Three Strikes And Your Out

Completing a required course at Santa Monica College with a desired grade is like hitting a home run for any student. The blissful feeling of completing a course is always a welcoming one, but if the course is not completed satisfactorily the first time, then that’s one strike against the student. If it’s not completed the second time, that’s another unwanted strike and a third strike will set the student far back with their educational goals. All 112 California community colleges are mandated to comply with the newly developed course repeat policy, states the SMC website report. The new policy mandates that California community colleges no longer allow more than three attempts at taking a class. Even getting a third attempt will be tougher than before because it will require a counselor’s approval.

“At a time when we are having such difficulty in providing enough courses for students, we just don’t feel it’s right to have somebody repeat a course four, five, six times, and then individuals who are seeking it for the first time can’t get in,” said Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott to the California Watch.

After failing to complete a course on the second attempt, the student will have to see a counselor and ask for special consideration in order to take a course a third time before things get really difficult. Depending on the students’ circumstances, permission can be given or denied.

If permission is denied, then students will need to take an equivalent course at another community college in order to complete the needed course. No one wants to find himself or herself in that position, so it is vital to complete a course in the first three given chances.

Community college regulations generally allow students to retake academic or vocational classes up to two times in an effort to make up for bad grades or withdrawals, according to the Legislative Analyst Office 2011-12 budget report, “In such cases, districts receive apportionment payments (general-purpose monies) all three times from the state. For “activity classes,” however, regulations allow districts to receive apportionment funding for up to four times (the initial enrollment plus three repeats) regardless of a student’s grade.”

California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Scott Himelstein said in a statement that “budget cuts have forced us to ration education, and we are currently turning away hundreds of thousands of students from our campuses that want to pursue a degree, transfer to a four-year university or get job training so they can get back into the workforce or advance in their current career.”

Trying to get a class at SMC is now harder than ever because of the budget cuts and a plethora of other cut backs.

This policy makes it a little easier for those trying to enroll in a class for the first time to actually attain a class they need. This policy is fair and should be taken very seriously. Students will have to be extremely careful when deciding if they want to drop a class. They will also have to be aware that they cannot retake “activity classes” more than four times due to funding.

The worst case scenario would be to take a failed or uncompleted course at another community college, which is inconvenient. This is the main consequence to keep in mind when selecting classes and making sure to complete the classes first time around.

To be safe and avoid the unnecessary stress of retaking a course or asking for an appeal to retake a course for the third time, it’s best to plan ahead and really be conscious of the classes that must be completed to graduate and transfer.