offers the pre-req? Perhaps you can take just the one class there.

- SHOW UP to every single class. The professor cannot make you leave. Just show up, and after a few sessions, it is very likely that others will leave and you can fit in. This is quite common.

- Be careful with drug use over and above the usual cautions. A drug conviction will prevent you from getting financial aid.

- Enlist other friendly staff at the university who may be able to help: mental health counseling, social workers, financial aid staff, academic advising... there are a lot of angles to this problem, and one supporter from any of these departments could smooth things for you with the dean.

YOU CAN DO IT! Keep going. It DOES get better.
posted by 3491again at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Admission letters come March and April, however missing a major pre-req would greatly hinder my chances of acceptance.

It is now March. Whatever decision has been made regarding your transfer admission has already been resolved, in all likelihood. All that remains is to receive the actual letter. Whether or not you take organic chemistry at this point will not affect the contents of the letter.

What may happen is that your admission could be conditional on fulfilling certain requirements. If that includes organic chemistry, just take it somewhere, anywhere over the summer.

In any case, your biggest priority is to seek treatment for your depression, which is going to be an impediment to proper planning about your future.
posted by deanc at 8:24 PM on March 5, 2013 [15 favorites]

As greta said, you should call or email admission advisors at the UC(s) you applied to. Ask if an online course would satisfy the requirement. UC Berkeley Extension offers this organic chem intro class online.

On the UC Update Transfer Application page, it says "If you applied for fall quarter/semester 2013, you must provide us with a list of courses completed in fall 2012 and associated grades, as well as your planned coursework through summer 2013." That indicates to me that summer school is an accepted option to finishing up coursework prior to enrollment (again, something to verify with an admissions counselor).

...on preview, pretty much what deanc said.
posted by tan_coul at 8:28 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

deanc has it.

Also, are you catastrophising? Did you apply to multiple UCs? Did all the ones you applied to require organic chemistry? I was having a poke round the admissions requirements and certainly some of them don't require it for all majors that require chemistry. Having taken it is good, obviously, but, like deanc already said, it's not likely going to make a difference now whether you get into the class or not.
posted by hoyland at 8:29 PM on March 5, 2013

Oh, and apply to Cal Poly! You never know if they have room until you apply. I'm sure you've looked at it, but just in case, here are spring chemistry classes (to see if any fit what you're looking for). And here is enrollment information.

Good luck! You can do it.
posted by tan_coul at 8:56 PM on March 5, 2013

Best answer: Get in touch with your CC's transfer counselor ASAP. If you don't have one assigned to you, make an appointment to see one. They can offer you a more streamlined course of action. It's a stressful situation, but you'll need to know as many details as possible in terms of how this may/may not affect any of your potential admissions. Depending on the UC, an uncompleted course could possibly result in rescinding of an admission. After speaking to your transfer counselor, see if you can get in touch with a transfer counselor at a specific UC school. Usually they have counselors and student advisors specifically for transfer students and transfer programs. You can get direct answers from them as well, with respect to your chem course.

Seconding what everyone has been saying regarding showing up to the chem course. Show up, every day. Be aggressive about this. People WILL drop out like flies.

And please, take care of your mental health. There are resources available for you. Hang in there. It really does get better. Deep breath-- you're going to get through this.
posted by chloe.gelsomino at 9:04 PM on March 5, 2013

Show up. It's a lot harder for a professor to kick you out in person. Think of how easy it is to dismiss someone in an email.
posted by scose at 9:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: They said due to the competitiveness of my major (biology), missing one pre-req could result in rescinding of admission. It has happened to a few friends of mine and people on College Confidential. Some UCs won't even let transfers make up a pre-req during the summer.

I will plead with my professor tomorrow and tell him my circumstances privately in his office. He may be more sympathetic to my situation when other desperate students aren't in earshot. I'll try asking for a late add when people drop.

I also thought about jumping over him and the dean, as their boss is incredibly nice. Although I'm not sure if she'd do anything for me. :(

Cal Poly might be my best shot afterwards. I can't find Organic Chemistry I though! Am I overlooking something?
posted by squirtle at 9:17 PM on March 5, 2013

No holds barred. Transferring from a CC is a zoo. Do what you need to do-- have a private conversation with your professor and tell him enough, not everything; talk to the dean; talk to their superior and see what remedy she can provide for you.

It's been years since I was in a CC, but people will drop. By the second week of the semester, it empties out significantly.

Also, just to check-- there's only one OChem course available at your CC?
posted by chloe.gelsomino at 9:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you have to transfer in as a biology major? Can you transfer in as a less competitive major, and then simply change majors once you're in school? College students change majors all the freakin' time, so it shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by Anonymous at 9:28 PM on March 5, 2013

Be careful mentioning the depression to your prof. For most profs, it's going to fall under too much information, plus he might worry that it'll affect your performance in the class. If you decide to say something about your situation, focus more on the independent/nowhere to live aspect of things. More importantly, if you have good grades, especially in similar classes, let the prof know. They're much more likely to let in an extra student who they think will do well (correct exams are way faster to grade).
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 10:35 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]

I had the credits to transfer from community college to UC in a liberal arts major, but not the science major I was considering as a double. My transfer advisor told me to just get in with the liberal arts major and add the science major when I got there.

If you want to take Organic Chemistry online through a California Community College, you might want to use the California Virtual Campus website; they have a comprehensive database of online courses in California colleges.
posted by aniola at 10:38 PM on March 5, 2013

I don't know if this applies to you, but it's worth considering: can you find a UC program to transfer into that doesn't require Organic Chem? Even if it's not your ideal program? Once you're in the university system it may be easier to find was to obtain/avoid pre-reqs.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 11:39 PM on March 5, 2013

If you haven't yet, you need to talk to a transfer center/IGETC advisor. Do this tomorrow!

Re: Therapy/Mental Health, if you are near Pomona or West Covina, then look up the East Valley Community Health Clinic
posted by dottiechang at 2:24 AM on March 6, 2013

Response by poster: I just got an e-mail at 3:00am for acceptance to UCI into my alternative major. It's psychology, my back up major in my backup school. At least I'm going somewhere?
posted by squirtle at 3:17 AM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]

Congratulations, you rock! If you get into the chemistry class that's great, if you don't then take it at UCI and switch majors there. Or stick with psychology.

And if you're planning on going to grad school, don't worry about the ranking of the university in which you complete your undergraduate degree. Trust me, I've been there. I went to a community college, then to a low level state college, then to an Ivy grad school for masters and doctorate.
posted by mareli at 5:47 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hey, I am glad you got into UCI! You can always change you major later! Its also a beautiful campus.
However, word of warning for the community college. Is Orgo a lab class? In Md, if you aren't enrolled in the exact section, you will not be allowed in lab, it is a safety violation. So just showing up will just get you kicked out.
posted by florencetnoa at 6:11 AM on March 6, 2013

Awesome! You have a plan. Once you get to UCI, nothing prevents you from doing coursework in both majors, or changing your major.

At least you're there, doing what needs to be done.

As for the chemistry class, you can take that at any Jr. College over the summer, or even at a Cal State school.

My transcripts are cobbled together with spit and bailing wire. I've been on more college campuses than dogs in bandanas.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:39 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

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