There are many students enrolled in Developmental Education who don’t fully understand what it is or why they are there.

Developmental Education, better known as College Prep, is designed to prepare students for credit- level subjects. There are three different levels: 0301, 0302, and 0303 for different classes, such as Math, Reading, English, student success and college orientation. Students are put in these classes depending on their scores from tests like the Accu-Placer and THEA. The tests are taken to help the college determine if the students learned the skills they needed in order to be placed in college-level classes or college prep.  

Not only is College Prep for students, it can also be beneficial for adults who choose to come back to school in hopes of picking up where they left off to receive a higher education.

“Our students come from different walks of life,” Professor of Mathematics Preparatory Studies DiJana Armstrong said. “Some have made a long pause in schooling and for others, it has been several years. We’re trying to get them all on the same level so they’ll be ready for college-level math.”

College Prep is paid for by FASFA if a student qualifies. If the course is dropped several times, a student may have to pay a fee or FASFA may not cover it.  Many students don’t like College Prep classes because they do not get credit for them, the grade is not transferable to a new college and they just feel like they are wasting their time and money.

“The reality is if there were no college prep courses and students went directly to the college level and they weren’t ready, they would have paid for the credit level courses, failed them, then have had to pay for them again,” said Lisa Harper, Dean of Academic Foundations.

If the students are having trouble with College Prep, they are encouraged to go see the Success CoordinatorJaquitta Bol in Potter Hall, who can assist with finding other alternatives.

To get out of College Prep, students have to first go through the classes. They can go to the testing center at any point in the semester and test out if they feel they have learned enough. The testing center will have them take the Accu-Placer or the THEA to determine where they are or if they have improved academic wise. If he or she earns a passing grade, the student will be able to move up a level the following semester and eventually progress to credit-level courses.

Some people feel insecure about being in College Prep; as if they are not as smart as the other college students. However, this is what college prep is designed for, to give the students confidence in their work.

“We’re here to help them go and get their degree just like anybody else, and if we weren’t here, they may not have that opportunity,” said Ashley Prince, Office Records coordinator for Academic Foundations.

Students who found the curriculum complex in high school can use this opportunity to advance in the college level.

“If they were having a difficult time in high school, then maybe college prep would be good for them to take because it would be a refresher course,” said student Robert Fair. “They would be prepared when they take regular college classes.”

“One thing that would help, is when we get applications in and we know people that apply and want to come to TJC, we should send out a letter that explains what the placement test is and give the places to go online to get sample tests,” Harper said. “Then people would know up-front that the test was coming so they could study and brush up on their skills, then less people would end up in college prep.”

For more information, contact the School of Academic Foundations office in Potter Hall, Room 105. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, during long terms.

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