TAP enrolls community college students

Tamonda Griffiths News Writer

According to the CSCU website, the TAP program allows students attending one of the dozen community colleges in the CSCU system, to achieve a 60-credit associate’s degree, or transfer tickets, in one of 22 specified disciplines. These credits will all transfer toward the completion of a 120-credit bachelor’s degree at one of the four CSCUs and Charter Oak College.

According to Steve Marcelynas, assistant director of academic and career advising, there are about 5,700 students currently enrolled in the TAP program, or Transfer and Articulation Policy, across all 12 Connecticut community colleges.

“These are students that want to transfer to a four-year institution,” said Marcelynas. “How can we best connect and make that process as smooth as possible?”

According to Marcelynas, in a December 2012 study, about 40 percent of the incoming class was transfer students. Of that 40 percent, said Marcelynas, 67 percent were from in-state community colleges.

Marcelynas said he visits Gateway Community College every Thursday to help students map out whether they should enroll in the TAP program or change majors altogether.

“I think who it benefits the most is the student that knows what they want from the time they start college,” said Therese Bennett, professor of mathematics and LEP co-director of advisement and policy issues.

Bennett said the TAP program gives students a “template to follow” and guarantees no loss of credits.

Bennett said it is hard to avoid the loss of credits whenever students change majors or transfer schools.

“For general transfer students, all the equivalencies are course by course,” said Bennett.

Sometimes students do not realize some of the courses they are transferring end up being credit for elective or cognate courses – which are still a part of a 120-credit bachelor’s degree, she said.

Bennett said as an LEP director she looks to see if the courses a student is trying to transfer “meets the same objectives” of the LEP requirements, while individual department chairs look at whether or not the course description and standards match up with what is offered at Southern.

Bennett said the university has tried to minimize this loss of credits by taking into account the course-by-course evaluations taken by students every semester.

As a faculty representative for TAP’s Framework Implementation and Review Committee, Bennett said she and the other 16 representatives from the other CSCU institutions work to educate their campus’ faculty and staff to ensure the pathway agreement is maintained and is mapped out in degree evaluations.

One such office that will work alongside Bennett, is the upcoming Office of Transfer Student Services. Frank LaDore, director of academic and career advising said one of the goals of the new transfer office is to recruit more transfer students and to retain them as well – as a way of becoming “more transfer-friendly.”

LaDore said when the unviersity switched from its original general education model to the current LEP program, transfer students were on their own to approach department chairs to compare and contrast the courses they took in community college.

He said now, with the new transfer office being implemented, students can get the help of advisers to streamline the process of transferring to the university.

“[It will be] just a place where transfer students can go for resources and advising for anything else,” said LaDore.

Photo Credit: Tamonda Griffiths

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