Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone students ponder college options

Annual transfer day allows four-year schools to court young learners

By Todd R. Brown, Staff writer.

Thursday, September 20, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

Fremont—Although Rick Chin hopes to run a restaurant or hotel after transferring from Ohlone College to a four-year degree program, he hasn't ruled out a career in rock'n' roll.

The 20-year-old Fremont resident said he's taking time to explore his career options, from his current major in business administration to the jazz-rock combo class the trombone player took.

"I switched majors from chemistry," he said. "You just look at things you want to try out."

Chin was among more than 500 students who turned out for Ohlone's annual transfer day this week at the Fremont campus. About 40 schools courted the community college's young minds, from as near as California State University, East Bay, in Hayward to as far away as Montana Tech.

Tony Campeau, director of admissions for the science and engineering school in Butte, Mont., said students from the Bay Area head for the mountains to get degrees that will equip them for Silicon Valley careers.

"They like the small school, they like the smaller class sizes," Campeau said of his 2,500-strong student body. "But they don't like the idea of snow."

David Cacacho graduated last year from Ohlone with a certificate in natural sciences. He came to transfer day to look beyond the bachelor's degree he could get at Cal State East Bay, where he's been accepted into the health science program, and toward master's programs.

He spent 13 years as an Army MP, serving in Iraq, Somalia and other flashpoints. He saw action in Haiti when former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was evacuated by U.S. forces.

"I've been trying to go back to school forever," the 33-year-old Fremont resident said, noting that he started at Ohlone and ultimately returned after taking classes at several other junior colleges. "It's home, it's nearby."

Surbhi Singh is at the start of her higher education climb. The 18-year-old Fremont resident came to Ohlone from Kennedy High School and gathered information Tuesday on nursing programs at the University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University.

"I want to just be with people, help them," Singh said with a backpack slung over one shoulder and gleaming braces on her teeth.

On the other side of the tables, Grace Hartman, undergraduate admissions counselor at Notre Dame deNamur University in Belmont, fielded questions from students about business and liberal studies classes at the Catholic institution.

Also, she said, "They want to know where Belmont is."

The Peninsula resident said she had little problem getting across the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge despite the three-truck crash that shut westbound traffic for hours on transfer day. Once she made it to the East Bay, though, it was slow going as cars were diverted to the Dumbarton Bridge.

Diane Berkland, an Ohlone counselor and coordinator of the college's transfer center, said some school reps just didn't make it because of the traffic tie-up, while others were hours behind schedule. She said the student turnout was about normal.

The timing of transfer day dovetails with fall priority admission deadlines for the California State University system—Oct. 1 through Nov. 30—and the University of California system—Nov. 1 through 30.

The transfer center also plans workshops on guaranteed admission to UC Davis, San Jose State University, Cal State East Bay and other schools from

1 to 2 p.m. today and next Wednesday, with more workshops through December.

As the information fair wound down, Chin said he was pondering information from UC Irvine and Golden Gate University, among other schools.

"There's a lot of paths you can take in life," he said. "You've got to choose."

On the Web: Ohlone College Transfer Center, http://www.ohlone.edu/go/transfercalendar.

Staff writer Todd R. Brown covers Newark, Ohlone College and ethnic community issues. Reach him at 510-353-7004 or todd.brown@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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