CAMPUS: The SCHS community reflects on college admission requirements

As students navigate through their four years of high school, they simultaneously plan for the years that follow. Post high school plans can look vastly different for numerous students, which is why UC and CSU requirements differ from those of high school graduation requirements, according to counselor Amoreena Fidani.

“Ideally, it would be helpful to have both requirements completely aligned, but there is a reason as to why they are not,” Fidani said. “We have students of all different abilities, interests and goals so we want to make sure that we get students to their diploma as well.”

Over the past few years, the CSU and UC systems have undergone an array of changes, one of them being the elimination of ACT and SAT scores for admission. Science and AVID teacher Risha Shah believes this change can impact some positively and others negatively based on their skill sets.

“It can get tricky when you can have a student who is a really good standardized test taker but might not get the best grades and vice versa,” Shah said. “The way they changed, it makes it very dependent on one’s GPA, but I do see the UCs and CSUs bridging back some form of standardized testing.”

When scheduling for classes, students in AVID or the SLI program tend to find difficulty in fulfilling practical or fine art requirements due to the additional classes they take, according to Findani. Shah, too, noted this conflict.

“When they join the AVID program, they are pretty aware that they are taking this class as an extra class, but it is also a class that provides more resources,” Shah said. “However, there is a struggle when it comes to scheduling. For example, if someone failed a class and they needed to retake it, they’d have to figure out how they’d schedule that class along with their other classes.”

Leadership is also a class that counts for elective credit yet does not fulfill an art credit. Freshman secretary Grace Muresan believes this should change due to the work Leadership produces.

“I would like for Leadership to count for an art requirement,” Muresan said. “We do a lot of art in that class. For example, at homecoming, the painting for the float was done at my house, and we put hours into the posters. Not just a couple times a year but continuously.”

Junior creative media representative Kaitlyn Nguyen agrees due to the skills that Leadership students develop in the class.

“I feel like it should count as a practical art credit, or at least more than just a college preparatory elective credit. Especially as a creative media representative, I will always be constantly working on decorations for rallies and backdrops,” Nguyen said. “Of course, it’s not like a class like construction, but I think that it should still count for practical art because you develop a lot of skills.”

Nguyen, however, was able to fulfill most of her requirements as an underclassman, making her schedule clearer. She noted the difficulties her peers face when trying to create their schedules.

“In my freshman year, I knocked out all my visual and practical art requirements because I took seven classes, so that really cleared up my schedule for sophomore, junior and senior year. I also took history and chemistry over the summer at Mission, which really allowed me to clear up my schedule,” Nguyen said. “However, if I didn’t, then it would have been a lot harder for me to create my schedule being in both STEM and Leadership.”

Fidani noted the issue yet recognized the criteria as to why certain classes do not meet this requirement.

“If a class has a career technical bend to it, they count for practical art credits as they meet certain requirements,” Fidani said. “I have looked into that for my students and have talked to admin to see if we can change that for certain classes, but it tends to not get approved.”

As students work towards meeting their requirements, Fidani appreciates the recent addition of Data Science as it allowed students to fulfill their math while simultaneously exploring topics pertinent to their career paths.

“I think we are constantly looking at ways to match what will help students and their careers in the future in addition to being current to what is applicable to more careers,” Fidani said. “It gets tricky because the UCs and CSUs are such big gateholders, so whatever we pursue is something that we want to be aligned with what they would accept or they would honor.”

Shah, however, believes the school can do more to aid students on their way to college. She views community college courses as an asset to the transition to college.

“I would like for our school to have more community college classes available,” Shah said. “We do have a few from Mission College, but it would be nice to bring in some more of those classes that students can take after school or over the summer just because getting the college experience early on, especially for AVID students, is really important because that transition from highschool to college is huge.”

Fidani wants students to be able to explore all opportunities presented to them and views the A-G system, the set of requirements UCs and CSUs use for admission, as a mechanism to broaden all possibilities for students.

“When it comes to A-G requirements, it becomes a sticky subject because we don’t want to assume that all students would work towards the same careers and goals. At the same time, by getting more students A-G eligible, it really unlocks more opportunities for them, so our goal is to have students have as many options available to them after graduation,” Fidani said. “Sometimes we get flack for pushing students towards A-G, but they don’t know what they want right now, so we really want to make sure that every opportunity is available to them.”